A bit ale and a bit lager, the Kölsch

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A bit ale and a bit lager, the Kölsch

Why not reading about beer while brewing? Grab one of our educational materials to read until you can grab a glass of beer! These articles will lead you through the path of making beer with useful brewing tips.

Drinking a Kölsch is more than just drinking a beer: it's like drinking an entire culture as Evan Rail wrote in his exceptional article a bit more than 10 years ago. If we want to rank beers with the strangest names, Kölsch definitely would be in the top three. Let's start with something dorky: have you heard about the Danish techno artist with the same naming? Put your headphones on and listen to this during reading if you like - I'm doing the same right now.

Beer & culture

Getting back to the original topic, Kölsch beer has a sexy-looking appearance and a really exciting cultural background that we're going to share with you right now. Fancy knowing more about this exotic type and brew your very own this week? Read on!

The secret is that its unique flavour has made this beverage super popular amongst the real beer buddies whose interest was and is triggered by this special taste. Kölsch is a very light and fragrant top-fermented beverage with a light body, character, malty and fruity aromas, about 5% alcohol content and medium hop bitterness.

Two types of beer were brewed in Cologne around the 15th century, Gruit (spiced barley beer) and the ancestor of today's Kölsch. The latter became the most favoured later in the 16th century and regarding its excellent quality, the consumption of this drink has smartened.

Cologne's favourite

At the beginning of the 21st century, 90% of beers brewed in Cologne were Kölsch - the name indicates its birthplace, solely beverages brewed there (or around the city) can be named Kölsch, but of course, many American beer pubs and breweries all around the world have created their version of this style.

Traditionally, Kölsch is served in 2 dl glasses (to prevent warming up) called Stange, on Kranz (a round tray) by the Köbes who is the strangest waiter of the breweries of Cologne, a steward, a juggler and a psychologist in one person. They only stop serving Kölsch when the guest puts his coaster in his glass - until then, seeing an empty glass means automatic refill with fresh and cold beer.

Hybrid beer = to be a bit ale and a bit lager

Kölsch is the perfect example of the so-called hybrids, the beverage is usually fermented with ale yeast but is held at cold temperatures after fermentation that is a common practice with lagers.
Although you certainly don't have Stange, Kranz or a Köbes at home, feel free to try the following tips from our master brewer and make yourself a light coloured, easy to drink and refreshing type of German hybrid.

+ Use Pilsner or lighter, Heidelberg malt. The using of other malts can make your beer too dark so do it wisely (and use up to 5% of them)
+ CG tablets
+ the mashing profile should be weighed in the direction of 72 C°
+ White Labs WLP029 German Ale /Kölsch and Wyeast 2565 Kölsch.
+ ferment it between 14 and 17 C° and at age 10
+ OG should be between 1.040 and 1.044
+ the base should be multi-step mashing and Pilsen malt