I’ve been in a bit of an appellation mood lately.

I brewed the beginnings of a lambic-style ale recently, using a wild yeast cocktail that’s supposed to mimic the native strain found in the outdoor air of the Pajottenland region of Belgium. This weekend, I finally got a chance to brew a kolsch-style ale, a beer particular to Cologne, Germany. I can’t technically call it a kolsch, of course, since the Kolsch Konvention of 1986 prevents it (similar to the legal protections on other kinds of beer categories, like Trappists, or many wine varietals). To call it a kolsch, it needs to be brewed within the city limits, and currently only about 20 or so breweries make a true interpretation of the style.  

Kolsch is an interesting beer as it is fermented like an ale, but the end product is more akin to a delicate lager…kind of a “hybrid” beer. Some very soft esters, little to no hop aroma, and a crisp, dry finish. It’s one of the only ales that comes out of the German brewing tradition, and for a homebrewer like me without a temperature controller to aid in lagering, it seemed like a fun beer to try. 

While I brewed, I enjoyed a couple nice glasses of Pilsner Urquell and Founders Centennial IPA, both great beers in their own right. I used a pretty straightforward recipe for a 5 gallon batch, based on a bit of research perusing various recipes online:

10 lbs. Pilsner malt
0.5 lbs. Munich malt
2 oz. Spalt hops (in boil at 60 min.)
Wyeast 2565 Kolsch

Single step mash at 152 for 90 minutes. Boil for 90 minutes.
Target OG: 1.050

The brewing itself went very well…hit the mash temp, nailed the target original gravity, and pitched a healthy starter. I’m fermenting at about 68 to 70 degrees, and after it’s done I’ll throw it in the beer fridge at 40 degrees to lager for a few weeks. It should help settle the proteins and clear things up for a cleaner looking beer.