Shortly after my first BIAB batch of Kölsch, I brewed another. This was the first time I had done this. I enjoyed the beer and so did everyone else, and that was the problem. After the Karneval party, I was pretty much all out. The only sensible thing to do was to make more.
My only issue with the first batch was that I thought it was slightly too bitter. For the second batch, I added more hops, except I used less of the higher alpha acid Pearle hops and a lot more of the extremely low alpha acid Hersbucker hops. This cut off about five IBU.
If you look at the recipe for the first batch, you’ll notice that I used odd amounts of DME. That was because I was still honing my BIAB method and wasn’t sure what kind of efficiency to expect. I just checked the gravity after the mash and added as much extract as I needed to hit the OG I was looking for. For this batch, I decided to use more standard amounts and add water after fermentation to hit the ABV I wanted, knowing that I’d overshoot it.
This is probably a controversial practice among homebrewers and craft beer drinkers. I can honestly say that this was the best batch of Kölsch that I have brewed, though. I don’t find that this practice, sometimes referred to as high gravity brewing, causes any problems unless you are making a hop forward beer. Adding water will kill your late hop additions, but since Kölsch doesn’t have any and I wanted as big a batch as possible, I went for it.
The full recipe is at the bottom of this post, but since this is not much different from the batch I posted about yesterday, I’ll fill this post out with some of my experiences from the short time I spent in Cologne.
In May, 2012, Amy and I went on the best vacation ever. We started with a few days in Cologne, then went to Prague and then Munich (which I mentioned in my N.E. Maibock post). We stayed in a four star hotel in Cologne that Amy got us a ridiculously good deal on. On our first day, we wandered around the Dom and the surrounding area. There was an archeological dig going on in the middle of the city where they uncovered Roman ruins.
In the evening we got to go inside the Dom and see some of the multitude of amazing stained glass windows. The Dom, or Cathedral, is one of the few structures that was not bombed during World War II. It wasn’t spared because of it’s historical or religious importance or it’s beauty, but mainly because it was a landmark on the Rhine River that pilots could use to orient themselves.
We had dinner at Früh Am Dom. This looks like a small brewpub from the outside, but in reality it stretches straight back through several small rooms. In addition, there is also a downstairs. It is a little more open and the kitchen is visible in the downstairs seating area. This is where we chose to eat. Cooks were chopping meat and vegetables behind a partial glass barrier and we got to watch all of the food leaving the kitchen.
The beer was served in the traditional way for Kölsch, .2 liter (about six and a half ounces) stange. A stange, which translates roughly to “rod,” is a straight cylindrical glass. Kölsch is meant to be enjoyed cold, which is the reason for the small serving size. Servers continually walk around with trays full of stanges. They stop at every table, swap out any empties and put a hash on peoples’ coasters to mark how many they’ve had. You have to let them know that you don’t want more by putting your hashed coaster on top of your stange or you will keep finding full beers on the table.
I will post tomorrow about all the Kölsch varieties I tried on the trip and about my latest, all grain batch. Here is the recipe for Amy Ni-Kölsch batch 2.
Style: 6C. Kölsch
Brew Date: 3/5/2013
Serve Date: 4/10/2013
5 lb German Pilsner Malt
3 lb Pale DME
1 lb Bavarian Wheat DME
60 min 17 IBU German Pearle .75 oz
60 min 6 IBU Hersbucker 1 oz
20 min 5 IBU Hersbucker 1 oz
White Labs WLP029 – German Ale/Kölsch
Brewed to slightly higher ABV, boiled water added at bottling to bring to final strength.