In preparation for summer, I thought I’d make a good “lawnmower” beer – something lighter and more refreshing to drink after doing yard work in the hot South Carolina sun.
Originally, I mulled over making an Imperial Kölsch – something a little higher in alcohol content but, like my Weizenbock, deceptively so. But I decided to make a more traditional Kölsch that would be more of a session beer.
I also was becoming increasingly more disenchanted with the product I was getting from my local homebrew store. When I go into the store, I hand over a small slip of paper that has the quantity and type of grain I want to purchase on it. All the store owner has to do is weigh out the grain and mill it for me. This has not always seemed to be as easy as it sounds. Additionally, I have asked the homebrew store owner to back off on his mill settings, as he crushes grain too fine and no matte how slower I sparge, too many pieces of grain get through the false bottom of the mash tun. Plus, the availability of the grain I want, the hops I want, and most importantly, the yeast I want, is hit or miss. The store owner is fond of saying “tell me what you need and I’ll order it for you”, but if I need to order something, why not just have it shipped directly to my house?
So I decided to mail order my ingredients (except the hops – the homebrew store had what I wanted), which consisted of:
- 7.0 pounds of Kölsch Malt (4.5° L)
- 3 .0 pounds of Pilsner Malt (2.2° L)
- 2.0 ounces Spalt Hops (3.2%)
- Wyeast 2565 (Kölsch Yeast)
Normally, I prefer White Labs yeast. But the last few times I made and extract and grains Kölsch and used the White Labs yeast, I was not happy with the results. There was just something off about the flavor. Since the homebrew store owner didn’t have the White Labs Kölsch yeast anyway (and generally doesn’t carry Wyeast – which he said would be difficult for him to get), I figured I’d go with the Wyeast Kölsch yeast from mail order.
My targets, based on Brew Pal, are:
- Original Gravity: 1053
- Final Gravity: 1012
- ABV: 5.4%
- 22 IBU
- 5.9° Lovibond
Because of the color of the Kölsch Malt, the predicted color of the beer was a little bit above style, but the guidelines are a bit stringent, so I wasn’t too worried about it. First runnings bore this out.
Primary fermentation was for two weeks at about 56°. The beer was racked off the yeast and spent four weeks in secondary fermentation lagering at about 36°. Actual original gravity was 1.060 and final gravity was 1.015 for a 5.9% ABV.
When I filtered the beer, I used my plate filter. I was a little annoyed because I forget to check which filters I had. Normally I use 1 micron bright filter pads, but all I had were some 4 micron pads. I thought “Oh well. Hopefully it will be clear and bright when I’m finished.”
It sure looked good when I transferred it to the first keg prior to pushing it through the filter!
Filtering took a long, long time. I started pushing the beer at about 5 psi from the system and after about 15 minutes upped it to 10 psi because the flow was so slow into the post-filter keg. I didn’t time it, but I’m estimating it took between 60 and 90 minutes for all the beer to be pushed through the filter.
I force carbonated the beer (30 psi rolling the keg on its side for 2:30) and set it in the chest freezer to settle.
When I dismantled the plate filter and removed the filter, I was surprised at how much yeast had been trapped. I don’t think I ever had this much yeast trapped on the 1 micron pad! It might also explain why it took so long for the beer to be filtered. Flow must have been greatly reduced!
Looking at this, it occurs to me that I normally have the plate filter turned so it is resting on its side (kind of like a coin standing on edge). This time, I had the plate filter flat. I’m guessing the more heaving caked filter pad was on the bottom of the plate filter, so it accumulated more yeast. The other filter really only has yeast on half of the pad. It makes me think that I should flip the plate filter over half-way through filtering.
I pulled the first draft of the about an hour later. It came out excellent! Looks great too!