Black Kölsch?

I’ve just had Tempest’s. It’s been added as a Kölsch. I did a search and those beers with Black Kölsch in their names seem to be an even split between having been added as Kölsch and those added as a Schwarzbier.

I was wondering… what would German Admins do with a Black Kölsch’s style designation?

If we follow German Law it´s probably none of the above.

Kölsch is per definition and law a clear golden brew. So not in this category. But as we at Ratebeer call the category Kölsch / Kölsch-Style and have many way too hoppy American Kölsch styles in here it´s okay to put in there.

Schwarzbier is nowadays bottom-fermented, so no Kölsch in here. But looking back in history there have been Schwarzbier that were top-fermented as most of the beers dating back to the middleages and before Louis Pasteur.

I personally would put it to Kölsch-Style and as if we dont already have too many styles this would nee to be splitted to Kölsch - Traditional and Kölsch - Modern/Black.


I have put black dark Kölsch into Alt in the past. Might also annoy purists, but its not entirely wrong either…

Or should it be Dark Lager - Premium?

(This is in no way influenced by this style being my remaining style tick.)

If we need to be purist, no beer brewed outside Köln should be allowed to be listed as kölsch. So there should not even be a thing like black kölsch. Is it just a black “pale” ale? Why should it be a kölsch?

Only if they say it is bottom-fermented :slight_smile:

Have you tried it - if it is “just” a coloured Kölsch, then Kölsch-style would be ok for me - but if it tastes dark - with roasted malts in the taste, then it is no Kölsch-style any more - probably Alt oder Dunkel… A Kölsch or Kölsch-style beer shouldn’t have roasted flavours in them…

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I just asked our database:
The following “Black Kölsch” are listed as Kölsch and we should look across them to make sure that they are “worthy” to be in this category :wink: (the one mentioned - doesn’t seem to taste like a Kölsch)

(just to name the first few)
–> What should we do? re-classifying most of them as “Dunkel” as they don’t fit into the taste of a classic Kölsch-style brew?? A Kölsch is some kind of Golden Ale with its unique taste - which isn’t there anymore if roasted mats are used - then we have a classic Brown Ale / Dunkel / etc… (in my eyes).

Even if I cringe to say that, but maybe Alt is superior to Kölsch and Black Kölsch is Cologne’s try to copy Düsseldorf’s Alt…

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I am assuming most of them are ales, so they should either be reset to brown ale or Alt in my opinion.

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IBU needs to be the decisive factor.

As per BJCP

Brown ales are 20-30 IBU
Altbier 25-50

I would rather argue that Alt and Kölsch are both top-fermented beers beeing fermented at cold rather than warm temperatures which distinguishes them from most top-fermented beers (like Brown Ales). I would therefore temporarily categorise Black Kölsch as Altbier, especially as IBUs often vary within modern interpretations of styles.

I’m quite sure that very few if no breweries in Köln actually brew a “Black Kölsch”. This is brewers from other countries “experimenting”.

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Thank you.
But since we’re in the DACH subforum, I thought some Colonian breweries began to brew Black Kölsch.
(One thing is sure, at least one brewery from Cologne brews an Alt.)