2018-01-22

05B - Kölsch - Yeast Comparison

Style: 5B - Kölsch

This is my first time making Kölsch so I brewed a 10 gallon batch which was split into separate fermenters and each received a different yeast: either Wyeast 2565, or SafAle K-97.

The full recipe is on brewersfriend.com but here's the TL;DR:
  • Brew day: 2018-1-6 (first brew of 2018!)
  • 4600g Bohemian Pilsner malt
  • 400g Vienna
  • 20g Magnum FWH (30m boil)
  • Wyeast 2565 OR...
  • SafAle K-97
This was only the 2nd big 44 liter (~10 gallon) batch I've done with this system and the first time with the hood. I was a little worried that there wouldn't be enough space between the top of the kettle and the hood for removal of a massive bag full of soaking wet grains. I managed to get the grains over to the sparge kettle, but wouldn't want to go any bigger. No 40+ liter batches of imperial stout until I get some sort of pulley system!

Yeast showdown: Wyeast 2565 vs SafAle K-97... FIGHT!

Full mash; 46L/12G

Temp check - right on target

Successful transfer

I didn't torch for the whole time, but it did help get things moving in there!

chilling

Fermenters filled

Yeast pitched and we're on our way. I don't use a temp controlled fermentation chamber, but this room in the basement (beer cave) stays about 15-16°C.

Uh oh... things got messy. Both fermenters started gooping up their airlocks so I switched to blowoffs. The fermentation of both yeasts was pretty violent with K-97 being extra aggressive.

Cold crashing in the beer fridge. Had to make room for the other fermenter. As you can see, K-97 over-spewed at one point after I switched back to an airlock when I mistakenly thought active fermentation was finished (it wasn't). Things got messy.

Keg time. Cleaning that fermenter was fun times...

Initial samples are tasty but still pretty cloudy in spite of whirlfloc + cold crash + gelatin. We'll give it a week or 2 and see how they look. K-97 is slightly more clear.

So how do they compare? I'm not sure I'd be able to pick the odd beer out of a triangle test, but I'll give it a go after they clear up (probably about 2 weeks) and post an update. I do get a little more dry graininess out of the Wyeast which I prefer. The K-97 is ever so slightly fruitier.

Most important: they're both tasty and solid examples of the style. Not as awesome as what we had in Cologne last summer but not bad for a first attempt!

2018-1-29 update (kegged +10 days). Much better clarity. K-97 has cleared much faster than 2565 but they're both getting there:

2018-2-9 update:
Comparison of K-97, Wyeast 2565, and one of my favorite CO examples: 8 second Kölsch from Elevation Brewing (2018-7-24 update: 8 Second just got #4 in Paste Magazine's blind tasting. Nice!). I preferred the aroma of K-97 (slightly more than the others), and the taste of 2565. 8 Second, though enjoyable, was like a different beer! Much more fruity, some cider in the aroma but not the flavor. The homebrews were cleaner and more subtle in aroma and flavor which I prefer.  And check out that lacing and fine head on the homebrew: