Cooking with Beer: Chocolate Stout Cake

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Brew Day That Wasn't... and other stuff.

So this past Saturday, I got everything ready and then realized I'm missing a piece to connect my valve to the Bazooka screen and so decided to cut my losses and not brew. As we speak, the yeast is back in the fridge taking a nap, waiting to chow down later this week. I'll probably end up brewing Saturday or Sunday.

After brewing the Citra DIPA, I'm going to bottle the saison and cellar it for awhile and probably drink it in May.

At the beginning of May, I am going to try to brew a beer that I've recently become fascinated with, which is Kolsch. I hope you're ready for a lesson in beer geek-ery.

Kolsch is a German ale. What? You didn't know Germans made ales? Well, you'd be wrong. Lagering beer is a relatively new phenomenon and unfortunately, their popularity in Germany led to the marginalization of brewers producing German ale. There are still traditions of German ales though and American craft brewers have helped to keep these traditional styles alive. Hefeweizen is probably the most famous/popular and most people are familiar with Dunkelweizen and Weizenbock, probably because Sam Adams brews a Dunkelweizen and Brooklyn Brewery has a Weizenbock.

There are also some interesting, less known styles. There's Berliner Weisse, which is a sour, low alcohol beer served with fruit flavored syrup, and altbier, which is kind of a German brown ale, conditioned for longer than most ales, and using the "old" tradition of using ale yeast. Both are exceedingly difficult to find. Alt isn't usually exported out of Germany and Berliner Weisse is dying out as a style.

There's also Kolsch. Kolsch is a beer brewed in Cologne, using lighter malt and low amounts of hops, and is fermented at normal ale temperatures before being lagered. The result is a beer that an untrained palate might mistake for a light lager, as flavors like apple and wheat are fairly subtle. The beer is traditional served in stanges:

I've only had the chance to try two Kolschs. I had Gaffel Kolsch and Captain's Kolsch from Captain Lawrence Brewing. Both were quite good and I wish I could explore the style more, but alas. Kolsch is a pain in the ass to find.

So, I'm gonna brew it.

I think this is an important part of homebrewing. While homebrewing is cool in the sense that you can get high quality beer by the case load, there's also something a bit more meaningful to it, at least for me. Brewing is a human tradition and it is something that our ancestors have done for thousands of years, and the beer they brewed was different everywhere. It is a sad reality that today, many of these styles of beer are dying out because of aggressive marketing and business practices of big beer. Luckily, craft and homebrewers can keep these traditional styles alive by making them and educating themselves and others about the tradition of real beer.

So, with that in mind, sometime soon I'm going to have to work on a Kolsch. It should be nice and easy compared to everything else. My recipe only calls for 8lbs of grain. It doesn't have some crazy kind of yeast that needs difficult to reach temperatures (ala the saison). It doesn't have to reach a really high gravity like the DIPA needs. Plus, it will be a nice beer to drink through the summer months. I'm going to have to get some stanges so that I can drink them properly, though.

Here's the recipe:

Lonely Boner Kolsch.
5 gallon batch.

7# German Pils. 87.5%
.5# German Light Munich 6.3%
.5# German Light Wheat 6.3%

1 oz 3.8% AA German Hallertau @ 60 min
1 oz 3.8% AA German Hallterau @ 30 min

White Labs WL029 German Ale/Kolsch

Going to mash at 149 degrees. I think I'll ferment it for two weeks at normal ale temperatures then toss it in the basement for a bit to age for a bit.

OG: 1.045
FG: 1.011
ABV: 4.5%
29.3 IBU
2.9 SRM (a little bright for the style)


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