In Cologne, Germany — Kölsch's origin city and protected geographical indication (PGI) — Kölsch beers are served in Stange: cylindrical glasses holding 0.2 liters (~6.76 U.S. fluid ounces). The glass above was 12-ounces, hence, freely, a double-Stangen of draught Reissdorf Kölsch, indeed brewed in Cologne.
Top-fermented [ales], Kölsch beers are characterized by a lightly fruity yeast note in aroma and taste, as well as a pleasant hoppy bitterness. [...] Fermentation takes place at a temperature between 15°C and 20°C (59°F and 68°F). The orginal gravity is between 11°P and 12°P, while the alcohol by volume (abv) is 4.8%.— The Oxford Companion to Beer: Oxford University Press, 2012.
I enjoyed this draught pour on a Sunday afternoon, 3 April 2016, not in Germany, but at a pub in Decatur, Georgia, USA, outdoors on its patio.
If it had suffered any deleterious effects from a trans-Atlantic voyage, this draught Reissdorf Kölsch hid them well. It was refreshing and tasty —not with any American-imposed fruit, pumpkins, bourbon, brettanomyces, overdosed hops, or whatever— but with a Continental just-right dollop of yeast-and-hop-derived lemony fruit.
If one would demean such a Kölsch delight as "easy-drinking," to slow down and savor should be the prescription. I didn't engage in the former but, under the vernal sun, I did blithely acquiesce to the latter.
- More beer reviews from YFGF: here.
- The 2016 Beer Style Guidelines newly released by the [U.S.] Brewers Association describe Kölsch this way:
German-Style Kölschs are straw to gold. Chill haze should be absent. Good, dense head retention is desirable. Fruity-ester aroma should be minimally perceived, if at all. Light pear-apple-Riesling wine-like fruitiness may be apparent, but is not necessary for this style. Hop aroma is low and if evident should express noble hop character. Malt character is a very low to low with soft sweetness. Caramel character should not be evident. Hop flavor is low and if evident should express noble hop character. Hop bitterness is medium. Fruity-ester flavors should be minimally perceived, if at all. Light pear-apple-Riesling wine-like fruitiness may be apparent, but is not necessary for this style. Diacetyl should not be perceived. Body is low to medium-low; it is slightly dry on the palate, yet crisp. Wheat can be used in brewing this beer. Kölsch is fermented at warmer temperatures compared to typical lager temperatures but at lower temperatures than most English and Belgian ales, then aged at cold temperatures (German ale or alt-style beer). Ale yeast is used for fermentation, though lager yeast is sometimes used in the bottle or final cold conditioning process.
- Original Gravity: 1.042-1.048 (10.5-11.9 °Plato)
- Apparent Extract/Final Gravity: 1.006-1.010 (1.5-2.6 °Plato)
- Alcohol: by weight 3.8%-4.2%; by volume 4.8%-5.3%
- Bitterness (IBU): 18-28
- Color: SRM 3-6 (6-12 EBC)
- Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of personal photos, usually posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always, with a good fermentable as the subject. Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
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