Kölsch

Recipes:
7,205
BJCP 2021:
05B
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇩🇪 Germany
Fermentation:
Top
Conditioning:
Lagered
Color:
Pale
Strength:
Normal
Taste:
Balanced

Profile

Kölsch is a unique and highly regarded beer style that originates from Cologne (Köln), Germany. This beer has a distinguished history that reflects the culture and tradition of its home region. Kölsch is protected by law, meaning that only beers brewed within the vicinity of Cologne can truly bear the name. The history stretches back to a time when local brewers were aiming to create a beer that could rival the popularity of lagers, which led to the development of this top-fermenting ale with lager-like characteristics.

Aesthetically, Kölsch presents itself as a bright, clear beer with a straw-yellow hue. Its head is white and can range from moderate to dense, often leaving some lacing as it recedes. Carbonation is typically lively and contributes to its enticing appearance. On the nose, Kölsch offers subtle fruit aromas reminiscent of apples or pears produced by the ale yeast during fermentation. This is accompanied by a low to moderately low hop aroma, which may present slight floral or spicy notes. The malt profile tends towards grainy or sometimes faintly sweet scents, with no caramel or heavy malty complexity. The flavor of Kölsch follows suit – crisp and delicately balanced. It features a soft but palpably dry malt character sporting slightly bready or wheaty nuances that interact harmoniously with the moderate bitterness provided by traditional German hops. The fruitiness found in its scent carries into its taste, though restrained enough not to overshadow the clean malt base. The finish is usually quick and dry, inviting another sip.

Kölsch remains distinctive among other German beers such as Altbier - another top-fermented style from nearby Düsseldorf - where similarities end at fermentation: Altbier is darker with more assertive malty flavors; whereas Kölsch stands apart owing to its bright clarity and delicate taste profile that deftly walks the line between fruity ale characteristics and crisp lager-like refreshment. With its light body and refreshing quality, Kölsch bears certain likeness to other pale session beers like American Blonde Ales but maintains its own distinct identity through its balance and subtle complexity forged over centuries in Cologne’s brewing kettles.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
4.4 – 5.2 %

In Database
4.2 < 5.0 < 5.6 %

Bitterness

Specification
18 – 30 IBU

In Database
15 < 24 < 33 IBU

Color

Specification
7 – 10 EBC
4 – 5 SRM

In Database
6 < 7 < 10 EBC
3 < 4 < 5 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
10.9 – 12.3 °P
1.044 – 1.050 OG

In Database
10.2 < 11.9 < 13.8 °P
1.041 < 1.048 < 1.056 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
1.8 – 2.8 °P
1.007 – 1.011 FG

In Database
1.5 < 2.8 < 3.8 °P
1.006 < 1.011 < 1.015 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Trending Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Trending Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes