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Style of the week: Kolsch!

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July 18, 2014 by fhsteinbart


Kolsch

Kolsch beer poured into straight sided glasses called a Stange.

Kolsch is one of the few Ale’s of Germany. It’s light spritzy character combined with the light maltiness and gentle background fruitiness make a refreshingly tasty beer. As a light hybrid style of beer, it usually sits in between ales and lagers, both in fermentation character and in temperature requirements. This doesn’t mean however that you can ferment at too high a temperature, as I’ve found the general limits are between 60°F and 72°F, with 66°F being the best compromise. For low to moderate estery components and clean malty flavor balanced with low to medium hoppiness try to use restraint with recipe formulation. Usually, and customarily Kolsch is brewed with either Pilsner malt alone, or with a small percentage of Vienna, or Munich malt for melanoidin character. Hops are generally the German noble type such as Hallertau, or Tettnanger and limited to 20~25 IBU’s in most Kolsch beers. Everything else is pretty much the same process wise in making a good representative of this style, and the proof lies in the enjoyment of a well made Kolsch. Below is a recipe that will make 5 gallons of delicious Kolsch style beer, a refreshing way to spend the long hot days of Summer!

All Grain:

8 lbs. 4 oz. Pilsner Malt

.6 oz Halletaur Hops (bittering, 60 minutes)

.6 oz Tettnanger Hops (aroma, 30 and 0 minutes)

Whirlfloc tablet or irish moss

1 pkg. Wyeast 2565 or White Labs WLP029

Mash at 155°F for 1 hour. At 60 min. add bittering hops (Hallertaur). At 30 min. add .3 oz. Aroma hops (Tettnanger). At 0 min. add remaining .3 oz. Aroma hops (Tettnanger). Cool wort and add to fermenter. Aerate wort, pitch yeast and ferment at 59°F to 62°F

Extract:

4 lbs. extra Light DME

1lb Rice Syrup Solids

.9 oz. Hallertaur Hops (bittering)

.8 oz. Tettnanger Hops (aroma)

Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss

1 pkg. Wyeast 2565 or White Labs WLP029

  • Heat 3-5 gallons water to ~160°F
  • Add malt extract and rice syrup solids, stirring until fully dissolved
  • Return to heat, bring to a boil and add bittering hops. (Hallertaur)
  • Continue to boil for 30 min. then add .4 oz. of aroma hops (Tettnanger) and Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • Boil for another 30 min., add remaining .4 oz. of aroma hops (Tettnanger)
  • Remove from heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.
  • Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallon using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well)
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 59°F to 62°F.

Other Options: To achieve a lighter color and improved hop utilization try a late extract addition. Add 30% of the extract at the normal time and the remaining 70% during the last 5 minutes of the boil. For faster fermentation and a lower finishing gravity try making a yeast starter. (See Steinbart sheet on making a yeast starter.)

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