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Home Brew Beer Recipes - Partial/Extract
Beer Brew 1 - Hubert's Belgium Trippel
  Beer Brew 2 - Straw Dog Kolsch

  Beer Brew 3 - Blow My Windmill Pilsner
  Beer Brew 4 - What to Wheat for Dinner
  Beer Brew 5 - Let the Oktoberfestivities Begin
  Beer Brew 6 - Belgian Battleground Ale
  Beer Brew 7 - Pablo's Kolsch
  Beer Brew 8 - Belgian Golden Ale
  Beer Brew 9 - Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer
  Beer Brew 10 - Appalachian Pale Ale (OAPA)
  Beer Brew 11 - Appalachian Pale Ale 2 (OAPA)
  Beer Brew 12 - It's Good to be American Pale Ale
  Beer Brew 13 - Another Munich Beer Tent Brau
  Beer Brew 14 - Up Under Australian Lager
  Beer Brew 15 - Monks Gone A Rye Ale
  Beer Brew 16 - Trouble With Belgian Dubbel
  Beer Brew 17 - Hubert's Belgium Tripel 2

About Kolsch Home Brew Beer

This is a Kolsch beer produced by the Reissdorf Brewery in Cologne, Germany.The Kolsch style of beer comes from the German town of Koln (Cologne), where it is written as Koelsch.  This beer is has a yellow straw color.  It is somewhat hoppy, but not as bitter as the typical German pale lager. 

Kolsch is top-fermented at a temperature of 55 to 70 degrees (warm fermented), and then cold-conditioned (lagered).  The popularity of this beer didn't rise until the 1960s, as bottom-fermented beers were the norm for hundreds of years.

According to Kolsch Convention of 1986, it is not permitted to brew the beer outside the city of Colgne, though there are several German breweries that do produce a Kolsch style beer.

Hops Used

Bittering - Perle Pellet Hops – 1 Ounce.

Flavoring - Czech Saaz Hops – 1 Ounce.

How Served

Serve Kolsch at about 45 - 50 degrees F.  The glass of choice is a small one, the cylindrical .2 liter glass, also called a Stange (pole) or Reagenzglas (test tube).  Another "moking" term for a Kolsch glass is the Fingerhut (thimble).  These names were given because, as you probably already know, most German beers are served with huge glasses and mugs.

Tradition has it that when you sit at the bar, the bartender will keep the beer coming, each time with a new glass, until you place your beer coaster on top of your glass, indicating that you are finished drinking for now.

Food for this Home Brew

Enjoy Straw Dog Kolsch with any German food, especially bratwurst and brotchen (bread).  Drink with your fish, shellfish, or pork meal.

Technical Stuff


Styles of Beer
Many have said the taste of beer must be "acquired".  That may be true.  Although factors such as the brewing process and various spices, fruits, etc. play a role, the taste of beer chiefly comes from the malt and water used, esters (or lack of) from the yeast, and the hops.  And, it's the hops that people are inherently tasting when we say beer is an acquired taste... more

Choosing the Right Beer Glass

Home Brew Websites

Find a Beer Brewery

Home Brew How To: Brewing Beer

Discover the wonderful world of home brew.  If you've ever wanted to brew at home, but didn't know how to get started, this website serves to provide information on how to make home brew beer and the home brew process.  Get recipes for home brew beer, and step-by-step instructions on how to home brew beer.  No detail has been left out. 

Every new home brewer is going to need a basic set of brew equipment.  Read about all the home brew supplies available and typically used within the hobby.  Get information about home brew kits - one of the first purchases you'll make.  Find your local home brew stores and shops

You'll find that most beginners use bottles for their home brewed beer.  But, as you advance your knowledge and experience in brewing beer at home, you'll likely want to move away from bottling to kegging your beer.  Learn about the various home brew kegs and kegging systems.

Get answers about the home brew system, the best home brew kits, all the different pieces of home brew gear, and even where to obtain beer labels for your bottles!

Our Favorite Brew Supply Store
If you live in Western North Carolina, we highly recommend you visit the guys over at Asheville Brewers Supply!


Our Favorite Commercial Beers
Chimay Trappistes
Any of the Belgian Monk beers brewed within the walls of the Trappist Monastery and controlled by the International Trappist Association.  World renowned beers that are considered by us among the finest brews.

RJ Rockers
Great beer, brewed in a fashion familiar to any of us who have served with the Army/Air Force in Germany during the Cold War.  Love the new Pint Glass they sent me recently.  Ummmmmm!

BrandBrand Bier - The Brand Beer from The Netherlands.
While stationed in The Netherlands, this was the more popular beer, after Heineken.  In our opinion, it is a far better brew than the big "H" beer!  Unfortunately, Brand beer is not available in the United States.


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Beer Brew 2 - Straw Dog Kolsch

July 25, 2014 by Rick Morris:

Recipe for this German Kolsch Home Brew

1. Briess Pilsen Malt Extract – 3.3 Pounds
2. Briess/Northwestern Gold Dry Malt Extract – 3 Pounds
3. Crushed Grain, Kolsch Blend (.5 German Pilsner Malt + .5  Vienna Malt) – 1 Pound
4. Perle Pellet Hops – 1 Ounce
5. Czech Saaz Hops – 1 Ounce
6. White Labs German Ale/Kolsch Yeast WLP0029 - 1 Vial
7. Corn Sugar - 1/2 cup

February 2012 - The first thing we do before any beer brewing process is get everything cleaned. That means we wash all beer-brewing equipment with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Then, we sanitize. Using Easy Clean, a no-rinse powder cleanser (1 tablespoon dissolved into 1 gallon warm water), we dip our brew pot, brew utensils, hydrometer, thermometer, etc. to sanitize everything.

We also took our White Labs Homebrew Liquid Yeast out of the fridge. It's a German Ale Kolsch Yeast, and like all brewer's yeast, needs to reach room temperature before pitching into the wort.

The first step for our 5-gallon batch of Kolsch Pilsen beer is to prepare 2 gallons of filtered water. By preparing, I mean we put that amount into our 5 1/2-gallon stainless steel brew pot over medium heat. We obtained our water from the filtered water coming from the refrigerator.

Getting filtered water from the fridge for my Kolsch style home brew beer.  Use a beer thermometer to steep the grains... the first part of brewing a Kolsch beer.

You may want to purchase your own filtered water. But, we find the local water from the Blue Ridge Mountain area, when ran through a filter, makes for a perfect home brew. As water is one of the four main ingredients in beer, you'll want to use only the best.

And, depending on what part of the world you are located, you can brew varying tastes of beer using the same recipe. So, use the best water you can find for your home brew.

We placed our crushed grain mixture, conveniently packed into a cheese-cloth boiling bag, into the warming filtered water. The idea is to bring the temperature to 150 – 155 degrees F. Once there, we let the grain steep for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The purpose of steeping grains is to add color, body, and that genuine Pilsner flavor to your home brew.

Important: Though we didn't do it here, we have since learned not add the grain bag until the temperature of your water has risen to, and is holding steady at 150 - 155 degrees F.  Why?  Well, if you forget about monitoring your water for a few minutes, you can always adjust for temperatures higher than 155 degrees F. (by cooling, obviously).  If the grain bag was placed in the water as the temperature was rising, and you step away for a minute, the grains may accidently steep at a higher temperature and produce off-flavors.

   Monitor the temperature of the steeping grain and keep it around 155 degrees.

After the grain steeped, we carefully lifted out the grain bag, let it drain for a few seconds, and then placed it into a clean, sanitized bowl. We'll be using the remnants of the juice later.

After steeping the grain, place the bag in a bowl and save for later.   The grain bag is resting in a bowl.  We will pour the juices back into the brew half way through the boil.

Turn the heat on high, and bring the temperature to a near boil. Turn off the heat and add your malts and/or malt extract. Stir constantly when adding, and be careful for any boil over (that's why you turn the heat off before adding the malt). Lack of stirring will lead to sticking.

Pouring in the malt extract in our home brew.  Here are the ingredients for our Kolsch home brew beer.  Briess Light Pilsen malt extract and Saaz hops are included.

After the extract has been added and thoroughly dissolved, turn heat back up and bring mixture to boil. Once it reaches a rolling boil, start timer. In this batch, our total boil time is 50 minutes. During that time, we will be adding hops. Be careful! During the first 5 minutes of boil, there is a greater likelihood the mixture will boil over. After that, you'll notice the suds reduce to a point where you can actually see the boiling. Place heat on medium and continue boil.

The Perle pellet hops, with their Alpha Acidity of 7.8%, were added after 10 minutes of boil, followed by the remaining juice from the grain/boil bag we saved earlier.

   Adding the bittering hops to the home brew   Adding the flavoring hops to the home brew.

At mid boil (about 25 minutes into the boil), we added the Czech Saaz hops (Alpha Acid of 3.0%). Hops, essentially are bittering agents. They balance out the flavor of beer, making “smooth” beer have more of a bitter taste. In other words, they are used as a stability and flavoring agent in beer.

Topping off our fermentation bucket with cold filtered water to bring the wort up to about 5 1/2 gallons.After 50 minutes of boiling, we took our home brew mixture off the heat. At this point the key was to get the temperature down to about 74 degrees as quickly as possible. This is the temperature required for pitching the yeast. Since this was only our second brew and we still don't have an immersion coil (basically a copper coil through which cold water runs), we decided to try something different... ice.

My fridge has filtered water, so that means the ice is filtered. If you use this method for lowering the temperature of your wort, just make sure your ice box is clean before adding the ice.

We added a tray of this ice (about 5 pounds) to the brew kettle immediately after the 50-minute boil. It dropped the temperature from 215 degrees F. to 100 degrees F. in a matter of a couple minutes. After pouring the brew into the fermentation bucket, we further added cold, filtered water to bring the total brew amount up to 5 and Ό gallons.

We like the extra quarter-gallon because it allows us to leave that amount with the sediment prior to bottling. The added water brought the temperature down to about 80 F. 

Without a wort/immersion chiller, our first batch (brewed 4 months earlier) took three hours to reach 74 degrees F. So, we were happy the wort in this batch cooled to around 80 degrees in just a few minutes. Another half-hour in cold sink water got the temperature to 74 F.

After the temperature lowered to 74 F., we measured the specific gravity to an estimated 5 1/2 % alcohol by content, pitched the yeast, gave the wort a good stir, and sealed the lid. The air-lock went on, and we added some filtered water to it and capped it. We sat the brew on the floor of our living room. Ambient room temperature is about 70 degrees.

Pitching yeast at the crucial 70 - 74 degrees into our Kolsch wort.   With the air-lock in place on the fermenting bucket, we now need only wait about a week before bottling.

The next day, we noticed some initial fermentation. How? The air lock shows movement (bouncing up and down), meaning the CO2 produced during fermentation is escaping. Total time from when we pitched the yeast until the first signs of fermentation was about 15 hours. The temperature gauge (sticker) on our brew bucket showed 67 – 68 degrees F. at the beginning of fermentation, so we decided to move it to a cooler part of the house. Ideally, we wanted to be around 62 – 66 degrees.

About 24 to 36 hours after yeast was pitched, fermentation increased to a point where the air lock was bouncing every few seconds. This very active fermenting went on for about two days before it started slowing. Primary fermentation ceased after about day 6, and the next day we decided to move the brew into a secondary fermentation stage – this time, a glass carboy – to further condition the brew. This secondary fermentation allowed the remaining active yeast to work out any potential off flavors. And, it gave the brew more time to settle, making for a clearer beer.

We had been saving our Heineken, Warsteiner, Bitburger, and other European beer bottles for use in bottling our home brew. But, we were told, thankfully, by our friends at Asheville Brewers Supply that American-produced caps don't seal properly on imported beer bottles. Fortunately, I also had plenty of Grolsch bottles on hand and we used them instead.

What is a Grolsch bottle?  You've probably seen them.  Basically, it's a green beer bottle that comes with a ceramic lid held in place with a wire-clamping system. A red rubber grommet seals the beer, and has to be replaced with each bottling.  The grommets can be purchased for about a nickel each.

Grolsch is an excellent beer from the Netherlands, that I find at our local grocery store. In that they hold 15.2 ounces, our 5-gallon batch could fill about 35 of these bottles.  But, we also just purchased another type of bottle - 1-liter wire-top bottles, which use the same wire-clamping system as Grolsch.  To make a long store short, we filled a case of 12 of these 1-liter bottles, and 12 of the Grolsch bottles.

Just prior to bottling, we siphoned the beer to the racking bucket (simply a 6-gallon bucket with a spigot/tap) and added the corn sugar.  Why corn sugar?  This gives the remaining yeast something to eat while in the bottle, which produces a small amount of CO2.  You know it as the fizz you get when you open a beer.  Without adding a small amount of corn sugar, you would likely get a flat beer.

Next, we gave the brew a good stir and were ready to bottle.  We have a basic bottom filler tube that we used for bottling the beer.  If you just use the spigot you'll find that it creates too much bubbles and makes for slow bottling. 

After bottling, the beers promptly found their way to the fridge, where they rested for about a week before we tried one.  Of course, we poured into a small, cylindrical glass and enjoyed.  It turned out fabulous!  Nice yellow color, enough body, and a slight bitter taste.  It has since become an excellent "after-mowing-the-lawn" beer!

A bottle of Koslch Home Brew   Our firdge full of 1-liter bottles of Kolsch Home Brew Beer!

Second Run

For our second run of Straw Dog Kolsch, we decided we were going to do some kegging.  Another, more important fact we should mention is this beer represents the first in which we are kegging, as opposed to bottling.  That's right, we sacrificed $150 for a kegging system.  Why not?  Bottling takes a load of time and if a batch is under/over carbonated, we would have serious problems in saving the beer.  With a keg, it's simple to adjust carbonation issues.  Another advantage of using a keg instead of bottles is the speed at which the beer can be consumed.  Bottled beer requires at least a week or two to condition and develop enough carbonation to make the home brew consumable.  With kegged beer, our sweet nectar can be enjoyed in as little as a couple days after fermenting has ceased!  More to come on the kegging process for our Straw Dog Kolsch.

Also, our second run started creating some rather interesting off-smells at day 2 of fermentation.  Essentially, the air coming out of the air-lock smelled like rotten eggs.  After a quick research of the Net, we determined that we don't have a bacterial infection - most likely.  Only time will tell.  Most in the industry agree that the smells are a result of the White Labs yeast we are using (WLP0029 German Kolsch Ale Yeast).  It is known for producing off-smells of rotten eggs or sulfur.  These typically go away and leave the brew as a fantastic state.  We'll keep you updated.


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