Sunday, January 5, 2014

#16 Americanized Kolsch - Brewday

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

Friday (2 days til brewday) I prepped a starter with .4 gal of water and .5 lb of DME.  Everything seems normal, nice clean krausen the next morning and day. Sunday (brewday) the krausen seemed to be just starting to drop.  I don't like adding this much starter volume to a beer (especially a lighter one) because the starter never ferments as clean.  I usually prep the starter earlier and plan a few days to cold crash and settle out the yeast so I can discard the fermented beer, but with such a slow floccing yeast I don't think everything would settle out in a timely fashion.

As of this beer, I am no longer using water from our house.  While the water is definitely safe to drink, it smells and tastes like iron, and has a visible yellowish tint.  I was told it would be "fine" for brewing, but from everything I've read this is certainly not the case.  I think this could have caused played a part in some of my bad early all-grain batches, but the off flavors could have had a variety of causes.  Unfortunately I don't yet know enough about brewing water chemistry to really get the perfect water.  For this batch I'm going to buy distilled water because I know it won't have any contaminants (or any dissolved minerals for that matter), making it a conservative option and a definite improvement over my past water.

The brew proceeded fairly smoothly until it was time to transfer to the fermenter. The wort came out to 5 gal at 1.070 in the kettle after chilling, with 4 gal making it to the carboy. I topped up to around 5 gal, giving an estimated SG of 1.056. I then remembered I had to add the full volume of the starter. Somehow that means it was filled right to the top, with foam pouring over the edge. Don't know where the extra half gallon came from. I used the auto siphon to pump out half a gallon to leave headspace for the krausen and called it good. The OG should still be pretty similar (~1.051), so the 58% efficiency still seems reasonable, but the hops may drop a bit. That's not too much of a deal considering the small change and it was already highly hopped.

45 sec. of 02 added.  Full yeast starter pitched at 54F.  Temp set to 59F.

3 Days:  Looks like there has been a blowoff.  About a half inch or inch of krausen, hard to tell from Hope's picture.  Though the temp was set to 59F, it looks like it was at 61F due to the thermal mass of the less active pineapple wine in the fridge with it.  Temp bumped to 62F.

1 Week: Temp bumped to 68F.

2 Weeks: Racked onto 2 oz of Simcoe leaf hops.

3 Weeks: Racked to new keg!  Stoked to have this on tap at the apartment.

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