What a difference a day and changing your sparge routine makes. My previous brew, #39 Mitre Abbey Blonde, involved the messiest of messy stuck sparges I've ever had the misfortune to encounter. But this brew – another take on the iteratively maltier Lousy Smärzen, my most popular wedding beer – was done and dusted inside 4 hours, which is probably a record.
2kg Pilsner malt
2kg Munich II malt
1kg Munich I malt
500g Melanoidin malt
100g Saaz 4.23% AA @ 60 mins
WLP029 Kolsch yeast
I heated 14 L to 72 C for a 60 minute mash. My strike temperature was a tad low at between 63-65 C, but I've learned not to be that bothered by that type of thing. While it was mashing, I heated 18 L to boiling: 10 L for the mash out and sparge, and 8 L for a second sparge.
My wort wasn't flowing quickly enough with only the 10 L addition, though. The temperature was too low at about 72 C (I probably hadn't factored in the heat loss during the mash and from the transfer), so I added the additional 8 L at boiling temperature to the mash tun, stirred, and opened the tap. Wort flowed freely and I collected about 25.3 L, which was about 1 L less than I was expecting.
My experience with German Ale/Kölsch yeast is that it slightly under-attenuates, so I wanted to bring forward the bitterness more than is usual for the style. So: in go all 100g of Saaz hops at 60 minutes.
I had a thoroughly uneventful boil with no cut outs, which I partly chalk up to descaling the element between heating my sparge water and starting the boil. I chilled to 22 C in about 15 minutes. I collected a lot of wort into the FV and added yeast (without a starter – I know, sue me). I put it in my fermentation chamber at 16 C, raised it to 18 C after a few days, and was pleased to see it had reached respectable 1.016 after 3½ weeks in the FV.
With this beer I aimed to answer to the question - can a lager be too malty? Yes, it can. For a variety of reasons (building works on our house for a few months, being incredibly busy at work for 4 months and then having a mini-me enter our lives) I didn't get through this very quickly. After a year in the keg (!) it was caramely and sweet. Not a million miles away from a Belgian ale. Not bad, but also not quite as intended.