Posts Tagged ‘kolsch’

averting brew day disaster, feb PG meeting

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

last thursday I headed back to culver city homebrew for my second monthly pacific gravity meeting.

  • belgian and french ales were the style of the month, and both local and international varieties were popped open to try out.  surprisingly, my favorite commercial brew of the night was ommegang’s hennepin, a beer I often overlook but was pleasantly surprised by its effervescence and drinkability.
  • I also brought along a keg of my winter house saison, and was stoked to see that it had won homebrew keg of the month by the end of the meeting!  it was very validating to see fellow club members appreciate the beer as much as I did.
  • I also started a flickr page for my pics of PG meetings and events – those interested can check it out HERE.

on saturday I fired up my keggles and embarked on what I thought was going to be a simple, straightforward brewday.

  • the plan was to put together a simple kolsch (recipe for 12 gals, 80% efficiency):
    • 15 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 73.2 %
      5 lbs 8.0 oz Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 26.8 %
      2.00 oz Pearle [8.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 3 26.5 IBUs
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min Hop 4 3.7 IBUs
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 5 1.5 IBUs
  • after mashing in at 152F, things started to fall apart.  noticing that my plate chiller wasn’t cooling as well as it had during earlier batches, I decided to disassemble it and take a look.  what I found blew my mind – despite backflushing and thoroughly rinsing my chiller after each use, nasty gunk was caked inside the chiller and fittings (likely a result of a couple sessions of chilling wort without filtering pellet hops).  I immediately soaked the chiller in PBW and power flushed it with scalding hot water numerous times, then filled and boiled the chiller on the stove, soaked it again, and flushed it an umpteenth time.  I can’t believe I had dodged infection for so long!
  • with my paranoia kicked up to a frenzy, I turned to my march pump and attempted to remove the fittings so that they too could receive a thorough cleaning.  in the process, I managed to crack off all but a single thread on the pump’s output port.  since I still needed to both sparge and chill my wort, pump failure was definitely not a favorable turn of events.  luckily, with a little thread wrap and a delicate touch, I managed to bootleg the pump operation just long enough to get both jobs done.  now I just have to choose between a plastic or stainless replacement pump head
  • to top it off, my kolsch slurry didn’t take off, and after three days with no activity, my kolsch became a saison with the addition of WLP568 and wyeast 3724.  when it rains, it pours…



new fermenters, racking, hops, and BBQ

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

after having some difficulties procuring additional half-barrel stainless kegs for fermenting, I finally pulled the trigger on some 15 gallon barrels from US plastics.

  • I had initially dismissed these plastic barrels for long-term aging, but after more research I decided to give them a shot.  not only are they significantly cheaper than kegs, an airlock easily fits into their screw-off cap after five seconds of drilling.
  • after cleaning and sanitizing one of the new barrels, I purged it with a little CO2 and racked my golden strong (both the 10 straight gallons and 1 sour mix gallon) into it on top of 2.5 lbs of PV wildflower honey and 1.5 oz of french oak soaked in zinfandel for a couple of hours.  the golden strong had dropped to 11 brix, for a pre-honey ABV of around 7.25%.
  • I also tossed some ’09 cuvee de tomme dregs into my similarly-styled cuvee de cabrillo.  the CdT had great carbonation and was intensely sour, much more so than I remember when having it on draft.  I’m thinking this was due to the couple of years spent in the bottle.  hopefully the alleged superbugs in CdT will help add some sourness to my batch over the long haul.
  • also, after racking the golden strong, I tossed 4 oz of fresh amarillo and 2 oz of fresh columbus hops into my house IPA.  I’m planning on kegging this weekend and consuming soon thereafter for maximum hoppiness.
  • speaking of hops, my earlier transplant seems to be successful, as the cascade crown is aggressively pushing out shoots.  I trimmed back all but four runners and have my fingers crossed for some serious growth.
  • I also managed to enjoy the long-overdue socal sun over at PR and HB’s BBQ, where my kolsch poured alongside some great grilled veggies and marinated chicken.  summer can’t come fast enough…

congregation ale house; homebrew adventure

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

last friday I got around to kegging both the belgian and wild version of my patersbier.

  • I took a sample of the wild version, which had a  FG of 1.007, resulting in an abv of 5.7%.
  • I also tasted the sample, which had some positive (non-phenolic) esters, but no funk/sourness.  since this beer is so dry, I am planning on letting it age out for a few months before serving.  if the results are promising, I might toss my saved slurry in a saison in the future…

on saturday, AP and I headed out to congregation ale house in long beach.

  • our latest goal has been to investigate LA beer spots, and this one was the closest unexplored location.
  • at first glance, I feared congregation would be trendy with a limited selection, as it was brand new and was best known for having staff dressed in catholic schoolgirl outfits.  however, when I checked out the tap and bottle list, I was happy to find more than a few great beers.
  • AP grabbed a marzen to start off, while I nabbed a bottle of alpine’s duet, which had a fantastic hop aroma without any astringent bitterness. I finished off with a pour of harviestoun ola dubh 30 yr, which must have been sitting in the keg for quite some time since I missed much of the fantastic aroma and flavor people rave about online.  I should have grabbed a pour of angel’s share
  • overall, the great beer selection and tasty/inexpensive food at congregation definitely merit return visits, especially on a weekend afternoon.

on sunday my two kegs of kolsch went on a swiss family robinson-style adventure.

  • AP and I headed out north on PCH to go visit our new orleans krewe for a mardi gras picture swap/potluck.
  • after passing dozens of tempting sets up the coast from surfrider, to point dume, to zuma(!), we finally arrived at our host’s estate(!).
  • the potluck was being held at our host’s beachfront cottage, which necessitated an agile climb down a steep cliff side staircase (not something you want to do while balancing ten gallons of brew).  fortunately, a zipline had been constructed as a sort of abstract dumbwaiter, and after a minute of securing, the beers were off down the cliff.
  • a few minutes later party-goers were enjoying some cloudy kolsch with pulled pork and slaw on a private beach.  doesn’t get much better than that!

kolsch redux, homebrewer workshop

Friday, February 11th, 2011

last weekend I threw together a variation of my kolsch and had a new homebrewer, BB, over to help out with his first batch.

  • I recommended williams’ kolsch as a first-time brew due to its straightforward recipe and my luck brewing it in the past.
  • as for my all-grain version, I changed up my standard recipe to knock out some of my hop stock:
  • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.56 %
    14.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 71.79 %
    5.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 25.64 %
    ~1.00 oz each
    HG Chinook, Columbus [?.00 %] (60 min) Hops 25.8 IBU
    ~1.00 oz each
    EKG, Saaz [X.00 %] (15 min) Hops 3.6 IBU
    1.00 oz Fuggle[X.00 %] (5 min) Hops 1.4 IBU
  • my brew setup must have been jinxed, because despite adding a healthy dose of rice hulls my mash got stuck again.  I swapped my false bottom (which I think is just too small for my mash tun) for a stainless braid, which I will keep in there for the time being while I ponder a suitable replacement (a jaybird custom false bottom? a reinforced braid setup?).
  • I also found some time to keg the eventful batch of hybrid stout while waiting for my wort to cool.
  • BB’s brew was smooth sailing as well, albeit with a few hiccups (a last-minute hop substitution and tossing the hops in his better bottle).  I got an excited phone message the next night describing the miracle of fermentation and a vigorously bubbling airlock.
  • I wish I could say the same for my batch.  my starter smelled buttery/malty, and after two days no activity was evident.
  • luckily I had a couple of packets of dry yeast (safale US-05 and S-04) that I tossed into each keg, which kicked off fermentation in a matter of hours.  I was more than a little bummed about the forced style change though…

stone brewer’s reception; inaugural sculpture brew

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

unfortunately for myself and AP, we couldn’t make it up to guerneville for the russian river beer revival for the first time in three years.  however, some beer events last weekend definitely made up for it.

  • on friday JF and I headed out to cal state san marcos for stone brewing’s 14th anniversary VIP/brewer’s reception.  basically, stone has their open anniversary event on saturday, but holds a smaller ticketed reception the night before.  the event had a small crowd and great beers, which was right up our alley.
  • there was definitely an all-star crowd at the event – right off the bat I ran into greg koch and spotted patrick rue in line for a pour behind me.  the beer geek in me would have preferred a more traditional booth/name tag setup where guests could more easily interact with brewery representatives as they got a beer, but the single tap lineup and high school reunion social setup made sense here, since it was a brewer’s reception…
  • oh yeah, they had great beers too – standouts included a double dry-hopped version of stone’s 14th anniversary empirial IPA (outstanding aroma balanced out the high abv, much better than the bottle release), lost abbey’s red poppy (a very well balanced oud bruin), an great divide’s chocolate oak aged yeti.

on sunday I managed to crank out my first batch, a kolsch, using the new brew setup.

  • my recipe was based off of edwort’s bee cave brewery kolsch recipe off of homebrewtalk (although I mashed a little higher at 155F):
    • 0.50 lb Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.56 %
      14.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 71.79 %
      5.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 25.64 %
      2.00 oz Pearle [8.00 %] (60 min) Hops 25.8 IBU
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (15 min) Hops 3.6 IBU
      1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (5 min) Hops 1.4 IBU
  • the brew went smoothly, although I lost a little wort during cooling when I switched quick disconnects on my plate chiller so the outflow lined up with my in-line thermometer…
  • also, it turns out that natural gas, although much more convenient for me, doesn’t have the oomph propane does – I found myself looking at my watch more than a couple times while waiting for the wort to boil.  therefore, I invested in a heat stick to hopefully help things along more quickly.
  • I managed an OG of 1.05, and calculated my efficiency at 78% – not bad for a first run!
  • the best part of the new brew process was using the plate chiller – after recirculating for a minute or two, I got my wort down to pitchable temps and transferred 10 gals. to my fermentation barrel in a matter of minutes!  I’m definitely not missing my immersion chiller.
  • I tossed the fermentation barrel in my fermentation chamber at around 80F and set the chamber for 65F to cool it down a little, and after a day or so I ramped it up to 68F.  hopefully all goes well…

completing the keezer and going pro for a day: WIR 06/04-06/07

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

last weekend was full of brew related accomplishments and surprises.

  • on thursday night I finished up the keezer collar, and AP and I lugged the thing down to the basement, where I fitted the taps and ran the beer lines.
  • after wiring up the ranco temperature controller with some help online, I ran the temp probe and the gas lines and fired everything up.
  • the thing works like a charm, and it’s great to have so much fridge space for storing kegs and other bulky items.  I can even lager in my brew bucket if I want to, but I will probably lager in kegs the old kegerator.
  • on friday DH drove down and we skipped over to naja’s for an afternoon brew.  I got to try a taster of ‘dark side imperial stout’ or something like that from sierra nevada, but ended up with an ’08 alaskan barleywine, which was nice and malty but still relatively drinkable.  we finished up in style with a bottle of fantome saison, which had a great fruity aroma and finish.
  • I am always amazed at the number of homebrewers that roll by naja’s for a pour – they are always friendly and can talk beer all night long.  friday was no exception – we ran into bob, a member of pacific gravity with a sick all-grain gravity system and a vast brew knowledge.  hopefully we’ll meet up again bob, maybe at a pacific gravity meeting!
  • friday night the smoker was fired up, and by saturday afternoon 20 lbs of pulled pork was ready to rock, in addition to 3 beer can chickens and a couple dozen smoked brats.  that along with a the kegs of alt and kolsch kept friends and family busy for hours.
  • both kegs were a hit and got kicked before the sun went down.  they were very drinkable and great session beers, but my only complaint was the clarity (both had a little haze from only being lagered for a week or so).  unfortunately, no pictures were taken (again) due to entertaining duties.  next time, I swear…
  • just when I thought my beer weekend was coming to a close, I got a call sunday from james of san pedro brew co. he had tried my brews on saturday and wanted to know if I was interested in swinging by the brewery this week to check out a brew session.  I jumped at the chance and told him I would be by monday.
  • monday morning I met up with jason, the award-winning brewer at san pedro brew co.  he had already started mashing an experimental amber ale and patiently explained the entire process on their 5 bbl. system.  he let me help out with the mash, explained their lauter and sparge process, and let me participate with some hop additions.  I was flipping switches, pulling levers, and loving every minute of it.
  • when it came time to empty the mash tun, he must have though I was an idiot since I practically begged him to do it.  he let me stick around for the entirety of the boil all the way to racking the wort into their conical and let me help out with the crush and line sanitation for the next day’s brew.  it was an awesome experience, and I was like a kid in a candy store, ogling all the equipment and trying out jason’s killer brews.  thanks again jason, and good luck with your latest comp results!

kegging the kolsch/port bottle shop

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

last saturday I managed to keg my kolsch and on sunday I hit up port bottle shop.

  • FYI, when I keg, I just toss in 3 oz. of bottling sugar straight into the keg (no boiling) and rack the beer on top.
  • I use my portable keg charger and a single canister to push PBW and sanitizer through my dip tube, and I use what’s left in the cartridge to seal the top of the keg after filling it.
  • the above method makes for quick and easy keg filling, and I have had great results with secondary fermentation in the keg.  it sure beats force carbing too (if you have the patience to wait another week or so).
  • when I was down at port, the bottle shop was slammed when I went in, as it was the annual carlsbad fair and over 100,000 people were milling around outside.
  • I slipped in and managed to score a bottle of ’10 angel’s share bourbon barrel (anyone up for a 3 year flight?) and a bottle of good ol’ fantome.
  • also, I just picked up a grain mill and the ingredients for my first all-grain batch.  tune in next week for the results (hint: it’s a kolsch rival).

weekend in review 04/16-04/18

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

this past weekend I got back into brewing shape and got around to picking up some interesting bottles.

  • I swung by my new (and surprisingly well-stocked) bevmo in torrance for some goodies and walked out with more than I had anticipated.
  • they had all the new goose island brews, a good lost abbey selection (including angel’s share ’09), and even had the ever-elusive aloha plenty for a pretty decent price (6 or 7 bucks).  to think that i was kicking myself for passing up a bottle at some bootleg redondo liquor store for $12…
  • I brought the goose island sofie and a bomber of lagunitas’ wilco tango foxtrot to PR’s byob bday. I immediately fell for sofie – it had a great complexity, finish, and effervescence.  WTF was great too, it reminded me of stone 13, one of my all time favorites.
  • on sunday I decided to dust off the homebrew gear and whip up a quick batch of kolsch for some upcoming BBQs/get-togethers.
  • I stuck with my usual extract recipe but did my first full-wort boil in a turkey fryer outside.  getting to a boil was a piece of cake but cooling a full 5 gallons with my immersion chiller was an exercise in patience to say the least, especially after seeing CB’s therminator in action.
  • I gave it a minute of O2 at 75F and tossed my starter in, and the airlock was chugging away by the end of the night.

  • oh, and AP and I adopted a new brew assistant – meet the captain, supervising the brew premises:

weekend in review – baker beach

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

the coming of spring called for some celebration, so this last weekend AP and I rallied the troops for a homebrew-based cookout down at baker beach.

  • aside from some soda and water, all beverages present were homebrewed.  I brought down kegs of my IPA, kolsch, steam beer, and quad, as well as some bottles of my imperial espresso stout, belgian date barleywine, and a couple bombers of cider i threw together a while back.
  • I also grabbed a bomber of TB’s kolsch as well as his saison (which turned out to be one of the crowd favorites), and CB’s ’09 xmas ale and belgian strong.  JVG also brought out a growler of his red.  12 styles of homebrew in one location? it was definitely quite the lineup.
  • to top it off, AP and CB threw together some awesome eats.  AP manned the BBQ and CB fired up a great low-country boil in his turkey fryer.
  • it was a great event with a great turnout.  hopefully we can organize another one soon!

baby shower kölsch: results

Monday, September 21st, 2009

the setup

quite a few months ago it was brought to my attention that NB and PB were having a baby shower.  I offered to supply a keg for the occasion.

  • oysters and BBQ were on the menu, and the event was being held outside.  I had to figure out a beer that would fit the bill.
  • I chose to brew a kolsch.  not only is kolsch a great session beer, but it is light and crisp, perfect with most foods on a sunny day.
  • I had read somewhere that an initially sweeter kolsch dries out when aged, which is what I wanted.  in order to ensure that the kolsch was light, crisp, and clear, I kegged it in June and cold crashed it in my cool shed for over 3 months.
  • the strategy worked, and the beer came out dry, perfectly carbonated, and super drinkable.
  • in fact, I think “drinkable” was an understatement.  with about 30 people in attendance, and over 20 pouring, the keg was kicked in less than an hour!
  • the couple of bottles of tripel and cider that I brewed up were the next to go.  it’s a good thing I brought a case of lagunitas IPA as backup!
  • thanks again NB and PB, the setup was great!

kolsch pour

oyster shuck

party goers are satisfied

reflecting on the brew, anticipating the future

during the weekend I also managed a couple more beer-related accomplishments.

  • I kegged the single-hop pale on friday.  I’m thinking about letting it sit for a month max, and then breaking it out to enjoy some local hoppyness at its freshest.

single hop fresh hop pale ale

  • I also took down the vojvodina vine on sunday, completing the cycle.  I felt bad stuffing it in the trash, but I knew it would be back even stronger next year!

vojvodina in trash