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Beer Style: Kölsch  (6C)
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 US gallons



First, let's look at the style. A Kolsch has starting gravity of 1.040 to 1.046, IBUs of 20-30, and SRM of 3.5 to 5. The Zymurgy description of a Kolsch is: Pale gold. Low hop flavor and aroma. Medium bitterness. Light to medium body. Slightly dry, winy palate. Malted wheat okay. Lager or ale yeast or combination of yeasts okay.

Malts can be U.S. or continental, including a fraction of wheat malt if desired. Hopping should be continental noble hops. The yeast is the tricky part, as to my knowledge there is no available Kolsch yeast. The Goose Island Brewery in Chicago brews a Kolsch using a Kolsch yeast from Germany. The Free State Brewery in Lawrence, Kansas, brews a Kolsch using Wyeast "European" ale. This yeast is suggested by Fred Eckhardt. I've used the yeast from time to time and think it's a great yeast, so use this in preference to any generic ale yeast.


  • 6 pounds, U.S. 2--row malt
  • 1 pound, Vienna malt
  • 1 pound, wheat malt
  • 1/4 pound, light crystal malt (10 L.)
  • 1 ounce, Hallertauer (2.9% alpha) (60 minute boil)
  • 1 ounce, Hallertauer (30 minute boil)
  • 1/4 ounce, Tettnanger (3.8% alpha) (15 minute boil)
  • 1/4 ounce, Tettnanger (2 minute boil)
  • Wyeast European ale yeast

Click to Print Recipe


I'm assuming 80% extraction efficiency. The hop schedule broadly follows the German method, and you can substitute Perle or Spalt, and mix and match however you want.

Following Fred Eckhardt's description of Widmer's mash sequence, mash in at 122 degrees F and hold for 30 to 45 minutes, and then raise to 158 degrees F for starch conversion. Following conversion, raise to 170 degrees F for mash out and hold for 10 minutes.

Primary fermentation should be done in the mid-60s. This beer benefits from cold-conditioning, so rack to secondary and "lager" at 40 degrees for a couple weeks.