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A Kolsch Recipe…

Posted on March 2nd, 2014 by in "Beer Recipes"

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A very, unorthodox and untraditional Kolsch recipe.

Left me start off by saying that I have a huge amount of respect for German brewing traditions and German beer styles. Oktoberfest and Munich Dunkel are currently tied for my number 1 favorite beer style, but every once in a while I feel the need to over engineer a beer recipe based exactly on the BJCP style guidelines.┬áThis Kolsch recipe is just that – an over engineered and over analyzed recipe. Each ingredient will bring exactly what I want to the table to hopefully create a perfect (according to the BJCP guidelines at least) Kolsch recipe. Check out the BJCP style guidelines for the Kolsch style.

Kolsch recipeI started with a base of Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner malt from Weyermann for this Kolsch recipe. I picked up a slightly out of date sack a bit ago and have been trying to use it up. I could just as easily used their regular Pilsner malt or Avangard Pilsner malt. I cut it slightly with American 2 row to lessen the Pilsner malt flavor a little bit, and then added a pound of Weyermann Munich I to add just a touch of soft malt complexity. A pound of white malted wheat was added to set this beer apart from the standard 100% Pilsner malt Kolsch recipes it would be up against. The wheat will add a soft and bready flavor and aroma to give the final product just a little more complexity. Carapils and torrified wheat were both selected to increase the delicate foam stand.

I selected US Magnum as my bittering hop in this Kolsch recipe. This is my favorite hop to use for bittering for pretty much any style. It is smooth and consistent and is usually above 12% AA so you don’t have to use too much to get the bitterness needed. In order to get just a touch of noble hop aroma and flavor, I decided to use 1/2 oz of German Tettnang late in the boil. I’ve found that using Magnum for bittering and 1/2 – 1 oz of traditional hops later in the boil gets a much more smooth bitterness and helps keep vegetative matter out of the beer. Having less trub and hop matter in the fermentor makes reusing yeast much easier.

I selected a mash temperature of 150F to get the correct amount of attenuation from the yeast. I selected WLP029 – German Ale/Kolsch yeast. My goal is to get it to finish in the mid-range of the guidelines (1.009). I’m attempting to have it finish crisp and dry, but with enough body to let you know you’re drinking something more than fizzy yellow water.

I’ve used WLP029 many times before for several different styles. I’ve also brewed somewhere around 6-8 different Kolsch recipes and have found that keeping the temperature on the lower side of the range for the first half of fermentation really helps to minimize the fruity esters produced by this strain. I usually pitch around 58F and allow it to creep up to 62F during the lag phase, then hold it at 62F for 4 days, then kick it up to 68F to finish out. This is the fermentation schedule I plan to follow with this recipe as well. The vial of WLP029 I had was getting ready to expire, so I made a 2L starter on my stir plate 24 hours before I needed it.

A Most Nontraditional Kolsch Recipe

SRM: 3.8 SRM
IBU: 24.0 IBUs
OG: 1.046 SG
FG: 1.009 SG
BU:GU: 0.522
Est ABV: 4.8 %
EE%: 67.00 %
Batch: 6.00 gal
Boil: 7.91 gal
BT: 60 Mins
Est Pre_Boil Gravity: 1.037 SG
Est OG: 1.046 SG
Total Grain Weight: 11 lbs 8.0 oz
Total Hops: 0.96 oz oz.
Total Water: 10.29 gal

Amt Name Type %/IBU
7 lbs 8.0 oz Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) (1.5 SRM) Grain 65.2 %
1 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (CMC) (1.8 SRM) Grain 8.7 %
1 lbs Munich I (Weyermann) (8.0 SRM) Grain 8.7 %
1 lbs Wheat – White Malt (Briess) (2.3 SRM) Grain 8.7 %
8.0 oz Carapils (Briess) (1.5 SRM) Grain 4.3 %
8.0 oz Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM) Grain 4.3 %
0.46 oz Magnum [14.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 22.4 IBUs
0.50 oz Tettnang [4.60 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 1.5 IBUs
1.0 pkg German Ale/Kolsch (White Labs #WLP029) [35.49 ml] Yeast -
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