While in Cologne, I was able to try six of the twenty-three Kölsch Konvention official beers. They are all pretty similar, but there were some differences. The six I tried were Reissdorf, Gilden, Früh, Mühlen, Sion and Dom.
Mühlen and Gilden didn’t make much of an impression. It’s been a long time, but I couldn’t tell you anything that differentiated them from the others. Reissdorf seemed to be the one I saw the most locals drinking, especially the younger people. Public drinking is allowed and there were lots of college age kids with bottles of Reissdorf in the streets and on the trains in the evening (and in the predawn morning when we were leaving for Prague). This seemed, not only for that reason, but also because it was delicious and sort of in the middle, flavor wise, of the others to be the quintessential Kölsch.
Früh is Amy’s favorite. It is the most delicate of the beers I tried in Cologne. It seems less bitter and maybe slightly sweeter and maltier. Sion was my favorite at the time, mainly because it was the most different. It is the only one I remember having any hop flavor. Maybe it wasn’t much, but after drinking the others for the last few days, it seemed pretty hoppy. It also came in a very cool molded bottle.
Dom was the only disappointment. I don’t want to lay all the blame on the beer, I only got one bottle. It was out of a cooler but was strangely warm. The beer was skunky and reminded me of a cheap American lager. I’m guessing it was just a bad bottle, though.
For this year’s Karneval Party, I brewed an all grain version of Amy Ni-Kölsch. It is very close to the same recipe from before, just with more Pilsner malt and some wheat malt replacing the DME. Here it is.
Amy Ni-Kölsch 2014
Style: 6C. Kölsch
Brew Date: 1/14/2014
Serve Date: 2/21/2014
Estimated ABV: 4.8% (with water added)
88% German Pilsner Malt
12% White Wheat Malt
60 min 24 IBU 1 oz. German Perle 7.8% AA
15 min 6 IBU 1 oz. German Hallertauer 4.1% AA
White Labs WLP0029 – German Ale/Kölsch
19 quarts of water at 163º added to malt to get temperature of 152º. Held for one hour.
Sparged with 170º water to get seven gallons over one hour.
One hour boil and then cool to room temperature as quickly as possible.
1/14 – Ferment at room temperature until active fermentation dies down, 7-10 days.
1/21 – Rack to secondary, top up with boiled and cooled water to achieve 4.8% ABV and move to basement to age at lagering temperatures.
2/7 – Bottle.