My brew partner, Bruschi, has been drinking Kolsches for years, but they are a new favorite of mine. Last year we brewed an amazing peach kolsch, where we racked 5 gallons on to 20 pounds of peaches! It was damn good. I wish I had that post to look back – but thankfully I started this site, but better late than never. Either way it isn’t peach season but it will be warm out soon enough in New York and I wanted some lighter type beers on tap.
What is a Kolsch Beer?
Although not that popular I am a huge fan of a cold, crisp kolsch. Beer and Brewing Magazine provided a pretty good description of the style,
Kölsch refers to the signature beers that are produced in and around Cologne (Köln), Germany. They are generally pale in color, delicate in flavor, low in alcohol, and refreshing. They are probably the best example of a “gateway” beer you can strive for. If you have a friend who’s considering taking the leap from macro lager to craft beer, Kölsch is a great style to test drive. The flavors are restrained, and you’re not at risk of burning anyone out on the bitterness or alcohol.
Kölsches have a light honey and grainy malt flavor, appropriately balanced bittering, and the aroma and flavor of good old German noble hops: flowers and herbs accented by some light apple or pear esters. This is a style that is characterized a bit by what it’s not—which is to say it isn’t the “Pils malt showcase” that Helles is, nor is it the liquid breadbox and spice cabinet that Weizen is, nor is it the fruity fireworks display that some American and Belgian pale styles are. You should have something that’s hoppier than a Helles, less malty and spicy than a Weizen, less bitter than an APA, and less complicated than a saison. Kölsch is the quiet person in the corner who doesn’t say much, but makes small and essential contributions to the conversation.
Interestingly, some of the sites I researched discussed how you can’t make Kolsch outside of Cologne, Germany analogous to Champagne being made outside of the Champagne region of France isn’t supposed to be called Champagne. Notwithstanding, most people ignore both archaic traditions.
Brewing our Kolsch Extract Beer
Brew night was a bit hectic. We had a ton to do and we weren’t going to start until about 7pm! We were going to brew 10 gallons of kolsch, keg 10 gallons of brady beer, and secondary a dark English ale. To boot in the middle of all of this we had a possible animal in the shed where Bruschi keeps the extra hose.
Luckily we didn’t find anything, but tensions were running high as we argued who was going in. There was a lot of “it is your freaking shed” vs “you are lower to the ground and thus closer to the hose.” In the end one of us man-ed up and went in there (that was me). Nothing attacked me and luckily I survived to write this post.
Brewing Kolsch from Jasper’s Brewing
This kit was from Jasper’s Brewing, their website is BoomChugAlug.com which is a great domain but confusing at best as it has nothing to do with their company name. They describe their kolsch beer in the following way,
The sun burns bright in that cloudless blue sky, and the unusual summer swelter stirs mirages over the Rhine, and with the first beads of perspiration on your brow, you escape the heat by descending the stone stairs underground and ducking into the rasthskeller, where the refreshing cool air washes over your face. At your table you are immediately served a tall, narrow stange of this delightful Kölsch, and with the light beaming down from the street-level windows, it’s as though you’re holding a glass of sunshine. A subtle though welcoming aroma flitters over the creamy white head, greeting you with delicate fruitiness and noble hops, and your first, refreshing sip delivers soft, clean maltiness that fills your mouth with a crisp tang and eminently balanced noble hop bitterness. And as you place your empty stange upon the table and are immediately served another, you gaze upon that golden beauty and you realize you are beholding liquid satisfaction.
In college, the place where all the fraternities and sororities got food was called the Rasthskeller and I had no idea what the reference was! Apparently it is referring to a bar located in a basement.
I haven’t decided if I am going to alter my 5 gallons in anyway. It was damn good on peaches, but it seems like it would be an expense to get 20 pounds of peaches right now, and it doesn’t guarantee that it’ll come out the same considering the peaches we used the first time was straight from an orchard that my future sister in law works at.
Brew Date: 4/18/2017
Secondary: Didn’t write down
On keg – 5/21/2017