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One of our favorite summertime beers is the German Kölsch style. We like the style so much that we decided to brew one up for the kegerator. Of course, technically it would only be a Kölsch if we brewed it in Cologne, Germany (watch the video for more on that), so we have to call it a “kölsch style” brew.
Kölsch style beers are top-fermented with ale yeast but primary fermentation temps can be as low as 55 degrees F (12.7 C). They're then generally keg conditioned at even lower temps for several weeks.
We got really weird with this beer and decided to split it into two batches after primary fermentation was complete. Half was left as is and keg conditioned as normal. We added fresh cucumber juice to the other half. Why? A local brewery makes a cucumber beer that is absolutely stellar. We wanted to try to re-create it.
As usual, we used Clawhammer's electric brew in a bag system and the entire brew day was filmed. You can check it out below (also, scroll further down for the infusion video as well as complete recipe details).
Cucumber Kolsch Homebrew Brew Day Video
Cucumber Kolsch Homebrew Infusion Video
Cucumber Kolsch Full Recipe Details
Beginning water volume: 7.43 gallons (28.1 liters). We did adjust chemistry.
Pilsner (2 row) Ger (2.0 SRM) (95.2%)
Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) (4.8%)
Pouring grain into our mill to crush it
We mashed at 150F (65.5C) for 90 minutes then brought it up to a boil.
2 oz (56.7 grams) Hallertau at beginning of 60-minute boil.
The day before brew day, we created a 2L yeast starter and let it sit on the stir plate for 24 hours. We used a German Ale/Kölsch yeast (White Labs WLP029) and fermented at 60F (15.5C) during primary. We’re going to do a split batch into two 2.5 gallon (9.5 liter) kegs – one will be pure kölsch and the second will be “dry hopped” with cucumber.
Pitching our yeast starter
Pre-boil gravity - Estimated: 1.043, Actual: 1.048 (we adjusted our efficiency in BeerSmith for future brew days)
Pre-boil water volume – 6.44 gallons (24.4 liters) Actual: 6.50 (24.6 liters)
Post boil volume - Estimated: 6.04 gallons (22.9 liters): Actual: 5.5 gallons (20.8 liters) (we adjusted our boil off rate in BeerSmith for future brew days)
Post-boil gravity - Estimated: 1.048, Actual: 1.053
Volume into the fermenter - Estimated: 5.5 gallons (20.8 liters), Actual: 5.5 gallons (20.8 liters) (we adjusted our trub loss and pump loss for future brew days)
Final keg volume – 5.0 gallons (18.9 liters)