Monday, July 16, 2012

Brew Day, Batch 375: Kolsch

Kolsch, the ale version of Pilsner. That's the way a German-educated brewer of my acquaintance explains what he learned in brewing school. In Koln, they'd probably get their hackles up at such a simplification, but you know what? It works for me. Golden like Pils? Yep. Pils malt flavor up front, dry finish? Check. Fine noble-type hop character? Yep. Fruity esters from ale yeast? Also yep. Makes for a great summer refreshment.

Here's how I do:

(10 gallons)

15 lbs. Weyermann Pils

Dough in with 1 quart/lb for a first rest at around 125F.

After 30 minutes, pull 7 quarts thick mash for the first decoction. Heat to 155F, hold 10 minutes, then heat to boiling and boil 10 minutes.

Return decoction to main mash for saccharification rest at 146 -148F.

When starch conversion is complete, pull 8-1/2 quarts thinnest mash, and heat to boil. Boil 5 minutes, then return to main mash for mashout at ~165F.

Vorlauf/lauter/sparge until runoff gravity drops to 1.008 - 1.010. Make up kettle volume to 12 gallons if necessary.

Total boil time is 90  minutes. After 30 minutes, add 3 oz. Saaz, 4.5% AA. At 70 minutes, add 1 oz. Hersbrucker, 3.1% AA.

At the end of the boil, chill to ale pitching temps and pitch an appropriate yeast. I use Wyeast 1007, which is reputed to be the Zum Uerige altbierbraueri yeast. At around 65-67F fermentation temps, it produces some nice soft esters. It is a very boisterous top-fermenting yeast, and frequently escapes the bondage of the fermenters to the relative freedom of the surrounding floor, so be advised.

Target OG is 1.046 - 1.050, BUs 30. I really like to use the Hersbrucker for this one; the earthy, herbal flavor comes through nicely.

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