Cold Weather Kolsch, Better Bottles and A Suspect Yeast Choice

More brewing! It's the season for beer after all. Ed, a friend of mine wanted to see an extract brew in action before he does one. He's been very successfully brewing kits for a while now so he knows a lot of it anyway. I ordered some stuff from the Homebrew Company which as always are great to deal with.

I thought Ed was brewing his own beer with me supervising but it turned out I was brewing for me. Since it's been so cold I thought I could make a lager. But I had no lager yeast, if I'd known I'd have got some. So in the absence of lager yeast I decided to use ale yeast and ferment cold to make a kolsch or blonde ale style beer. I raided the freezer and came up with some german hops.


10 Liter batch

Muntons Light Dried Extract 1kg

60 minutes - 17g Hallertauer (2.1%AA)
20 minutes - 20g Tettnang (4.5%AA) and 18g Halltertauer
5 minutes - 9g Hallertauer and 6g Tettnang

Yeast: Danstar Nottingham

OG: 1.040
The alcohol should turn out at about 4% ABV

During the boil the lads disappeared upstairs to watch the rugby leaving me to the brewing. I did manage to get them into the kitchen for the last bits where the wort was chilled and transferred. The yeast was pitched and Ed took a well earned break with a nice Clotworthy Dobbin.

I'm fermenting this brew in a Better Bottle. I got three of these for fermenting beer and mead in. I'm very pleased with them so far. They are light which when you're a weakling like me is a big advantage over heavy glass carboys. I am prone to dropping things that are heavy. Dropping a heavy plastic bottle of beer is annoying but dropping a glass carboy would probably mean a trip to accident and emergency.

This evening I transferred Westley's Winter Warmer to secondary. The better bottle made this very easy. I just attached a hose and opened the tap, also the clever valve means you can get the last of the beer out and not lose so much. I checked the gravity, it's down to 1.014 which gives it an alcohol of 5.7% ABV. This should rise a little in secondary. It should be ready to bottle just before christmas. The better bottle was very easy to clean too.

Of course we had a taste of the beer. It's shaping up nicely, spicy with oranges and stronger than I normally brew. There's a hint of spiciness but I would have liked more fruity yeast character with it. I think I should have used a belgian yeast like Safbrew S33 which I had in the fridge. It would have been more complex and fruity like Westmalle or something. Instead I used Nottingham as in theory it wouldn't interfere with the spices. Maybe I should have went mad and used the S33. Though when it's bottled and carbonated it might be a different story. I might be saying I'm glad I used the Nottingham.

4 Responses to "Cold Weather Kolsch, Better Bottles and A Suspect Yeast Choice" (Leave A Comment)

Anonymous says
December 16, 2008 at 2:00 AM

I'd not worry too much about your yeast choice, the folks at Danstar reckon that if you keep it cool enough it'll be suitable to brew a lager or kolsch with. Clicky (.pdf)

Bionic Laura says
December 16, 2008 at 3:02 AM

Thanks for that John. Hopefully so!

Leigh says
December 18, 2008 at 12:23 AM

those better bottles look interesting...i'll keep an eye out for one!

Iamreddave says
December 18, 2008 at 5:12 AM

A big advantage of the Better bottles is that your not scared your going to slice yourself open if one drops. Glass is hard to carry and Ive broken a carboy cleaning it.

On the other hand im paranoid about getting plastic taste off them. Ill wait for a few brews till I guarantee there is none.