Saturday, 30 July 2011


Kölsch, or Koelsch if you're not into umlauts, is a traditional beer of  Cologne, Germany.  I've heard it described as a half-way house between lager and ale, in that it uses pilsner malts, like a lager, but it is fermented at warmer temperatures more like an ale.

This is a bit of a departure for me, and comprises a number of firsts in my brewing career: the first time I've used Pilnser malt, the first time I've used just noble hops, the first time I've used a Wyeast smack-pack of yeast - in fact the first time I've brewed something which isn't a true ale.

My inspiration for this recipe is to make something my brother-in-law will appreciate at Christmas - he's a fan of his lagers, so I'm hoping the pilsner malt, noble hops and Kölsch yeast will make something he likes.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Yeast Washing

After primary fermentation of my Christmas Ale, I wanted to recover and store the yeast sediment for use in a future brew.

I'll detail the process, but it's the first time I've tried this, so if anyone can tell me where/if I'm doing things wrong, leave me a note in the comments at the bottom of the post.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Cascade Amber Ale - "Promised Lightning"

After brewing this year's Christmas Ale, I was left with 70-odd grams of Cascade hops.  After reading that it's Cascade that gives Sierra Nevada Pale Ale its aroma, I thought I'd brew up a pale ale to use them up.

This isn't supposed to be a SNPA clone at all, just something nice and hoppy.  I'm using a bit of Munich malt to supplement the grain bill too, for the first time.

The yeast is a starter I've been culturing from the dregs of a few bottles of Hop Back Summer Lightning.  Reculturing yeast from bottle conditioned beers is something I'm going to try to do more, because it's cheap, and I get to call the drinking of the beer "research".  Yum.

I'm calling it "Promised Lightning" because of the Golden Promise malt and the Summer Lightning yeast.  Also, it's more like an Amber than a Pale.

Anyway, here's the recipe:

Christmas Ale

I found a Christmas Ale recipe on the BrewUK forum (link). It was an extract recipe, but it piqued my interest and I thought I'd have a go at an All-Grain version.

I'm getting this done in the summer so that it has plenty of time to condition in the bottle before Christmas.

I decided that I'd scale the strength back a bit - the expected 8% - 9% abv was a bit stronger than I'd prefer.