Vermischt Pale Ale By: Ry Parcell
I have never made a Kolsch before this brew day and interestingly enough, I suppose I still have yet to make a Kolsch after this brew day. My intentions were there, I swear.
This brew day got its start when I purchased an East Coast Yeast Kolschbier Strain (ECY21) from Love2Brew that I had heard great things about. I tend to make my brew days more complicated than they need to be and the same goes for my recipes from time to time as well so I thought to myself I would not be doing this during this brew day. We were having my brother in law Andrew over and I had a lot of chores to do. There. Settled. Simple brew day, one step mash, very few hop additions. Nothing to it…
Well, things ended up going a bit "different" as zero hour approached. While watching the Olympics on Friday and Saturday night I decided to go for the gold and try something very different than the recipe I had planned. I had some of my favorite American hops in the fridge and I thought I would do a bit of a free form hop schedule. I also decided to add a bit of Vienna malt (I had originally planned to only use German Pils) to the grain bill for a bit of color in the cheeks so to speak. What I ended up mashing in with was something that was likely going to end up being a bit of German Pale Ale with some very American late hop additions.
Why did I decide to do this? The very opposite of what I was writing about a mere few paragraphs ago...well because I became inspired! Isn't that what really motivates us as home brewers and beer lovers? It is for me, that is for sure. While watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics I found myself really appreciating my European roots. I am primarily French but I have some Welsh and Scottish mixed in for spice. I then began thinking to myself that I should add something to this Kolsch to make it a bit more "melting potish". This beer doesn't need to impress a judge or anything and at the end of the day we need to brew things that we want to sit down with in our favorite spot in the yard, house, lake, woods, whatever and enjoy what we are drinking. I LOVE a tall glass of cold, crisp, and clear Kolsch. I also love very late hopped Pale Ales...well...why not add two of my favorite hops to the end of the boil so I can appreciate every aspect of what I just mentioned? I scribbled out some things on my brew day planning sheet and BLAMMO it was going to happen. That is the joy of making your own rules, you can change them whenever you feel so inclined. Ok, on to the brew day.
The brew day started off normal, I had put together everything the night before so I could get up, make my wife breakfast, make some coffee, double check my gear, and rock. Problem one occurred...I left my brew kettle lid at my friend Don's house post a brew day the week before. Went there..picked up. No worries! Time to crush the grains! I love my grain mill, it is a standard Barley Crusher that has never let me down. It has a couple features that are very helpful...namely that it has a handle that can be used to attach a drill and blast through your grist in no time at all AND a handle to hand crush your grains when you forget your drill at that same friends house from the previous brew day. Guess what we ended up doing? Crushing by hand. Luckily, my wife's brother Andrew was there to help out and learn about all grain so he got to do it. He is also stronger than me. Luckily it was only 10 pounds and only took 5 minutes or so. That mill was a wonderful investment. If you plan on purchasing bulk grains to save money and have extra grains on hand, this is a critical piece of equipment to own.
I wanted to try my new false bottom for my old Blichmann 10 Gallon Pot for this brew so I planned to stick to a more traditional multi step mash for this. Again, this in complete contrast to what I set out to do...simplify. Oh well, it worked beautifully so no worries, eh?
Before I get into the notes I want to again say how much fun this recipe was to develop. I had my sights set on something very by the book and because I saw something that inspired me, I was able to take that emotion and zeal back to the drawing board, check my supply of this's and that's, and try something new. Already as I await fermentation to begin I am pleased with this beer....it was fun to develop, fun to brew, and fun to write about. Brewing is a process and we, as homebrewers, are free to really play with it and if your practices are sound and well thought out you are going to end up with something good...with some work you will end up with something memorable.
PS--> Vermischt means "mixed, blended, miscellaneous"...very fitting.
Recipe, Notes, & Details
9 lbs Pilsen Malt
1 lb Vienna
Multi Step Mash:
122 F for 20 min
149 F for 30 min
158 F for 30 min
170 F for 10 min
1 oz Tradition @ 60
1 oz German Hersbrucker @ 30
1.5 oz Centennial @ 2
1.5 oz Columbus @ 0
Yeast & Adjuncts:
East Coast Yeast ECY21. 3/4 liter starter on stir plate. Not decanted.
Pitched at 64 degrees.
Pre Boil Gravity: 1.041
Original Gravity: 1.047
Final Gravity: I am guessing it to be approximately 1.010
Apparent Attenuation: 75-78%
Pre Boil: 1.041
Pitched at: 1.047
Collected: 7 gallons in boil kettle.
Final volume in primary: 5.75 gallons
Aerated for 60 seconds with pure oxygen
7/29/12- Brewed with Andrew. Rocky start with brew day. Had to hand crush grains. Multi step mash went well. One needs to stir constantly when heating mash up to next step with this particular false bottom...if not, you could easily overshoot your next step. Pitched yeast at 64 degrees. Glad that it has been cool and raining lately or else I wouldn't have been able to get it down that cool. In cold room of house, at 62 currently.
B/C of multi step mash, I had to sparge into my boil kettle and collect in my cooler mash tun and then transfer into my boil kettle. A bit cumbersome but added another layer of filtering that will be good for this beers clarity.
7/29/12- Checked carboy around midnight and was fermenting nicely with large krausen.
8/8/2012- Gravity @ 1.012. Aroma: a bit of sulphur, very subtle. Also a tiny bit of fruitiness from the American hops at the end of the boil. Really surprising how the ECY21 Kolschbier yeast really took center stage even given that I added 2 ounces of prominent American hops at flameout and during the chilling process. The color is where it should be...yellow. I just need the yeast to flocculate out. I know I seem like a broken record here but my fridge is out...I am working on it though...temp controller on the way to convert my smaller chest freezer with soon.
Pictures from the brew day can be found Here!
I will be updating readers on this beer and others once they are carbed up and ready to serve. Feel free to reach out to me for questions and feedback at email@example.com or on Twitter @ryparcell