Kölsch vs International Pale Lager: Side-by-Side

sensory analysis Nov 11, 2022

In this episode of the Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series Advanced Cicerones Chris Cohen & Scott Fielder sit down to taste and discuss the differences between classic BJCP commercial examples of Kolsch and International Pale Lager. We went with Reissdorf Kolsch vs. Asahi Super Dry. These are both widely available, so you should be able to do this one at home.

These beer styles feature several similar characteristics, they're both pale and well balanced beers that are lagered, though kölsch is fermented with ale yeast while International Pale Lager is of course made with lager yeast. The defining difference between these two beers is just what you may expect considering the different yeast species — the kolsch has a fair amount of fruity esters like red apple and pear, as well as a floral noble hop aroma. The International pale lager has a cleaner yeast profile and no hop aroma. Both have a low level of bready malt. The lager comes across as more crisp and finishes a touch drier than the ale. This is a tough comparison to nail blind, but it really shows the difference between what ale and lager yeast strains do! As usual, never rely on visual cues.

The Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series, we compare similar classic styles, discuss them, & provide tips for how to pick them apart in a blind tasting. This is all about helping you pass the Certified & Advanced Cicerone exams. Tasting blind is HARD, we're here to help!

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sensory analysis