View Full Version : Kölsch style beer

L.W. Baxter
06-29-2009, 09:46 PM
Henry Weinhard's has a seasonal "Summer Ale" out that they claim is a "Kölsch style beer". I don't know how accurate a representation of the real thing it is, but I've been through a couple racks of it in the last few weeks and I like it. I don't know what would make it an "ale", seems more like a lager to me, and the wiki article on the type says it is "lagered". I generally prefer lagers, pilsners to ales and this brew does very nicely, and it's inexpensive which is something I especially appreciate at the moment....

Anybody had the real thing on tap in the correct glassware at the right temperature and with a german serving wench wiping down the bar...?

06-29-2009, 10:07 PM
Anybody had the real thing on tap in the correct glassware at the right temperature and with a german serving wench wiping down the bar...?

And you'd expect anyone to remember anything about it but that last?

martin schulz
06-30-2009, 03:06 AM
Well a Kölsch is not as bitter as the usual Pils and it comes in those handy little 0,25 glasses (which are refilled without asking for it ;) )

It tastes a bit sweater and goes down very easy. The fermentation process is about the same as with "Weizenbier" bavarian beers so it is definitely not the typical lager beer.


06-30-2009, 08:56 AM
Kolsch is brewed with an ale yeast (top fermenting, likes temperatures above 63 deg.) that produces a lot of sulfur compounds/smells during fermentation. The lagering phase (traditionally for at least a month) allows these compunds to dissipate and also helps to clear the beer of yeast sediment and other haze-forming particles which leaves the finished beer brilliantly clear. Modern Kolsch brewers ususally cut the lagering time to a week or two and then filter the beer to achieve the same result.

The ale yeast used produces a flavor profile more like a lager yeast than a typical ale - less frutiness, lower esters, cleaner hop and malt flavors...which is probably one reason why you like this ale, given your stated preference for lagers over ales. Another reason you might find this style appealing is that the grain bill and hops used are more typical of a pilsner than an ale.

Factoid: Kölsch is an appellation protected by the Kölsch Konvention, and is restricted to the 20 or so breweries in and around Cologne (Köln). Each brewery interprest the limits of the Konvention slightly differently leading to variation in the flavor profiles of the beers brewed within the style.

Some Köln breweries (e.g., Dom, Hellers) are now producing young, unfiltered versions known as "Wiess".

btw - the special Kolsch glass is called a “Stange.”

The Weinhard's Summer Ale grain bill includes wheat malt which is not typical of an authentic Kolsch...but if it tastes good, who am I to argue?