Kayak Kölsch | Lake Superior Brewing Company

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Kayak KölschKayak Kölsch

Brewed by:
Lake Superior Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Kölsch

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-05-2002

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Reviews: 57 | Ratings: 124
Photo of Tone
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a hazy, gold color. 1/5 inch head of an off-white color. Decent retention and good lacing. Smells of pale malt, hint of sweet malt, hops, slight wheat, and fruit (apple?). Fits the style of a Kolsch. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of strong pale malt, slight fruit, wheat, hint of yeast, hint of sweet malt, and a hint of hops. Overall, not a traditional Kolsch, but nevertheless quite tasty.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Orange gummy bear color with a firm 1 finger head. 60% opaque.

Aromas of cornbread and crisp apples.

Flavor is satisfying...very fresh, minimal biterness, and faint tart fruits. First taste is hay, then baked malts, club soda, bread top, white pepper, and green apple skins.

Feel is crisp and clean, just as it should be. Minimal resin, very clean.

Kayak Kolsch does justice to the style and incorporates its own flair while doing so. Recommended.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours brilliant amber gold under a thin cream colored foam cap.
S: Bread and biscuit aromas, light hops.
T: Bread and biscuit and faint fruit.
F: Crisp, medium light body, medium to medium low carbonation.
O: A very easy to drink beer but some of the German versions of the style have a little more fruit and a slight tanginess that I miss in this beer.

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Photo of Oakenshield53
4/5  rDev +9.3%

This is good beer, y'all. I'm a fan of this style - the fact that wheat beers are not high on my list of favorites makes the kolsch style a good pick in my book if you want German pale ale, and of the kolsches I've had, I like Kayak the best so far.

I get up to Duluth a fair amount, and I generally pick a Kayak as the first beer I have when I'm up there. It's readily available elsewhere, but I save it for the north country.

This is a straightforward brew - pale, uncomplicated and with a citrus tang on the finish, but the middle of a drink of it is nicely full-bodied. You can have three of them in a row, and each time, you'll know you're having a good beer, but not be overwhelmed with too much action going on.

My favorite by far from this brewer. I snowshoed into some backcountry up northwest of Finland, MN last winter, and I had three Kayaks in my pack. I stuck 'em in a snowbank while we got a fire going, and MAN, was that some good beer. I recommend that approach, but it's good any time.

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Photo of MNAle
2.73/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.75

Non-objectionable, nice ale, not bitter at all. Good taste. Easy drinking, good for a summer beer. I can, and do, enjoy a good Kölsch, and I have been trying the locally-brewed versions. This one, while pleasant enough, is not one I would regularly seek out again. Even within the Kölsch-style class, just does not have a lot going on.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Sester stange. Pours a medium golden amber with a fine one finger white head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of sweet malt, clove, light wheat. Flavor is light sweet malt, wheat, clove, light lemon citrus; finishes with sweet wheat and light close, a hint of hop bitterness. Light bodied. A nice, refreshing kolsch style ale with the approprate light malt and spicing. Perhaps a bit sweeter and clove spicy than traditional, but still enjoyable and pleasant.

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Photo of augustgarage
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a generic kolsch glass.

Maize bright clear liquid topped by a thin layer of off white foam. Superior retention, pasty lacing, thin legs.

Lovely (Pils?) malt and light winter fruit in the nose - floral and subtle.

Quite bready/toasty malt profile; apple skins, a hint of honey and butterscotch (not diacetyl), buckwheat, and sweet fermentation notes. Smooth yet crisp finish. Low hops throughout.

Creamy, very light-bodied, yet well carbonated.

Fruity, amazingly delicate malt bill...a fantastic example of the style.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Apricot-golden with a thin white head that lasts well, leaving minimal lacing. It is ever so slightly clouded.
S- Aroma is lightly grainy, a bit musty, not much to it.
T- Has abit of flavor, bright lemon character up front, with some pale grainy character in there. Mild finish.
M- Crisp body, light, but pretty normal for the style.
O- A fairly normal kolsch. It tastes fine and is fairly easy drinking. Not quite as clean as most in the style, but it's decent. Worth a try.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 16oz Pint Glass

Apppearance - Dark Gold coloe with a very slight haze. Quite a bit of carbonation going on upon first pour. The head is around 1 finger in width with an aggressive pour; Head itself disappears fairly quickly and there's very little lacing.

Smell - It's pretty hard to pick up on the smell at first. What I do get is a sweet honey scent along with some yeasts, barley and malts. Neither of these flavor are particularly strong, but there's nothing bad about these smells either.

Taste - Sweet honey along with some yeasty-biscuit notes and some sweet malts to backup the flavor. Much like the smell, none of the flavors really stand out amongst each other but it all comes together to make a pretty solid tasting beer.

Mouthfeel - It's got a slight syrup like feel to it, and it comes off as being both light yet slightly thick at the same time. Carbonation is also fairly subdued, so all of this makes for a pretty smooth mouthfeel

Overall - As a whole, there's nothing really outstanding that I can say about this beer aside from it's honey-like flavor, which could've been a little stronger. As such, it's not outstanding beer but it's still a decent brew.

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Photo of jera1350
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear gold color with a ring of dirty white foam around the outside of the glass. Leaves a few rings of lacing.

Sweet honey scent mostly. Softer scents of biscuit and bread hops.

Clean pale malt up front with some cracker flavors. The back end offers up a mild hop taste. Just a hair of honey sweetness. Very clean, crisp and refreshing.

A bit more than a light body, very crisp with a dry finish.

Very well made Kolsch right here. A great intro to craft for BMC folks too. Very sessionable brew that would be perfect for summer. Not many brewers tackle this style, but I wish they would. Glad to have a local option available.

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Photo of BrewerB
3.93/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed this one on an early-summer trek around the Great Lakes region.

Poured into a Fruh Kolsch stange, this brew is mostly clear and a light gold color. Formed a 2-3 figure white foam that slowly retreated and rested atop.

Crackery malt, floral hop. Bowl of corn flakes. Slight, off-putting musty scent.

Clean, water cracker maltiness. Scant earthy hop notes in the middle and a hint of malty sweet on the end. A brisk, dry, clean finish encourages repeated sips.

Medium-light in body with a bristly carbonation whose effervesce increases the refreshing character of this kolsch-style ale.

Keeping in mind I've had this beer in the fridge for over 6 months, I'd say its held up quite well. The Kolsch style is one we should be consuming rather fresh yet despite its age, this beer is still very refreshing with crisp malty bite, a body that doesn't interfere with the subtle flavors, and a bustling carbonation to perk up your palette.

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Photo of bitterbeerguy
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kayak pours a yellow-orange color, more leaning towards yellow. Small white bubbles permeate draft throughout sipping. Small amount of white head on top of glass as well

Aroma is very typical German-style: grain and yeast. Regretfully there is a musty smell that seems to be most noticeable compared to the other aromas. I think that I let this brew sit too long in the fridge

Taste was refreshing, even for a chilly Minnesota evening. Main flavor is grain, with hint of lemon citrus on back end. No hop character, which is to be expected. Amount of carbonation is perfect for this style of beer- nice mouthful without being overwhelming

Overall, although I think this is a nice brew, it sat in the fridge too long. The musty aroma takes away from the flavor. I think I will table my final verdict until next spring when i can enjoy some fresh stuff.


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Photo of manitouman84
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brew pours a translucent golden yellow with a thin white head. Aromas mostly of grain, noble hop aroma, and notes of grape. Tastes as it smells, I get grain and cereal malt as the base of the flavor, grape hangs in the background, finishes with yeast and very very mild hop bitterness. Feels crisp and refreshing, a light bodied, lightly carbonated, very sessionable brew.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first experience with the style

Pours a medium golden yellow, and hazy but still translucent. The half-finger off-white head dissipates quickly, but leaves some nice patchy lacing and a ring of foam around the surface.

Smell is pretty faint, but what's there is bready malts and a light sweetness suggestive of light fruit.

Taste is, likewise, pretty low-key. There's nothing about it that hits you in the face. But what eventually comes through is nicely balanced and decently tasty. The malts are there mostly as a base. Very little hop presence - just some grassy notes in the latter half of the taste. A faint sour pinch is the most notable thing about it, and makes it a lot more refreshing.

Medium-light body. Carbonation starts out low but picks up mid-way through, giving it more sizzle. Finish is kinda watery.

Nothing jumps out at me about this beer, but I'm really enjoying it. It has a touch of sour, kinda like Bell's Oarsman but less so, that I'm really enjoying on this hot summer day. A balanced, mostly malty, light beer, but flavorful and refreshing.

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Photo of iadler
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Light clear gold with a no head and no sign of lacing. Average looking brew.

S- Some fruit notes upfront with white grape, pear and peach followed by sweet malt.

T- Similar to the smell with some fruit notes including white grape, pear, peach and melon. Some floral notes and sweet malt are present as well. Slightly sour finish.

M- Medium carbonation, light body. A nice crisp finish.

O- A nice sessionable beer for the summer. It's quite different from other Kolch's I've had before, but not bad for the style.

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Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A pleasant light beer with a hint of German character.

Nice light amber color, head dissipates more than some. Quite light bodied as you'd expect. Faint lemony taste but not much aroma. On the tart side. Malt is virtually undetectable and hops are quite modest, so I'd have to call it well balanced.

Very drinkable with a pleasing aftertaste of cereal and citrus. Clean and crisp. The better-than-lager alternative.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on-tap at the Gun Flint in Grand Marais, MN

cellphone notes

appearance: served in a shaker pint, pale golden body, light white crest

smell: grain, lemon, musty

taste: light caramel malt, grain, musty, lemon and honey, bready with notes of light yeast. I'm not a huge kolsch fan and this isn't one of the better ones out there

mouthfeel: light

drinkability: could be sessionable - but i find the grainy finish offputting

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Photo of Parrotbeak
4.12/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy yellow with an amber hue, and a thin white head that fades quickly.
Smell is spiced malts with some hops and barley. Clove, subtle banana, and cinnamon notes in there as well. Little bit of caramel and toffee.
Taste is spiced malts, with a touch of grassy hops. Notes of clove, banana, nutmeg, as well as some brown sugar and raisin. Finish is accompanied by some more spiced malts.
Mouthfeel is crisp and fairly smooth, with a moderate level of carbonation. Finish is fairly clean.
Drinkability is very good. One of the best takes on this style I've had.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The brew arrives a golden brew with only a wispy white head. It looks like a typical Kolsch. A few grainy notes in the nose along with hint of spicy hops. Agile and smooth on the palate, it goes down nicely. A nice combination of fruit and grain in the flavor. Hints of green apple and pear are easily detected. The beer finishes with a little spice.

Refreshing and a little subtle this beer fits in to the Kolsch paradigm well.

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Photo of Chaz
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured chilled from the 'fridge, this one is a lightly hazy amber-golden/straw in color, very much a pale lager to the casual observer. It's topped with an off-white head of good duration, along with more lace than I was expecting (looks like I found myself a fresh bottle for this sample). Very clear, with bigger bubbles loping to the top of the glass it looks like this one has dialed-back carbonation.

Nose is almost bland, with a blend of pale, crystal and a little caramel malt. Lightly musty yeast character, like a young cheese. A lighter clover honey-like sweetness along with a touch of barely-present aromatic hops, and biscuit notes round out the nose, this is an exercise in restraint and better than I'd remembered.

Fruity, pungent, and biscuit-y malt notes bolt out of the gate at first sip, making this 'exercise in restraint' much more than the bland, pale thing it appears to be at first glance! Honey notes noted in the aroma are more prominent here, and augment notes of ripish-pear. Yeast is somewhat-prominent but by no means distracting -- it plays as a counterpoint to the very mild hop bitterness. A lightly-hopped beer like this could easily become too sweet, but it strikes a perfect balance for easy-drinking.

Not the strongest or fullest-bodied beer out there by any stretch, but it satisfies the mouth, coating lightly and filling the palate with a bright and lively sensation. And yes, it's exceptionally drinkable.


Having enjoyed this one on more occasions than I can recall, I'm surprised I can't find notes for it, but am glad to rate and review it here, as it's a splendid interpretation of the style.

It's worth noting that -for as long as I can remember- Kayak Kolsch has been the 'snit' served with the signature 'Big Pickle' bloody mary at Pracna on Main in the historic waterfront district of Minneapolis, and it beats the heck out of Liller Lite(R)! In fact, I would often finish an evening at Pracna with one of these, as it tended to re-calibrate my palate for breakfast the next day (hey, I worked long hours back then.)

I'm very happy to still see this brand around town at retail, as there's no doubt plenty of competition for just such a beer in the marketplace.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A= poursa darker oange color with no head or lacing.... kinda disapointing.
S= malty sweetness with a touch or fruityness. Not too bad just not that complex either.
T= yeasty up front with a nice fruity middle. Some apricots or peaches are in it. The finish is sweet and refreshing. A little bready and buttery.
M= low carbonation and medium body.
D= pretty decent session beer. Good summertime brew. This is the first of the style I've had and I haven't heard many good things about the style but this is ok. Not amazing or blow you away at all but a little different and refreshing.

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Photo of BDLbrewster
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz. into my Horny Goat pint glass. Vibrant yellowish-orange hue with a weak head that dissipated quick not leaving a whole lot of lacing. Smells fresh and lemony, not a very powerful scent but still nice. Smooth and fresh tasting with very little aftertaste. Very tiny amount of hoppy bite on the front with a slightly fruity back. Not very complex but kolsch is not the wildest variety of brew. I like it a lot, perfect session beer for a hot summer day.

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Photo of hardy008
3.57/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours an almost perfect gold color with a 1 finger foamy white head.

Smell - Yeast, malt, and sweet fruit.

Taste - Sweet,with the taste of oranges, lemon, and malt.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. I could see drinking several bottles of this. It would make a nice session beer.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.76/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz. poured into hefe glass

Appearance: Clear yellowish gold with hardly any head but lots of streaming bubbles.

Smell: Berries and caramel mix with a strong biscuit smell.

Taste: Brown sugar, apple, and caramel, slightly floral, not a whole lot going on.

Mouthfeel: Very light and highly carbonated. Quite refreshing.

Drinkability: Perfectly sessionable, crisp and refreshing and low in ABV.

Overall: Aroma and taste is a little muted but it truly is refreshing. I could see enjoying this all day long during a hot summer.

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Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this from beerbeagle in the favorite local beer and glass, BIF. Thanks, Randall.

Perhaps my second least favorite style as a rule, this was a darn good kolsch.

Clear golden with a thin white head and a bit of nice lacing.

Smell is lightly malty with a moderate fruity note (apricots, maybe pineapple).

Taste is a bit spicy, a bit sweet.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light. Very nicely drinkable. I enjoyed this one a lot.

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Kayak Kölsch from Lake Superior Brewing Company
3.66 out of 5 based on 124 ratings.
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