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Ok, if this hasn't been started by the time I finish writing this then this can be the start of the Kolsch thread following myself and Doc's mention of this style in another thread.

This is from the BJCP style guidelines page and is a nice place to start analyzing and brewing this style:

A pale-coloured German ale and an appellation of the Kln area. Lightly fruity in the nose with a soft palate and a delicate dryness in the finish from German hops. Brewed at ale temperatures then cold-conditioned for several weeks. Light to medium gold. Light bodied. COMMERCIAL EXAMPLES: PJ FRUH, MALZMUHLEN, PFAFFGEN, SION, BIERHAUS' GOLDEN, ZUNFT, KUEPPER S.
The following description was equally shamelessly (and without permission) stolen from Tim Dawson's style guide, which seems to have since disappeared from the web. Which is too bad since it was a great page on beer styles.

Technically, this style can only be brewed in the area of Kln (Cologne), Germany. The Klsch Convention, signed in 1985, protects the definition of Klsch and designates the shape of a glass and the region in which the beer may be produced. Klsch is a light to dark gold beer with a light to medium body. Light, fruity, acidic, wine like brew. Some are dryish others are slightly sweet. One distinctive note of the better Koelsches is that they have a very grainy nose, almost like the smell of spent grain. Low hop flavor and aroma and low to medium bitterness. Has a soft palate and a delicate finish that can be dry or sweet. Can be as pale as a Pilsner, but with a light fruitiness of an ale. Klsch is noted for its delicacy rather than for any robust distinctiveness. Klsch has a conventional gravity and strength, a fine bead, and is clean-tasting (all-malt), very well attenuated, soft and drinkable, only faintly fruity (often in the aroma and the beginning of the palate), with a slight acidity and a restrained but definite hoppy dryness, often slightly herbal-tasting in the finish. Can use ale or lager yeast or both. Sometimes up to 15% wheat is used to give added complexity to the fruitiness, to provide paleness of color, and to enhance head-retention and lacework. Bottle conditioned examples may be called "wiess".

Perhaps a better way to define the beer, however, would be to get the information straight from the horse s mouth, as it were. What follows has been pieced together from Email conversations I ve been having over the past couple of months with a Braumeister in Kln. Mixed in are details from various sources in and around Kln and the Klsch-Verband.

Most simply stated : Es ist ein helles, obergriges, hopfenbetontes Vollbier. (Klner-Brauerei-Verband website) Or in English : It is a light, top-fermenting beer, characterised by the hops. The Verband is very proud of the fact that Klsch is Klsch. There is no Premium- or Ur- or Original - (Klsch). That is to say, if it has Klsch on the label, then you already have your guarantee that the beer inside adheres to the very strictest standards. No other designation is required.

OG (Stammwrze) : 1.043 to 1.046
FG : 1.007 to 1.009 (relatively dry)

Grains Naturally you would ideally want to use a good German Lager malt. Fortunately for us the regular Canada Malting 2-Row which is so widely available in Canada makes an exceptionally good Klsch-style beer. Up to 20% Wheat Malt is permissible, but this is very-much the exception and not the rule. My e-friend the Braumeister says he only knows for sure of one brewery which uses wheat.
Hops just about any good German hop can be used to brew a Klsch-style beer. In particular Tettnanger and the various types of Hallertauer are most often seen. In contradiction to the otherwise great article from Brewing Techniques, my source says that Klsch absolutely should not display hop aroma, and that all hop additions should therefore be early in the boil. 20 to 24 IBU is your target for bitterness. However, of the 20 or so brands we've personally tasted, 3 or 4 definitely had a lively hop aroma.
Water A very soft water similar to that required for a Czech Pilsener is ideal for brewing a Klsch-style beer.
Yeast Most good high-attenuating Ale yeasts can be used to make a decent Klsch-style beer. Wyeast 2565 is specifically designed for Klsch-style beer, as is White Labs Klsch (reportedly from PJ Frh). 1007 German Ale is another good choice, and even 1338 European Ale or Chico 1056 can be used. Basically anything that can ferment very clean at room temperatures strong esters are verboten in Klsch and can attenuate in the 80-85% range.
Mash as many of us have heard, fewer and fewer German brewers nowadays do a decoction mash, and this is true in Cologne as in the rest of the country. The Klsch brewery I ve been in touch with mashes-in at 63C, then brings it up to 70C and finally mash out at 78C. They say that exact times are a trade secret, though it is widely known that Klsch brewers mash on for a good hour after a positive test for conversion, in order to achieve the high attenuation required by the style.
Fermentation The normal fermentation temperature is 1 week at 20C to 25C. One brewery in Cologne chooses 20C. This seems to contradict the commonly accepted knowledge that one should ferment down closer to 15C. After a week at what amounts to room temperature, the beer is then Lagered for 3 to 4 weeks at 0C. It should be noted that German breweries (and even most German homebrewers) ferment their beer under pressure.
Attenuation - Klsch-style beer is attenuated extremely high: 80-85%

Ok. Open discussion ;) :D

Justin, thanks for the info, i'll try that the next time i brew a kolschy ( very soon, i really like it). I'll mash for 90 mins instead of an hour, cant really do the 120 min mash, as this would make my brewday way too long. Also, i may try to use no wheat at all. But, if you use no wheat, and mash for so long, what will happen to the head characteristics of the beer?? will it be o.k??.
Now, unfortunately this style of beer is very unlikely to be found as a true german import beer here in Australia. There are probably a number of reasons why, but whatever the case I haven't been able to find a true commercial example of this beer. Bugger.

I had however had a taste of a Kolsch that one of my mates brewed. Until then I hadn't even heard of a Kolsch and knew nothing about the style. Well, needless to say is was bloody nice and it now seems that I'm not the only one to think the same. There is a hell of a lot of info posted on the web on this style and from all reports it can be quite a challenging style to perfect. I guess lucky for me I don't know what a real one tastes like so that might make it easier for me to make what I believe might be a good example ;).

I have brewed one before but while it did turn out to be a very nice beer I didn't have the control of fermentation temperature I do now. Back in my first attempt I was using an old dead fridge and ice blocks to try to keep the temp down, which I did manage to keep it down to 20C, I was hoping really for 15-16C. It was a little fruitier than it could/should have been, but turned out quite well anyway.

This is a recipe that I have heard recommended on many of the US forums a number of times. I don't agree with the Honey malt part of the recipe but others seems to state that the recipe is a really good one. I'd change the honey malt (well I don't think I can get it anyway), so I'd either drop it completely or add a little vienna or something similar I think. Here it is:

"From Skotrat recipe archive"
Black Widow Kolsch-by Pacman

Brewing Method: All Grain
Yeast: WhiteLabs 029 German Ale (Kolsch)
Yeast Starter: Of course
Batch Size: 6
Original Gravity: 1.047
Final Gravity: 1.010
Alcohol Content: 4.9 %
Total Grains: 9 lbs
Color: 3.3
Extract Efficiency: 83 %
Hop IBU's: 24
Boiling Time: 70 minutes
Primary Fermentation: 14 days @ 62
Secondary Fermentation: 4 weeks @ 34
Additional Fermentation:

Grain Bill:

7.75 Pilsner
1.00 Wheat
0.25 HoneyMalt

Hop Bill:

1.0 Hallertauer Tradition 6.4%AA Whole 60 min.
0.2 Saaz 3.8%AA Whole 15 min.
0.2 Saaz 3.8%AA Whole 5 min.

Mash Schedule:

122 10 min
134 15 min
152 60 min
168 20 min

Brewers Notes:

Notice there is no VIENNA malt!!!

I use 1.5qts per pound at half and half RO water/tap water for the mash. I add about 1/2 tsp CaCl to help with the pH. The Sparge water is usually whatever RO water I have left and some tap water to make up the difference. The step mash and the long cold conditioning/lagering helps with the clarity.

The very first Kolsch I made I used vienna malt in the grain bill. The kolsch was alright but it wasn't exactly as it should be. It was a little too rich and malty. A Kolsch should be a nicely balanced beer that may lean a little towards the bitternes side. The Vienna pushed it too far to the malty side. A little over two years later I brewed another Kolsch this time I had a better idea of what a Kolsch should be like. My Mom and Stepdad took a trip to Germany and brought me back a couple of Kolschs' and they were WONDERFUL. I was hooked on the style once I tasted those. I read what ever I could find on Kolsch and came up with this basic recipe. I have experimented with varying ammouts of finishing hops with this recipe but this version has been brewed the most.

Awards: (Sorry, but I have to brag on this beer a little)

1st 2001 BRCC4 (2nd BOS)
3rd 2001 NHC First Round
2nd 2001 Indiana State Fair
1st 2001 St.Louis Brews HHHC comp
1st 2002 Boston Wortprocessors
1st 2002 KCBM comp.
1st 2002 Reggale and Dredhop comp
2nd 2002 MCAB4
1st 2002 Spirit of Free Beer
1st 2002 Indiana State Fair

If you brew this beer I hope you enjoy it as much as I have and continue to.

Damn Brewing's Fun!!!!
"End of snippet from skotrat"

Here is also a link to a number of other Kolsch recipes from the same webpage: http://skotrat.com/skotrat/recipes/ale/kolsch/

Bodensatz's site has a little bit of info on Kolsch as well. Find it here:

Great info Justin.
Interesting to note the post by Pacman about no Vienna.

Here is what I've brewed as my first Kolsch that I racked last night and is tasting awesome.

Doc's Kolsch

4.2kg JW Trad Ale
0.35kg JW Vienna
0.35kg JW Wheat

42gr Tettnanger 4.2% @ 45 mins
32gr Tettnanger 4.2% @ 15 mins

WLP 029 German Kolsch/Ale yeast.

For my next one I'll think I'll brew Pacmans, althought what the hell is Honey Malt ?? Wes ??

OK - pretty new to this stuff but what the hell!!
Here's my ideas on a partial mash recipe.

1kg German 2-row Pils
1kg Extra Light DME
700g Liquid Wheat Extract
200g Honey
33g Hallertau Pellets 4.5%AA @60 min
Kolsch White Labs WLP029

I've run this through berrtools and it fits 100% to style.

Based on what I've read, the style generally dosen't have any hop aroma or flavour but there are some exceptions. Was thinking maybe some saaz for a bit of aroma (cause thats what I like).
I guess where I'm a little hazy is dealing with the mash. I've read heaps and understand the process fine but a little confused on things like
How long do I mash 1 kg
How much sparge water to use

So any help on the mash and any suggestions for the recipe is appreciated as usual.
Oh by the way - it states that the water used is generally "soft". I am certainly chemically challenged so should I be adding anything to maybe achieve this?

For what it's worth, here's the recipe I am going to do next week. Timely arrival, this thread.

This is for a 40 litre batch.

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
92.0 8.00 kg. Hoepfner Pilsner malt Germany 1.038 2
8.0 0.70 kg. Hoepfner Munich Malt Germany 1.038 9

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
50.00 g. Tettnanger Pellet 4.50 18.3 60 min.
28.00 g. Tettnanger Pellet 4.50 2.7 15 min.
28.00 g. Czech Saaz Pellet 3.50 1.3 5 min.

WYeast 2565 Kolsch

Mash Schedule
Mash Type: Multi Step

Grain kg: 8.70
Water L: 21.03 - Before Additional Infusions

L Water Per kg Grain: 2.42 - Before Additional Infusions

Protein Rest Temp : 50 Time: 20
Saccharification Rest Temp : 65 Time: 90

This puts my SG above guidelines (1052), but I can live with that.

Here's a reasonably simple one that I tried ... Turned out sensational :rolleyes:

Tip if you're using the Kolsch yeast (Wy. 2565) make absolutely certain that you lager this beer for at least 4 weeks. I've never known a beer that tasted so much like s**t out of the fermenter, yet after lagering was so superb.

Actually thought that the batch was infected. Straight out of the fermenter it reminded me of a bad Weizen or a very funky Belgian and was very cloudy :( but more unpleasant. After 4 weeks I would have said that it was one of the best beers I'd made and became crystal clear.

Here's the recipe;

A ProMash Recipe Report

AHA Style and Style Guidelines

18-A German-Style Ale, Kolsch

Min OG: 1.042 Max OG: 1.048
Min IBU: 20 Max IBU: 32
Min Clr: 6 Max Clr: 10 Color in EBC


% Amount Name Origin Potential EBC
94.1 8.00 kg. Hoepfner Pils Germany 1.037 3
5.9 0.50 kg. Wheat Malt Germany 1.039 4

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
70.00 g. Hallertauer Pellet 5.50 29.3 45 min.
40.00 g. Hallertau Hersbrucker Pellet 2.90 0.0 0 min.


WYeast 2565 Kolsch
fermented at 18c for 2 weeks, racked into kegs, temp gradually lowered to 0c and lagered for 5 weeks.

Mash Schedule

Mash Type: Single Step

Grain kg: 8.50
Water Qts: 24.30 - Before Additional Infusions
Water L: 23.00 - Before Additional Infusions

L Water Per kg Grain: 2.71 - Before Additional Infusions

Saccharification Rest Temp : 66 Time: 120
Mash-out Rest Temp : 70 Time: 15
Sparge Temp : 72 Time: 50

Total Mash Volume L: 28.67 - Dough-In Infusion Only

All temperature measurements are degrees Celsius.

:chug: :chug:
Justin said:
Now, unfortunately this style of beer is very unlikely to be found as a true german import beer here in Australia. There are probably a number of reasons why, but whatever the case I haven't been able to find a true commercial example of this beer. Bugger.
I've tried two and they were really dissapointing.

The homebrewed version that I'd tasted was much much better.

The commercial versions were however the two most "mass produced" kolsches around (Kuppers and Fruh).
Good Day
While not the same melanoidan malt can be used instead of honey malt, from what I have been told. I use melanoidan a lot especially for lagers.
All the best, Barry
This is my current recipe for a Kolsch and its very nice. Its posted in the recipe section on the craftbrewers site. Single decocton if you want to give it a go.

Category: 07. PALE LAGER
Style: Kolsch
Recipe Name: Kates Kolsch
Brewer's Name: Ray Mills
Brewing Method: Mash
Starting Gravity: 1.046
Ending Gravity: 1.006
Alcohol (w/w%): 5.2
Bitterness (IBU): 27.2
Colour (SRM): 4.75
Specification Comments: A brew I made on the Dragons Birthday. Its a batch on improvements from my last 5 batches. Thinking I am getting this style right.
Size of Batch: 22
Batch Size Unit: Liters
Extract Efficiency: 70%
Fermentables: 4.00kg German Pils
0.82kg German Light Wheat
0.10kg Caramunich 11
Hop Additions: 18g Tettnager 4.7% First Wort Hopping
15g Perle 9.4% 70 min boil
17g Tettnager 4.7% last 5 min
Wort Preparation: Single decoction Mash
Mash at 64C for 60 minutes
Take out 40% of grains with some wort and slowly bring to boil. Boil for 10 minutes.
Return to mush tun and mash out at 70C for 30 minutes.
Sparge with 77C for 45 minutes.
Boiling and Cooling: Boil for 90 minutes
Cool to around 20C to 25C depending on what time of the year you can cool to with tap water.
Yeast Information: White Labs WLP003
German Ale 11
Fermentation Details: You need to control fermentation. Fermented at 18C for 14 days. Racked to Glass fermenter and Lagered at 2C for 4 weeks. Bottled as normal.
Other Brewing Information: You need to control fermentation temperatures and be able to lager this beer to get the best results. This style of beer has to be treated as a lager. Some Competitions treat it as an Ale and some as a Lager.

Ray, what could you use as a substitute for caramunich??.
100% Pils malt for Koelsch is all that is required with a small percentage of wheat malt if you have the urge.
Adding anything other than Pils will not be within cooee of a Koelsch.
This is the challenge of brewing this beer, it is a very 'transparent' style and any faults will stick out (esters, excess maltiness, infections).

The claimed trick to this style is getting as dry a finish (almost wine like) as is possible in other words low FG. Crystal and/or Caramel type malts would lead to a higher, albeit slightly FG and some residual sweetness.

That said it's the brewer's own choice how his/her kolsch finishes. Me personally I'm with TDH, all Pils, preferably German and a small percentage of wheat malt. Some claim that low as possible (even below 65c) mashing temperatures are ideal as well.

Different strokes for different folks. :)

Warren -
Just let everyone know that kolsch IS being imported into Australia. Beach Avenue Wholesalers, Melbourne & Sydney, import it in 50L kegs. Don't know who they sell it to tho.
Is there some sort of brewers telepathy at work here, I've got a Kolsch in the fermenter at the moment, this has happened with other beers before, I think what I'll brew next and bingo everyone seems to be at it too. Just for the record, I'm doing an oatmeal stout for Paddys day then a trippel.
Is there anyone there, one tap for yes, two taps for no.... :unsure:
Good Day
Well I am going to bottle a trippel today and the foreign stout I bottled several days ago did have 100 gms of rolled oats in it.
All the best, Barry.
Just another nice sight talking about this style. Give quite a good little run down on malt, hops, water etc from the brewing techniques website.

Here it is anyway:


Enjoy, and good luck brewing those beers.

Cheers, Justin

N.B. Actually while your looking at sytles, Brewing Techniques has the rest of the Styles series like the above here: http://brewingtechniques.com/library/styles.html May make for some interesting reading if your looking to perfect a style.
OK, after reading all this and trying (unsuccessfully :( ) to jog my memory as to the Kolsches I tried when in Koln years ago I've decided to have a stab at brewing one tomorrow night. Here's my intended recipe. I'm planning to mash at 66, not at the 68 suggested by Brewsmith to try and get a few axtra points lower on my FG. Any particular suggestions from those of you who have brewed Kolsches recently?

Type: All Grain
Date: 31/01/2005
Batch Size: 23.00 L
Brewer: Shawn
Boil Size: 29.95 L Asst Brewer: Sarah
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Shawn's Mash Setup
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.0
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.80 kg JWM Export Pilsner (3.9 EBC) Grain 96.0 %
0.20 kg JWM Wheat Malt (3.9 EBC) Grain 4.0 %
40.00 gm Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.60%] (60 min) Hops 20.8 IBU
15.00 gm Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.60%] (15 min) Hops 3.9 IBU
0.50 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs German Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007) [Starter 1000 ml] Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.047 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.6 %
Bitterness: 24.7 IBU Calories: 90 cal/l
Est Color: 7.1 EBC Color: Color

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 5.00 kg
Sparge Water: 23.93 L Grain Temperature: 22.2 C
Sparge Temperature: 75.6 C TunTemperature: 22.2 C
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 13.03 L of water at 76.5 C 67.8 C 60 min

Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).


Hey Gough,
1007 is a poor flocculator. Can probably dump the whirlfloc.
Wyeast Kolsch is pretty poor at floculating too. Lucky for that lagering period eh!