Snowdrop Kölsch

Kölsch is a great style for mid- to late spring, and I’ve been chasing the perfect batch these past few years. I’ve dialed it in pretty closely, between Kölsch Simplicitas and Kölsch Minimus, two different takes on kölsch recipes that ended up quite tasty.

For 2023, I decided to split the difference between the Simplicitas and Minimus recipes–the grain bill is from Kölsch Minimus, and the hops+yeast are from Kölsch Simplicitas. I liked the blend of Munich and pilsner malt, for its interesting but not overpowering malt character. My previous iteration using the Edelweiss hop blend was also nice, and I had been trying to use them up anyhow. Finally, I was pretty impressed by the Lallemand Köln Kölsch-style dry yeast, and gave it another go on this batch.

The name for my batch–Snowdrop Kölsch–derives from the rare snowfall that hit our part of southern California on brew day.

snow falling with background of green trees
Snow falling in SoCal on brew day

Snowdrop Kölsch

  • 9.5 lb. Pilsner Zero malt (Viking)
  • 0.5 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.38 oz. Edelweiss hop blend (5.1% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 0.25 tsp. BruTanB, 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 5 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Edelweiss hop blend (5.1% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. Köln Kölsch-Style Ale Yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • 1.046 s.g., 1.010 f.g., 24 IBU, 4 SRM, 4.7% abv
  • Full volume mash, 60 minute mash at 152°, 10 minute mash-out at 168°
  • Claremont tap water, adjusted with 88% lactic acid to hit target of 50 ppm Ca, 6 ppm Mg, 84 ppm Na, 30 ppm SO4, 120 ppm Cl, 15 ppm HCO3, -73 ppm RA


  • I collected 7 gallons of water and added 5.85 mL of 88% lactic acid in order to knock out the carbonates. Not further pH adjustments were required, by my calculations.
  • I heated the water to 158° and added the grains, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. I held it here for 60 minutes with recirculation, before elevating the temperature to 168° for a 10 minute mash-out. Finally, I pulled the grain basket.
  • In total, I collected 6.25 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.042, for 70% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the runnings to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled the wort.
  • Upon transferring the wort to the fermenter, I chilled it additionally in my fermentation chamber down to 64° before pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 25 February 2023. It had a starting gravity of 1.050.
  • I fermented the beer at 64° for three weeks, and then pulled it to ambient, where it ranged between 64° and 68°.
  • I kegged the beer on 26 March 2023. It had a wonderful aroma of fresh-mown hay and floral hops in my sample at the time. Final gravity was 1.010, which works out to 5.2% abv.


  • Appearance
    • Nearly brilliantly clear, straw-colored beer, with a white head that settles to a ring around the glass. Very pretty!
  • Aroma
    • Lightly fruity yeast character–very delicate. It has a slight floral hop and a low, malty-sweet character.
  • Flavor
    • Low bitterness, with a fruity, pear-like yeast character evident. Hops have a slight floral quality, as I have noticed on previous batches with Edelweiss hop blend. This exemplifies the delicate qualities of a fresh kölsch, and is simply amazing.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Medium-light body, moderate carbonation, smooth and soft finish.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • I would make this recipe again in an instant! This is, at long last, my absolutely perfect kölsch. It exemplifies the very best, delicate aspects of the style, and is incredibly drinkable. I don’t know that I”ll ever modify the recipe.
  • Overall
  • 10/10