RateBeer. Wankers. German Ale. You know what I mean.
There was one bloke who got particularly unpleasant and nasty. I had a suspicion that he hadn't been listening to what my argument was, so I asked him this : what did you think the point was I was trying to make?
This is his reply to my mail:
"If I had to reduce your initial posts to a single argument, then I’d say you argued that kolsch was categorically a lager beer. In terms of modern codefied brewing science, this is technically different from saying it’s a lagered beer."
Right. I'd actually been arguing that calling all top-fermented beer Ale wasn't a great idea. He obviously wasn't listening.
His arguments follow. I'll make a couple of observations first :
- he doesn't seem to have bothered to understand what I was trying to say
- he uses the swamp-your-opponent-with-technical-detail that you hope he doesn't understand approach. That's it's all irrelevant to the argument that I was proposing seems to have passed him by.
- when all else fails he resorts to insults
" Wow. This has got to be one of the biggest collections of misinformation I’ve seen in a while regarding Kolsch.Great insult at the end there to one of the best beer writers.
Let me start by stating the following:
Saccharomyces cerevisiae = ale yeast, which is top fermenting.
Saccharomyces pastorianus (aka s. carlbergensis) = lager yeast, which is bottom fermenting.
These are two separate subspecies of yeast and are discrete biological designations. Ale yeasts can ferment cold, but usually perform best warm, about 65-70 deg F on average. On the same note, lager yeasts can ferment warm, but usually perform best at 50-55 deg F on average.
The term lager can be taken to mean the beer was fermented with a lager yeast strain, but in the more general sense, it means the beer went through an extended period of cold conditioning before being served. This period can be from several weeks to several months and varies depending on the style and the brewers preferences.
Kolsch, like altbier is traditionally fermented with an ale strain (s. cerevisiae), but often at lower temps for an ale (60-62 deg F). This reduces the production of esters by the yeast, which is why kolsch usually has just a subtle fruitiness. The long period of cold conditioning post fermentation (lagering) gives the yeast time to settle out and reabsorb may by products of fermentation, leading to a clean flavor profile.
I have been a brewer for over 10 years and kolsch is a style I am very familiar with. The kolsch ale yeasts that are available to most brewers in the US from both White Labs and Wyeast are ALE yeasts. And all the professional kolsch brewers I’ve spoken to from Cologne refer to their house yeast strains as ale strains.
In the colloquial sense, kolsch (and altbier and steam beer) are often referred to as "hybrid" beers because they are fermented outside the typical temperature range for the yeasts used.
There were so many off-base ignorant post in this thread that the world’s supply of kolsch would run out in the time it’d take to address them all. Have any of you bothered to read the BJCP, AHA, GABF, or WBC guidelines for kolsch? Have any of you read "Principles of Brewing Science" by George Fix, Ph.D? Many of the issues that have been brought up in this thread aren’t really debatable - they’re clearly defined scientific/biological terms. If you think otherwise, you might as well start calling it the "theory of gravity.""
"So let me summarize: kolsches use ale yeasts and are fermented on the cooler end of what the yeast will readily tolerate. This leads to reduced ester formation during fermentation, which results in a beer with a mild fruitiness. It is then lagered (cold conditioned) for an extended period (a few weeks to a few months). This allows the yeast time to reabsorb many biproducts of fermentation, adding additional "flavor clarity" to the beer."
"Yes, the top fermenting vs. bottom fermenting thing can be misleading if you don’t have a full understanding of how yeast(s) perform during fermentation. In reality, when yeast are fermenting, they are in suspension, evenly distributed throughout the wort.
When yeast are done fermenting, they all eventually settle out of suspension to the bottom of the fermentation vessel, regardless of whether they’re ale or lager strains. Some yeast strains are quicker to do this than others. But before this settling occurs, ale yeasts generally flocculate at the upper surface of the beer, whereas lager yeasts tend to flocculate in the lower levels in the fermentation vessel. Even with ales, after the yeast flocculates, these dense clumps will settle out of suspension to the bottom of the fermentation vessel.
Grain bills have nothing to do with whether a beer is categorically and ale or lager, neither do serving temperatures. It’s irrelevant how MJ might have colloquially used the term "ale." Scientifically it has a specific meaning. I thought my argument on this was clear.
Are you a brewer?"
"Apologies? A challenge to "conventional" thinking? C’mon, there’s no contrition in this statement. Only more condescension. You’ve made a lot of bold claims in your posts that would purport a technical understanding of beer and brewing science, but are in fact way off base.
A few examples:
1) "Kölsch is top-fermented, but it isn’t an ale because it’s a German beer."
- So a beer can’t be an ale if it’s of German origin. Wow. Do you want me to tell you about the rabbits? WTF are hefes, roggenbiers, and weizenbock, to name a few?
2) "Not even all British top-fermenting styles are ales"
- Thanks for the hot tip. I never would have guessed that Harp Lager was actually a lager.
3) "And exactly what is an Ale? Just any top-fermenting beer? That’s a very Anglo-centric view. "
- WTF are you talking about here? You just wanted to say "Anglo-centric," which by the way is not hyphenated. Your use of the term is nauseating.
4) "Saaccharomyces Cerevisiae does not = Ale yeast."
- Try telling that to a biologist. S. Cerevisiae is necessarily an ale yeast. This is a specific scientific appellation that is not subject to debate.
5) "I’m such an ignorant twat. "
- I wholeheartedly agree.
6) "Why bother reading original source material when modern American homebrewers know so much better."
- I’d be willing to be there are a lot of accomplished homebrewers who do know better.
7) "Yeah, I really need to educate myself. "
- Yes - on how to get laid.
It never helps when people are full of boastful arrogant crap, especially when it has no technical merit. Better "check yo-self before you wreck yo-self.""