Homebrew Review: Kölsch

Homebrew Review: KolschAfter I got the Spring Lager going, I figured I’d go ahead and try a Kolsch recipe from Brooklyn Brew Shop. Kolsch beers are some of my favorite, so I was looking forward to this, even if it was going to take a lot longer than the normal 6 weeks to get some drinkable beer.

It actaully took about 4 months (April to August) for this to finally get all finished.

The brewing went fine. Nothing out of the normal process. But then I had to lager this sucker for a few weeks in the cool 50-degree temperatures of our basement. And after that a few more weeks taking up way too much space in our fridge. And still after that about 7 or 8 weeks in the bottles (also in the fridge) to get the beer carbonated.

It turned out FANTASTIC, though. Like, easily the best homebrew I’ve made (maybe with the exception of the Bourbon Dubbel, but that took 6 months of aging to get to an enjoyable point). And I’ll definitely be doing this again. I’d really like to do 2 or 3 batches, but 2 or 3 one-gallon carboys in the fridge for 2-3 months and then 27 beers in the fridge for another 2 months probably won’t work out. (Here’s where I wish we hadn’t gotten ride of those two old fridges that came with the house.)

Anyway, the only drawback to the Kolsch was that I had no idea it was going to take some long to carbonate in the bottles. So, after 3 weeks I opened one and it had NO carbonation. I thought, “Hmm, that must be a FLUKE,” so I opened a second one with the same result at which point I figured I’d messed up the recipe somehow. I waited another week and tried one more. Same non-carbonation. And those three that I opened didn’t really taste great. Flat beer is NOT GOOD.

Now, remember, I do small, one-gallon batches, so I only had 9 bottles of Kolsch and now I’m down to 6. I think over the next 2 or 3 weeks I tried 3 more and they were all FLAT. So, dejected, and thinking I’d never get one that was ready, I just let them sit in the back of the fridge for like another month. By the time I tried another one it was August right in the middle of a HEATWAVE.

I pulled one out, expecting nothing, and then: CRACK, SISSSSSSSS. Yes! Success! And perfect timing for late summer. Too bad I only had THREE.

The beer was awesome, probably partly because I’d waited (mostly impatiently) for 4 months, but also probably because it was crystal clear and crisp and a little fruity and really great.

I didn’t share any of these. I’M SELFISH.

I did one more homebrew after this back in April and then I took a break over summer. Mostly because I was depressed about the Kolsch not turning out. So, when they finally worked out and worked out so well, I kind of wanted to start brewing again in late August. That’s why I started back with the Grapefruit Honey Ale and why I’ve done a new homebrew just about every week since then.

And now I can start writing about all those because they’re just starting to get finished up. After the Grapefruit Honey I did the Jalapeno Saison Spicy recipe from Brooklyn Brew Shop. Stay tuned for that write up.