So I really should know better than to get involved in a discussion about whether Kölsch is an Ale with these people. They've read that top-fermented = Ale. Try telling them any different and see what shit you get thrown back at you.
As I've said before, lots of things annoy me. Calling German top-fermented beers "Ales" is one. Why does it irritate me so much? It's an example of nailing Anglo-American terminology onto a foreign beer culture. Like reducing Czech beer styles to Bohemian Pilsner. It's lazy, sloppy and rather condescending.
German top-fermented beers have their own, very long history. One that is pretty well totally independent of British top-fermenting beers. By calling them "Ales" a false connection is made. It's not only inaccurate, but highly misleading.
Naively, I tried explaining that Kölsch is an Obergäriges Lagerbier. Top-fermenting Lagerbier in English. What an idiot I am. Evidently that demonstrates just how little I've read about brewing and my total lack of practical experience. Silly me. All those German brewing manuals must have just been a dream.
I do my best to respect different beer cultures and not to impose my own systems of classification and terminology on them. Lagerbier has a couple of meanings in German. Just how much the Homebrew Twats know about German beer is evident by the fact that they are clearly unaware of one of them. Here they are:
- - beer which has undergone lagering, i.e. a long period of cold storage where the temperature is gradually reduced to around 0º C.
- - a bottom-fermenting beer of around 12º Plato
There's a reason why they produced top-fermenting Lagerbier in Cologne: their Reinheitsgebot. No, it's not the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot. Cologne had a quite different law. There it was forbidden to brew bottom-fermenting beer. If you wanted to produce a Lagerbier - which as the 19th century progressed more and more breweries wanted to - then you had to top-ferment it. But, if you'll excuse my French, that doesn't make your beer a f*cking Ale.
If you've been paying attention, you may have noticed that, in addition to Obergäriges Lagerbier and Untergäriges Lagerbier, I've mentioned a third type. You don't remember? It was in one of my many translations of "Die Herstellung Obergähriger Biere". Where it describes the practice of, during years when there was little natural ice, mixing top-fermenting and bottom-fermenting beer. Of course the Homebrew Twats will never had heard of it. For a couple of reasons. They've read no German texts nor anything earlier than Charlie Papazian.
Let's see how Dr. Franz Schönfeld categorised top-fermenting beers in his definitive "Die Herstellung Obergähriger Biere":
I Lagerbier ähnliches Bitterbier
II Grätzer Bier
III Süßbier - Einfachbier
IV Berliner Weißbier
It seems pretty clear that the German types are not classified as Ales. Who am I to argue with Dr. Franz Schönfeld?
I try to use the word "Ale" carefully. Basically for those beers that are called Ales by natives of the country in which they originated. British, American, Irish and Belgian top-fermenting beers. That seems reasonable enough to me.
Now if I were to be a real pedant, I'd start getting funny about calling Porter, Stout and even Pale Ale "Ales". They're Beers, not Ales. But I've given up on that one. I'd spend the whole of my life arguing about it. And I have better things to do.
That's why I shouldn't have got involved in arguing the toss about Kölsch with Homebrew Twats. It's a waste of my time. They know all the answers. No amount references, history or logic will convince them otherwise.
How do I know this? I've argued with some of them before. Porter and Stout is a good example. I supplied 150 years worth of evidence showing no difference between the malts used in Porter and Stout for any given brewery. Did that convince them? Don't be stupid. Their homebrewing books said something different. They didn't have a scrap of evidence to support their point of view, but that didn't matter. They had something far more important: belief.
Why does this stuff upset me? Because the Homebrew Twats aren't just keeping this misinformation to themselves, they're actively propagating it. Building a giant edifice of beer "knowledge" without the slightest factual foundation.
OK. Rant over. Normal programming will now resume.
And before you ask, yes; Altbier is an Obergäriges Lagerbier, too.
*Homebrew Twat - a homebrewer who writes with self-proclaimed authority on a beer forum, whose opinions cannot be swayed by anything as boring as facts and whose faith in American homebrewing texts is absolute.