Campsite Kolsch: Electric Brewing At The Campsite

by Karl | Updated: September 26, 2021

I’m at a campsite and I am here to brew Campsite Kolsch.

Well, hello from Jordan lake state park, I am going to try campsite brewing. Campsite Kolsch is the name of the game here.

Kolsch, that’s a beer style that, you know, it’s so refreshing. It’s really nice when you’re outside in the sun, sat around the campfire in the evening as well. Just sort of rehydrating campsite Kolsch.

Going to give this a go.

Kolsch Beer Recipe [5 GALLONS]

  • 8 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger
  • 8.0 oz Caravienne Malt
  • 8.0 oz Vienna Malt 1
  • .00 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min
  • 1.00 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] – Boil 10.0 min
  • 1.0 pkg German Ale/Kolsch (White Labs #WLP029)

And I wanted to see how viable it is to actually brew on an electric system when you’re out at the camp site. I did get an RV the powered site here with an electrical hookup that allows me to plug into a 120 volt outlet.

For that I’m using this claw hammer supply controller that plugs into a 120 outlet. My first time using that. And I just run an extension cable over to the power there.

Now, in terms of the practicality of this, it’s not so bad. I’ve got the brew kettle. I’ve got my pump down the bottom there, the controller, that’s it, it wasn’t too much hassle to get this all in the car.

Now, the first thing that I need to do is to get some water in here. Now there’s a water hookup at this campsite as well, but I don’t know the mineral content of that water. So what I did is I took a keg from home, sanitized it, and then just added my regular filtered tap water.

And this keg here is five gallons of that water. So I’m going to get that water into my kettle. Okay. So that is 4.4 gallons of water. I’m actually brewing a three gallon batch here.

So that’s all the water I need. Now to that I have some water chemicals that I’m going to add , some water salts.

These are just my usual mixture of Epsom salt, gypsum and calcium chloride, just to get my water to a pretty balanced profile. So sprinkle those in. And I also bought a little bit of lactic acid. I’m going to use about three milliliters of lactic acid.

That’s what a beersmith thinks I need to get to a nice sort of balanced pH of about 5.2 at mash. In that goes, okay, so now I need to heat up the water. Let’s see how long this takes.

What did you do? Houston, we got a problem. This is the GFCI plug on the claw hammer controller and, uh, it’s not working the reset button won’t work and it won’t send any power to the controller. I understand these things go wrong.

Occasionally I’ve tried to replace it. I had to look and, uh, in Lowe’s and, uh, just online, I can’t find anywhere that’s going to get me one of these locally. So I’m gonna have to replace this by ordering another one on Amazon. So I’m, uh, out of luck at the campsite brewing here.

So we’re going to pack everything up and go with plan B.

Well, it’s not quite as scenic as Jordan lake, but this is the best I’ve got today. At least I’m brewing outside. It’s finally get these grains in mashing today at 152 Fahrenheit. Um, yeah, so my set up here is basically taking the same table.

Um, but now I’m hooked up to my 240v system and controller. That’s still working just great. And this is as far as I can get outside of my brewery, uh, with the cable reaching the controller that is down on the floor now. So brewing outside in August.

Delicious 60 minute mash. Back at the campsite again, already? Continuity error.

Now this beer Kolsch originates from cologne, Germany, and it’s such a qwaffable beer. Ideal for warm and sunny days. It uses ale yeast, but it’s brewed at cold temperatures or fermented at cold temperatures, more like a lager.

So you get kind of the characteristics of lagers and ales. In terms of the recipe that I’m building here, looking for an original gravity around 10 46. So about four and a half percent abv. Let’s go check out the lake while I tell you the ingredients.

The grist is really simple. The basemalt is German to row Pilsner malt at 88%. And then to that I’m adding 6% each of the vienna malt and Caravienna. So for hops, looking for an IBU of around 22. So yeah, I’m reasonably bitter considering the grist of this one.

I’m using Hallertauer for everything. So I will put in a bag of Hallertauer, at the start of the boil and then another 10 minutes to go.

So let me explain how I was going to pull off this campsite brewing. Basically figured that I could mash and boil pretty much as normal using that 120 volt outlet in the campsite there. So that I thought it was going to be the easy part. Um, from there, obviously we need to call the wort down for fermentation, and that’s the part that I was going to kind of use a work around with.

So rather than attempt to use a plate chiller here, or some kind of immersion chiller, I decided instead, but I was going to do was take that keg, where I brought my water from home as my brewing water and use that just to transfer the boiling wort directly into, and then just take it home.

I did that before, when I went down to Hernan’s farm and that actually worked really well, just bringing home a keg full of hot wort, throwing it in my fermentor, and then using my glycol chiller to cool it down to pitching temps. It was a fine plan.

I actually am able to just about reach my plate chiller to the boil kettle outside. So out behind me here, I have some tubing that’s running to the boil kettle, and this is kind of recirculating through the plate chiller right now, just to sanitize everything. And then when the boil finishes, I will move into my fermentor.

For the yeast, I’m using WLP029, that’s German Kolsch ale yeast. I mentioned, I’m going to ferment this a little cooler than your normal ale, but not too much. White labs say that their yeast performs best around 65 to 69 Fahrenheit.

And once you drop below that, says, drop it down to 64 or 63, it doesn’t perform anywhere near as well. So I’m going to go at the low end of that range and go at 65 or 18 Celsius, for my fermentation temperature. Okay. Any heading back home.

Okay, Chris, thanks for coming along for Kolsch beer tasting. I am super excited. I mean, if anything that the head shows me, uh, that this thing is, uh, a nice and active beer. It’s got the nice champagne legs coming up, you know, you can see, you can see the rise of the carbonation. It’s so pretty well.

Let’s give it a try. I got a pretty clean taste to it, incredibly clean. Like the, the, the two notes that I get out of this are, um, there’s almost a citrus, like without, without it being very citrusy. And, but there’s almost like a, it reminds me of like a fizzy lemonade kind of, of feel without having that tartness or that, or that, that super sour note, but it’s just kind of refreshing, you know, the sparkling lemonade almost feel to it.

And the other note that I get, it reminds me of, of the smell of which, I love ,the smell of cut grass.

Like when you’ve just mowed the lawn and the end of the day you sit back and you’ve got that smell of like, satisfaction. Like, this is the perfect thing that I would want after mowing the lawn it’s crisp and yeah, very, very light and refreshing.

So we interrupt this beer tasting for quick commercial break. If you’ve made it this far, I, I want us to tell you that I put together a second channel. It’s all about coffee. So coffee, coffee? Coffee. I drink a pot and a half a day. Wow. I’m subscribing right now. Go subscribe.

Well, you would be one of the few, because this is brand new. I have no, no subscribers, no, no views, but it’s similar sort of stuff to the, the beer stuff that I’m going from, like K cup through to pour over, through to cold brew coffee. Um, so yeah, if you want to check it out, please have a look. The channel name is Keen on Coffee.

But thank you for sharing your expertise and evaluating campsite Kolsch. My pleasure. It’s absolutely delicious. Refreshing. Um, I think I want to move in. I’m not kidding. I brew like this. Like, I, I can’t, I can’t deny.

You move in if you’re going to do all the lawn mowing that you were talking about and that could be arranged. Well, cheers. Cheers.

Original Recipe: How To Brew Kolsch Beer is here.

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