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So, I was brewing my Brewer's Best Kolsch LME kit, and I made four errors. First, I skipped rehydrating, yielding to the boxed instructions instead of the packet. Second, I overestimated how cold my bottled water jugs were (i left them in the freezer to cool) and after cooling the wort, I ended up cooling it down to 57F when I pitched it. Didn't realize my mistake until I affixed the thermometer strip to the fermenter. To top it all off, I filled to the 5 gal mark initially, but once the head settled, I can see it's at ~4.33 gals. And I skipped checking the OG, so I can't tell how off I am.

After 24 hrs, the airlock is bubbling at a rate of 4 bubbles per min and is now 68-69F.

Have I ruined my beer?

  • The real problem could be here: "In order to achieve the lager-like characteris- tics this ale is famous for, we recommend using a liquid Kölsch yeast. Ask your retailer for details." What kind of yeast was actually in that kit? – Pepi Jun 29 '15 at 9:23
  • Atron is right, it's not ruined. But your choice of fermentation temp will make a difference - the temp should be matched to the yeast. That kit appears to come with a Danstar yeast pack, but Danstar doesn't make any kolsch yeast (White Labs, Wyeast, probably others do). If you used a regular ale yeast, 68-70 is fine. If it was a lager yeast, 50F might be better. Actual kolsch yeast works best around 60F. – Pepi Jun 30 '15 at 5:12
  • Comes with a sachet of Nottingham in the kit. Since my kit was ~1 yr old, I opted to buy new yeast. Since my LHBS was closing down, all they had available was BRY-97. Seemed to work out though :) – Azeotropic Jul 16 '15 at 15:07
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Nope. Beer will fight very hard to be beer. :)

Your beer will not taste exactly like planned, but if it is bubbling then you are off to a good start.

Kolsch uses a lager yeast and they are happy with the colder temps. As the beer warms up the yeast will also warm up and work faster, but keep the temps reasonable!

A lower amount of water will mean that your beer will have a higher OG and possibly a higher FG, but none of these are problems for what I assume is a beer of low to normal strength.

The beer might end up with a slightly higher ABV, but nothing spectacular.

Relax and enjoy your beer!

  • 1
    Kölsch yeast is actually an ale yeast, that can ferment at temperatures lower than typical. wyeastlab.com/rw_yeaststrain_detail.cfm?ID=144 – FishesCycle Jun 29 '15 at 13:20
  • I ended up bottling this 7 days ago. Turns out, my beer fought very hard to be beer! :> Thanks Atron. From my 3 and 5 day tests (yes I know, I need to be patient!!) I can say this is not closely following the Kolsch style. It is brown, not straw yellow, tastes malty, almost a carmely taste with a decent hoppy bitterness (I did a 10 min addition oz. of Au Topaz, not from kit). It came with Nottingham, but it was old so I used BRY-97 yeast. I'm tasting a hint of diacetyl "butterscotch", which, while undesirable, has not ruined the beer. Just means I'm not going to hand bottles out to friends. – Azeotropic Jul 16 '15 at 14:50
  • I should also mention, from my personal estimation, the %ABV feels somewhere between 5% and 5.7%. This is purely a guess based on my past experiences with varying levels of %ABV beer of the same serving size. In any case, it does not feel like a 4.5%-4.7%, which is the target based on the kit instructions. – Azeotropic Jul 16 '15 at 15:11
  • The brown color might be a few things: 1) Old extract. 2) You poured the extract into a pot that was being heated, causing the sugars to become very dark 3) Excessive boiling (boiling too vigorously). The caramel might be from nr 2 or 3. Diacetyl can be removed (next time) by doing the following: When the beer has done fermenting, allow the beer's temp to rise by a few degrees (I usually do about 4C) and leave it there for a day. This will get rid of most diacetyl. It might be the ticker body that is creating the concept of higher ABV... not sure. – Atron Seige Jul 17 '15 at 6:31

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