Mr. Nick’s Homebrews: Kölsch

Mr. Nick (that handsome fellow I share a last name with) is here to talk about home brewing!
I know I’ve mentioned it before, but he’s been brewing beer at home for a while now and we’re finally ready to share it with you. (Meaning we finally got off our butts, took some photos and sat down to write this post.) Love this guy.
Before I knew anything about homebrew, beer seemed like something you needed a roomful of stainless steel pipes and tanks to make, as well as a dedicated brewmaster (who attained such status after a lifetime of devotion).  Clearly not the sort of thing you could make at home.
Wrong.  Not only can you make it at home, it is absurdly easy to do so.  I’m brewing beer right now.  In a plastic bucket.  In my closet.
Most people get started with a homebrew kit.  These typically have all the ingredients you need, except a few special pieces of homebrew equipment (but a homebrew set-up can be had for just over a hundred bucks).  Most of the fermentable sugars in a homebrew kit come from malt extract, which looks a lot like molasses.
A kit is a good place to start, but brewing from grain is not much harder (and the beer is better, less sugary).  It’s like the difference between a from-scratch cake and baking from a cake mix.
The steps for grain brewing are in the instructions below.  They may be a little intimidating at first, but you’ll have it down by your second batch.  As far as the ingredients, Brooklyn Brew Shop sells one gallon kits (perfect for your stove top).  Another option is to visit your local brewing supply store.  I bought the ingredients for my first all grain batch from Mr. Steve’s in York, PA.  I just gave him the recipe and gave me back a bag of crushed grain, ready for the mash.
Kölsch is a tougher beer to start out on, due to it being a lager and needing to ferment at a cooler temperature (ales brew at 75 deg or so).  Though nothing a little improvisation couldn’t fix – I kept my one gallon fermenter in a cooler with water and swapped out frozen jugs of water from the freezer to keep it between 50-60 deg.
If you enjoy a cold one now and then – and like to make things yourself – give homebrew a try.

Kölsch (4% ABV)
via Brooklyn Brew Shop‘s Beer Making Book

60 Minute Mash at 152 degrees(all grains should be milled)

  • 2 quarts water, plus one gallon for sparging
  • 1.5 pounds German Pilsner malt
  • 0.25 pound Munich malt
  • 0.2 pound Pale Wheat malt

60 Minute Boil

  • 0.3 ounce Hallertau hops, divided into thirds
  • 0.1 ounce Tettnanger hops


  •  1/2 packet German ale yeast, such as White Labs German Ale
  • 3 tablespoons honey, for bottling

In a medium stockpot, heat the 2 quarts water over high heat to 160 degrees F. Add all the malts and stir gently. The temperature should reduce to 150 F within one minute. Turn off the heat. Steep the grains for 60 minutes between 144 and 152 F. Every 10 minutes, stir and take the temperature. If the grains get too cold, turn on the heat to high while stirring until the temperature rises to that range, then turn off the heat. With 10 minutes left, in a second medium stockpot heat the 1 gallon water to 170 F. After the grains have steeped for 60 minutes, raise the heat of the grains-and-water mixture to high and stir until the temperature reaches 170 F. Turn off the heat.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a pot, and pour the grains into the strainer, reserving the liquid. Pour the 1 gallon of 170 F water over the grains. Recirculate the collected liquid through the grains once.

Return the pot with the liquid to the stove on high heat and bring to a boil. When it starts to foam, reduce the heat to a slow rolling boil and add one third of the Hallertau hops. Add a third of the Hallertau hops after 15 minutes, another third after 40 minutes and the Tettnanger hops after 58 minutes. Prepare an ice bath by stopping the sink and filling it with 5 inches of water and ice. At the 60-minute mark, turn off the heat. Place the pot in the ice bath and cool to 70 F, about 30 minutes.

Using a sanitized funnel and strainer, pour the liquid into a sanitized fermenter. Add any water needed to fill the jug to the 1-gallon mark. Add the yeast, sanitize your hands, cover the mouth of the jug with one hand, and shake to distribute evenly. ttanch a sanitized stopper and tubing to the fermenter and insert the other end of the tubing into a small bowl of sanitzing solution. Place the fermenter in a storage area that is 54F, such as a mini fridge or cellar. The solution will begin to bubble as the yeast activates, pushing gas through the tube. Wat 2-3 days untl the bubbling has slowed, then replace the tubing system with an airlock. Wait 3 weeks, then siphon the beer into a second sanitized fermenter (or into a sanitized pot, then back into the cleaned fermenter). Store for 3 weeks at 35F to 40 F (your regular refrigerator should work). fter 6 weeks total, bottle, using the honey. Store the bottles in your refrigerator, unless you decide to drink it all right away.

3 Responses to “Mr. Nick’s Homebrews: Kölsch”
  1. Nice post you guys….I know Papa Bill enjoys your creations and says they are better then the commercial beer..keep up the good work.

  2. Erica asks that you try belgian dubble

  3. just discovered your blog via your avocado bread on foodbuzz today and am LOVING it!

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