HOMEBREW Digest #6094 Thu 26 June 2014

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  Kolsch Tips? (Adam Arndt)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2014 21:52:45 +0000 From: Adam Arndt <adama at microsoft.com> Subject: Kolsch Tips? My home brew club is doing a group brew of a pretty simple Kolsch recipe; I figured I'd share my Kolsch / light beer tips and I'd solicit any others that people have. As you can see I'm very much interested in a Kolsch without any HINT of graininess or lingering / harsh bitterness and that is bright / clear. Grist: * As always if you want to go traditional a simple grist is the way to go and always use German ingredients; a blend of mostly Pilsner with some light malted wheat and a small bit of light Munich if desired * Dough-in: I find the German Pilsner + wheat malt combo to really result in a lot of dough balls so be ready to really spend some time getting doughed-in properly if you're mashing in above the gelatinization temp * Milling: Conditioning your malt will help keep husks from getting shredded; shredded husks release more tannins/ polyphenols which ruin light beers, IMHO (use 2% water by weight sprayed with a fine mist and thoroughly mixed; -let set for 10 min before milling Water: This is an area I'm looking for tips; I have EXTREMELY soft Seattle water that I treat with double stage carbon block filters. * 1 Tbsp calcium chloride added directly to the mash (to help the mash ph, aid clarity and to focus on soft, malty flavors) Mash: * I like to mash light beers on the thinner side to have less sparge water to decrease the likelihood of extracting tannins * Mash low for that high fermentability that you want in a kolsch; alternatively multistep infusion mash or upward infusion mash (the upward infusion mash starting from below the gelatinization temp will avoid dough balls as an added bonus) -I target 63C which I guess is 145.4F * Recirculation mash for 60 min; if not recirculating a 90 minute mash will give you that extra bit of fermentability * Avoid oxygen pickup especially if recirculating -oxygen will increase color of this VERY light beer style Sparge: * Again limit oxygen pickup * I batch sparge my kolsch to reduce the risk of over sparging and extracting grainy tannins * Acidify sparge water to avoid extracting grainy tannins * Heat the initial runoff (First runnings) to 68C and hold there to "super charge" enzymes and to essentially perform a 2nd step * Target a lower-than-normal 1st batch sparge temp of 68C to "super charge" enzymes left in the mash as an essential 2nd temp step Boil: * At home brew scale 90 minute boils for DMS from pilsner malt are largely unnecessary; this especially holds true with my 1:1 height to width kettle geometry and high boil off rate * I use an electric low heat density element and turn the heat output down to 60% for all but the last 10 min of the boil to keep the wort darkening to a minimum * With 10 min left to the boil I add both whirlfloc and polyclar (PVPP) the combination is GREAT at helping both hot break and tannin flocculation but results in lots of fluffy trub and large wort losses Chill: * Chill rapidly below 140F to prevent DMS formation Fermentation: I'd love some discussion on temps with the different kolsch strains * The colder you're fermenting the more yeast you need but target in between ale and lager pitch rates, depending upon fermentation temp * Transfer off of the trub, prior to pitching, as in the German tradition * Pitch at fermentation temps -don't pitch high and wait for it to chill; upward fermentation ok; flat fermentation temp profile ok; downward == bad * Personally I simply ferment at 60-63F * Either skim off the "braun hefe" -brown fermentation crud or let it blow off via blow off tube to avoid harsh bitterness * Lager: cold and long (-1C for as long as you can stand it) I'm very much interested in tricks to get this thing to drop bright when you only have 3 weeks to lager. Should I just give up hope with a Kolsch strain and clarity without filtering; any finings recommendations? Thanks, Adam Return to table of contents
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