September 25, 2011

Watersports Kolsch recipe

I realized I haven't added a "normal" beer recipe in a while so I wanted to throw one up. This is a kolsch recipe I made for my wife, who is a big kolsch fan. She really liked this recipe and said it's her favorite but part of that is probably just her being nice. Anyway, the recipe is simple to allow the kolsch yeast esters to blend with a clean malt flavor and a slight grassy flavor and aroma from Saaz.

Kolsch is a light, German blonde ale that is very lager-like due to the cooler fermentation and typically low yeast flavor, although for this recipe and my available temperature control techniques I fermented slightly warmer to get more yeast flavor. It is a good option for brewers who lack very cold basements or fermentation chambers that allow for lager production. Ideally you should ferment a kolsch in the upper 50s to low 60s but you can produce good beer with kolsch yeast into the mid-60s. If you do not want to use kolsch yeast and get that slight fruity and spicy flavor from the yeast you can ferment with a good neutral strain (1338 would work, so would 05 or a neutral American strain).


This is a three gallon recipe, so scale as necessary.

OG 1.047
FG 1.012
IBU 25.8
SRM 4.2
ABV 4.49%

Grain bill:
4lb Pilsner malt
.5lb Munich malt
.5 Wheat malt

Infusion mash at 154 with 6.25 quarts. Sparge to 3.6 gallons pre-boil.

Boil additions:
.75oz Fuggles at 60 min
.25oz Saaz at 15 min
1 tsp Irish moss
.25oz Saaz at 5 min

Ferment for 1 month with Wyeast 2565 in mid-60s.


If you can cold crash before bottling it will help add clarity to the beer. You can also ferment this lower if you prefer less yeast flavor. Personally I found it just a little too estery for my tastes but that is easily adjustable based on fermentation tastes. If you are like me and you don't have a fermentation chamber with controlled temperatures in the 50s and 60s, this would be a good beer to brew in the early part of winter when it is cool through the day and then let it condition in the colder mid-winter months before bottling.

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