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Pale ale with kolsch yeast

Anyone try this?? how did it turn out? :cheers:

I’ve used Kolsch yeast a couple of times for non-kolsch beers. In general, I’d recommend you avoid it. The flavor profile you get from the kolsch yeast is very delicate, and it won’t be detectable if it has to compete with strong flavors like hops or roasty malts. What will survive into the beer is the low flocculation characteristics. So I would suspect you’ll end up with a beer taste-wise is hard to tell from a beer fermented with an American Ale yeast, but which takes longer to clear.

I’ve used the White Labs German Ale/Kolsch strain twice for a pale ale, and I like the result quite a bit. The first time, I used that yeast with the Kolsch malt available on our host site for the base malt, along with some Carahell malt and some newer generation Hallertau derivative hops from Germany and New Zealand, and it turned out to be the best pale ale I’ve ever made in 16 years of homebrewing, believe it or not. I’m not sure why anyone would want to turn you off from this idea. In fact, after trying the combo for the first time after all those years since I first started this hobby, I found myself wondering why I never tried it before, and why I’ve never really heard anyone else recommend it, either. In my experience, it’s a very neutral yeast that just gets out of the way and lets the malt and hops do the talking. I haven’t encountered any kind of undesirable flavors or aromas from it at all. I highly recommend you give it a shot.

So what would be the reason it is any better for a pale ale than 1056? Both are clean yeasts that let the malt and the hops shine through, but the kolsch is frankly a pain to clear. I’m sure it will make a wonderful pale ale, but I’m just wondering why you would recommend it instead of another yeast that will make equally wonderful pale ale, but is easier to handle.

I’ve been wondering the same thing the OP posted. I like to keep a yeast bank to cut costs (and hey, why the heck not?) But honestly I don’t really need a kolsch more than once a year. So the quandary then is- do I buy a new pack every year? Do I gamble with a year-old slurry?

I’d like to be brewing with this yeast once every 6 months, ideally, just to keep the yeast fresh. I suppose I could just run it through a starter and call it good at the 6 month point.

The White Labs site
http://www.whitelabs.com/yeast/wlp029-german-ale-kölsch-yeast
offers suggestions for other beers that work with this strain. They suggest the following styles: Cream ale, specialty honey ale, APA, IPA, American brown ale,and altbier.

This is a good point - I agree that it’s a pain to clear the yeast. However, it might be worth doing once a year just to see what character you get and to keep the yeast active.

I can’t say that I’ve had any problems getting the kolsch yeast strain to clear. The pale ales I’ve made with it have been maybe a little less clear than beers I’ve made with other yeasts, but by no means cloudy. And I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s a better yeast than an American ale strain for pale ale. I just think it’s worth experimenting with when you just feel like doing something a little different, and I’ve definitely never made a bad beer with it.

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