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Kölsch (batch #163)
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 6927
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Pale Ale (sessionable), Mild, NEIPA, Schwarzbier, Altbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: NEIPA, Belgian Saison, Scottish Heavy 70/-


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:41 am    Post subject: Kölsch (batch #163) Reply with quote


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Kölsch (or Koelsch) is a clean, crisp, delicate ale, with a light grainy Pilsner malt flavour and aroma. Usually lightly hopped (20-30 IBU) and reasonably low alcohol (4.4-5.2% ABV). A great gateway beer to steer light lager drinkers towards more flavourful offerings without completely scaring them away.

While Kölsch has origins in the long existing German wheat beers (Weissbier/Keutebier) that trace back 500 years or more, the current form was originally brewed in Köln (Cologne) Germany starting in the early 1900s. It never became particularly popular in the first half of the twentieth century as Germans were already enjoying new found cleaner tasting lagers. Brewers in Cologne (and the Altbier brewers of Düsseldorf) stubbornly continued to produce top-fermented ales, while almost every other brewery in Germany turned out bottom-fermented lagers.

With beer interests moving away from lighter tasting lagers, Kölsch has seen a resurgence in recent years with strong exports to the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China and Brazil. The three largest brands are made by private family breweries - Gaffel, Früh and Reissdorf.


Gaffel Kölsch, served in the correct glasses in New York City's Lower East Side. Image (c) Evan Sung nytimes.com

Many American brewpubs and breweries have now created their own (often quite different) interpretations of the style, including Goose Island Summertime, Sam Adams East-West Kölsch, Short's Kolsch 45, and Rogue Honey Kolsch. Up in Canada there is Beau's Lug Tread.

Kölsch is one of the few beers that gets its own special glass. Unlike their Bavarian cousins who prefer large serving vessels, Kölsch is traditionally served in a 0.2 litre (~6 oz) Kölsch glass (called a 'Stange') which is tall and cylindrical. The idea behind the small glass is that the beer stays fresh and cold as it doesn't sit around for long.


Image (c) Charles Forelle @ wsj.com

In traditional Cologne pubs Kölsch waiters (Köbes) will continue to exchange your empty Kölsch glasses with new ones unprompted until you leave your glass half full or place your coaster on the glass to signal that you're done. The waiters carry these filled glasses of the beer around the beer hall, in special circular trays called a Kranz, ready to replace any empty glasses immediately. As each beer is served, a mark is made on the coaster, which is then used to calculate your bill. Waiters are encouraged (or expected) to speak the local dialect which is also called "Kölsch" and to use fairly rough, unrefined language, which might include crude jokes with the customers. The waiters are almost exclusively men.


Image (c) nrw-tourismus.de

The malt bill and hop schedule are extremely straightforward. Given the delicate nature of the beer, it's important to use good quality fresh ingredients, such as Weyermann malt. The key to brewing an authentic Kölsch is using the right yeast: It has to be either Wyeast 2565 Kölsch or White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch. While you can make a great clean tasting beer using other yeasts (such as Fermentis Safale US-05), it just won't have the same flavour and aroma as a true Kölsch. Try a split batch yourself and see the difference the yeast makes.

For best results a long (1-2 month) lagering period is required where the beer is held near freezing. We prefer to do this in the keg as the beer carbonates.

Kölsch is strictly defined by an agreement between members of the Cologne Brewery Association known as the Kölsch Konvention such that a Kölsch can only be called Kölsch if it is brewed within the region of Cologne. (Similar to how the name "champagne" can only be used for sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France). If you brew up your own outside of Cologne and call it a Kölsch, we won't tell. Wink

I first brewed this on October 7, 2013 (batch #163). Brew up a batch and let me know how you like it!

Interested in seeing what we're brewing right now? Follow our Instagram feed for pictures and videos of our brewing activities as they happen.

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Kölsch

Size: 12.0 US gal (post-boil)
Efficiency: 95.0%
Attenuation: 82.0%
Calories: 149 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.045 (1.044 - 1.050)
Terminal Gravity: 1.008 (1.007 - 1.011)
Color: 3.0 (3.5 - 5.0)
Alcohol: 4.9% (4.4% - 5.2%)
Bitterness: 21 (20.0 - 30.0)

Ingredients:
16.0 lb Weyermann Pilsner Malt (95%)
0.85 lb Weyermann Vienna Malt (5.0%)
2.0 oz German Hallertau Hops (6.7%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min (20.9 IBU)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min
6 packs Wyeast 2565 Kölsch liquid yeast (or an appropriate starter*)
- OR -
6 vials White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch liquid yeast (or an appropriate starter*)

Notes:
Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine/chloramine (as required).
Water treated with brewing salts to: Ca=50, Mg=10, Na=18, Cl=70, S04=70
(Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and balanced).
1.5 qt/lb mash thickness. Single infusion mash at 149F for 90 mins. Mashout to 168F.
If your system allows it (such as ours), consider mashing in in the low 120's for a short protein rest and immediately start ramping up to the starch conversion/saccharification rest of 149F.
60-90 min fly sparge with ~6 pH water. Collect 14.9 gallons in the boil kettle.
Boil for 90 minutes. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
Cool wort to 60F and aerate well. Ferment at 60F until approximately 2-5 points from final gravity, then raise the temperature to 68F and keep it there for 2-4 days to reduce diacetyl (a buttery flavour produced by some yeasts).
Rack to brite tank (secondary), crash chill to near freezing (if possible), add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and let clear for 2-3 days.
Package as you would normally. I keg and carbonate at around 2.5 volumes of C02. The beer will improve greatly if kept near freezing for 1-2 months before serving. I use a lagering/conditioning fridge that holds 6 kegs, set to just above freezing that holds a small 5 pound CO2 tank so that the kegs can condition and carbonate at the same time.

*For hints on how to make a starter see Chapter 6 of How to Brew and Appendix A of Brewing Classic Styles.

For complete brewing instructions, see our Brew Day: Step by Step guide.

Enjoy!

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SEE OUR OTHER RECIPES »

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Fri Oct 07, 2016 1:43 pm; edited 18 times in total
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Castermmt



Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 856
Location: Lowell, In

Drinking: Steelhead Porter, Alt-Toids, Hefty-Weizen, Terry's Kolsch, African Amber, Pumpkin Ale, Double Dog Ale

Working on: Janet's Brown Ale, Terry's Kolsch, Pilsner


PostLink    Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brewed this a few months ago and have tapped the second keg. My family and friends love it, so looks like a beer I'll have to brew this often. Thanks for the share. Castermmt
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 6927
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Pale Ale (sessionable), Mild, NEIPA, Schwarzbier, Altbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: NEIPA, Belgian Saison, Scottish Heavy 70/-


PostLink    Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you like it! I have a keg of it 2 months into lagering/conditioning now at 32F and it's really into its prime. Can't wait to tap it!

Kal

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OkieDokie



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Oklahoma

Drinking: Electric ale, Weizen

Working on: Electric lager, American Amber Ale, Dirty Blonde


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got to the rolling boil! Looks to be a pretty beer!
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Castermmt



Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 856
Location: Lowell, In

Drinking: Steelhead Porter, Alt-Toids, Hefty-Weizen, Terry's Kolsch, African Amber, Pumpkin Ale, Double Dog Ale

Working on: Janet's Brown Ale, Terry's Kolsch, Pilsner


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used the Wyeast 2565 and really like it. This is a top of the line Kolsch, your going to love this beer. I'll be brewing this again, soon.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 6927
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Pale Ale (sessionable), Mild, NEIPA, Schwarzbier, Altbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: NEIPA, Belgian Saison, Scottish Heavy 70/-


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - I find you really have to use 2565 to get that specific grainy "kolsch" like taste. My last batch was a split between 2565 and US-05 (Cali chico yeast) and while the US-05 one was fine, it just wasn't as kolsch-like. ... And to put things in perspective, when I switched the keg my wife didn't notice the difference though she tried both types 1 week apart. Tried back to back she did notice the difference. So it's certainly not a night & day difference.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Sat May 24, 2014 12:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Castermmt



Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 856
Location: Lowell, In

Drinking: Steelhead Porter, Alt-Toids, Hefty-Weizen, Terry's Kolsch, African Amber, Pumpkin Ale, Double Dog Ale

Working on: Janet's Brown Ale, Terry's Kolsch, Pilsner


PostLink    Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know. She liked them both. LOL
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dlemyre



Joined: 31 Mar 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Bécancour, Québec


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got all the ingredients to brew this beer next weekend...

But I only have 4 pack of Wyest 2565 instead of 6... will this make a huge difference?

I'm asking this because I brewed last Monday the Weizen / Weissbier and it blew well over a gallons on the floor with the correct amount of pack....

thanks
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OkieDokie



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Oklahoma

Drinking: Electric ale, Weizen

Working on: Electric lager, American Amber Ale, Dirty Blonde


PostLink    Posted: Thu May 22, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You will probably be okay. You could make a starter and that would help. Also know that this one is more related to a lager so you won't get the reactivity that an ale would do. This is a slower reaction and about twice the time so you won't get a "blowout". Good brewing.
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Castermmt



Joined: 03 Jan 2011
Posts: 856
Location: Lowell, In

Drinking: Steelhead Porter, Alt-Toids, Hefty-Weizen, Terry's Kolsch, African Amber, Pumpkin Ale, Double Dog Ale

Working on: Janet's Brown Ale, Terry's Kolsch, Pilsner


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dlemyre wrote:
I've got all the ingredients to brew this beer next weekend...

But I only have 4 pack of Wyest 2565 instead of 6... will this make a huge difference?

I'm asking this because I brewed last Monday the Weizen / Weissbier and it blew well over a gallons on the floor with the correct amount of pack....

thanks

You should be fine. I use 2 smack packs with a 3 liter starter for 10 gallons and it blows out of the airlock.

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dlemyre



Joined: 31 Mar 2014
Posts: 25
Location: Bécancour, Québec


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 23, 2014 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the replies, I'll brew this recipe tomorrow, I'll let you know how it comes out.
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OkieDokie



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Oklahoma

Drinking: Electric ale, Weizen

Working on: Electric lager, American Amber Ale, Dirty Blonde


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys! Know it's late but I hope someone reads this. Gotta make 30 gallons of this this weekend. Have 20 gallon set up. Would it be better to follow the recipe 3 times to net 30 gallons or could it be ramped up to make (2) 15 gallon batches? Now that I write this I don't think I could as my pre-boil amount won't really fit in the kettle. On that note those, if you ramp up a recipe, don't you just double it for a double batch, or is it on an exponential scale?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 6927
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Pale Ale (sessionable), Mild, NEIPA, Schwarzbier, Altbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: NEIPA, Belgian Saison, Scottish Heavy 70/-


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Brew as few times as possible, so do two 15 gallon batches if you can or even bigger.
Correct that to double a batch, double everything. Your brewing software will do this for you too.

Kal

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OkieDokie



Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 185
Location: Oklahoma

Drinking: Electric ale, Weizen

Working on: Electric lager, American Amber Ale, Dirty Blonde


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just started the Kolsch. Just finished and used for the first time my new grain mill table. Have a 1/2 hp gear motor with reducer on it for about 200 RPM attached to a new Monster Mill 3 roller system with extension hopper. Took a video of it and it worked perfectly! Will try to upload a link and include photos. Kal, feel free to adjust to support links or whatever you need to do. Sometimes the journey is as important as the final spot. This is really fun! Thanks guys!
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Jerz



Joined: 17 Nov 2013
Posts: 191
Location: Suwanee, Georgia

Drinking: Centennial IPA, Oktoberfest, Dry Stout...

Working on: Kolsch, Rye IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am brewing the Kolsch today since it's been such a huge hit (brewed the first batch 3-8-2015). I brought it to my high school homecoming and the 5 gallon keg of Kolsch was gone in about three hours; beer drinkers AND swill drinkers love this which is why I'm brewing another batch today.
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mmmmmm... beer....
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 6927
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Pale Ale (sessionable), Mild, NEIPA, Schwarzbier, Altbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: NEIPA, Belgian Saison, Scottish Heavy 70/-


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's definitely a very approachable beer. I brought a bunch of growlers to a function last week and it was popular with basically anyone who likes beer.

Kal

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raffeja



Joined: 22 May 2014
Posts: 9
Location: Asheville, NC


PostLink    Posted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone add wheat to their kolsch? I know you wouldn't catch a German brewer doing that, but I personally like the addition - have been doing ~10%. Any thoughts?
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jengum



Joined: 07 Nov 2012
Posts: 37
Location: Portland, OR USA


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Lager once or twice Reply with quote

I may try this for my next brew day. Question about process, I assume you'd recommend one lagering period, that could be combined with carbonating. I ask because the instructions mention lagering twice.

"...then raise the temperature to 68F and keep it there for 2-4 days to reduce diacetyl (a buttery flavour produced by some yeasts). It's preferable to lager for 1-2 months at near freezing before packaging.
Rack to brite tank (secondary), crash chill to near freezing (if possible), add 1 tsp of unflavoured gelatin dissolved in a cup of hot distilled water per 5 gallons of beer, and let clear for 2-3 days.
Package as you would normally. I keg and carbonate at around 2.5 volumes of C02. The beer will improve greatly if kept near freezing for 1-2 months before serving. I use..."

Let us know if you recommend two lagering periods. If this is a typo, feel free to delete my question, and adjust the instructions.

Thanks!

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Belgian and German styles
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 6927
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Pale Ale (sessionable), Mild, NEIPA, Schwarzbier, Altbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: NEIPA, Belgian Saison, Scottish Heavy 70/-


PostLink    Posted: Mon Apr 11, 2016 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi jengum - I removed the first mention of lagering to avoid any confusion.
Some prefer to lager on the yeast before racking/packaging. I usually do it after packaging (in my case kegging).

Good luck!

Kal

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Ashquest



Joined: 04 Jan 2017
Posts: 1



PostLink    Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This one is pretty easy to make and it tastes good. We have a winner!
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