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German-Style Koelsch

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Location: German
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 5B - Kölsch

Style Description

This is the description of how the German-Style Koelsch style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the German-Style Koelsch beer style.

Traditional examples often display persistent head retention. Small amounts of wheat can be used in brewing beers of this style. Koelsch-style beers are fermented at warmer temperatures than is typical for lagers, but at lower temperatures than most English and Belgian-style ales. They are aged cold. Ale yeast is used for fermentation. Lager yeast is sometimes used for bottle conditioning or final cold conditioning.

  • Body: Low to medium-low. Dry and crisp.
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Malt character is very low to low with soft sweetness. Caramel character should not be present.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Low, and if present, should express noble hop character.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are absent to low, expressed as pear, apple or wine-like attributes when present. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Common Ingredients: Traditional German hops (Hallertau, Tettnang, Spalt or Hersbrucker). German Pils or pale malt. Attenuative, clean ale yeast. Up to 20% wheat malt may be used, but this is quite rare in authentic versions. Current commercial practice is to ferment warm, cold condition for a short period of time, and serve young.
  • Commercial Examples: Früh Kölsch, Gaffel Kölsch, Mühlen Kölsch, Reissdorf Kölsch, Sion Kölsch, Sünner Kölsch

Brewing Properties of German-Style Koelsch

The functional properties of brewing German-Style Koelsch beers as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market.

ABV
The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
4.8 - 5.3%
Bitterness
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
22 - 30 IBUs
SRM
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
3 - 6 SRM
(6 - 12 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.042 - 1.048
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.006 - 1.010

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.

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