Mamacita’s Dark Kölsch

Mamacita’s Dark Kölsch

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.050  FG = 1.014
IBU = 27  SRM = 21  ABV = 4.7%

An homage to St. Arnold Brewing’s Santo, which was in the brewery’s regular rotation from 2011 until they discontinued brewing it in 2021.

4 lbs. (1.8 kg) American six-row malt
2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) Munich dark malt (20 °L)
2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) Munich light malt (10 °L)
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) flaked corn
3.5 oz. (100 g) Carafa® II (425 °L)
3 oz. (86 g) American chocolate malt (350 °L)
5 AAU Tettnanger hops (first wort hop) (1.1 oz./31 g at 4.5% alpha acids)
4.5 AAU Tettnanger hops (15 min.) (1 oz./28 g at 4.5% alpha acids)
SafAle K-97 or other Kölsch/German Ale yeast; SafLager 34/70 or other German lager yeast; or White Labs WLP 940 (Mexican Lager) yeast
¾ cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Mash in with 4.1 gallons (15.5 L) of water treated to moderate alkalinity at 152 °F (67 °C) and hold for 60 minutes if doing single-infusion mash. If doing a step mash, mash in at 144 °F (62 °C) for 30 minutes and then raise the temperature to 156 °F (69 °C) and rest an additional 30 minutes. Mash out at 170 °F (77 °C) for 10 minutes if desired. Recirculate the wort until clear, add first wort hops to the brew kettle and drain the first runnings into the kettle. Batch or fly sparge to collect 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) of wort, this should take approximately 4.1 gallons (15.5 L) of additional water.

Boil for 90 minutes, adding hops as indicated. Yeast nutrient and kettle finings may also be added, if desired.

Chill the wort to 2–3 °F (1–2 °C) below your yeast’s lowest recommended fermentation temperature and pitch an adequate quantity of healthy yeast (1 packet of dry ale yeast, 2–3 packets of dry lager yeast, or a minimum of a 3-L/3-quart starter of liquid yeast plus adequate oxygen). Let the temperature rise to the desired fermentation temperature, hold until high kräusen or half of extract has been consumed, then let the temperature rise uncontrolled. 

When fermentation is complete, the beer benefits from lagering appropriate to the yeast type, 2–4 weeks for ale, 4–6 weeks if a lager yeast was used. Spund, force carbonate, or bottle condition to 2.5 volumes.

Partial mash option: 
Replace the six-row and both Munich malts with 3.75 lbs. (1.7 kg) of light or Pilsen dried malt extract and 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) light Munich malt.

In order to convert the starch in the flaked corn, use about an equivalent (1.5 lbs./0.68 kg) of light Munich malt. Place both grains in a muslin bag and submerge in 5 quarts (4.8 L) of 164 °F (73 °C) water. The mash should stabilize around 152 °F (67 °C). Try to maintain this temperature for 45 minutes. In a separate small grain bag, add the crushed roasted malts. Steep those in the mash for the final 15 minutes. When one hour has passed, remove both bags, place them in a colander and slowly rinse them with 1 gallon (3.8 L) of hot water. Add water to make 3 gallons (11 L) of wort and stir in 2 lbs. (0.91 kg) of a light or Pilsen dried malt extract and the first wort hops. 

Bring to a boil and boil for 60 minutes adding the second hop addition
for the final 15 minutes along with a yeast nutrient and kettle fining if desired. With 10 minutes remaining, add the remaining 1.75 lbs. (0.8 kg) Munich dried malt extract. After the boil is complete, chill the wort, transfer to your fermenter and top off to 5 gallons (19 L). Follow the remainder of the all-grain recipe.

Recipe Notes:
The name for this beer came from enjoying a beer at Mamacita’s restaurant in Pasadena, Texas that inspired this recipe. I didn’t know what the beer I ordered was, but I was enchanted! I took notes on the flavors (chocolate, malt, breadiness, low to no hop character, some maize flavor, no esters, table strength) and, unfortunately, forgot to ask what the beer was on the way out.

Back in Denver I attempted to reproduce it. The first brew was close, at least to my notes. It was a clean, dark lager, good chocolate notes, perhaps a bit more intense than I intended. I was on the sixth iteration before we were back in Pasadena. It was then that I sat at the bar and chatted with the bartender, eventually figuring out that the beer in question was Santo, a dark Kölsch from Saint Arnold Brewing. This recipe is iteration #9 for me, and the first I’ve done with a German ale yeast. Previously I’ve used a Mexican lager strain. Both versions are quite delicious. The key to success is to manage the fermentation well using temperature control appropriate to your chosen strain of yeast and pitching plenty of it.

Issue: December 2021