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 Greggy
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A- Poured into my strange. Leaves a nice thick head with nice peaks and valleys. Lacing is present. The body is yellow with a touch of very fine sediment.

S- Classic kolsch on the nose. Nice hop edge with the distinct mineral note that I find in kolsch beer. There is also a nice sweet malt in there two. Smells very fresh.

T- Starts out with a whack of balance hops followed by nice citrus notes of lime, slight lemon, a nice graininess with a slight note of honey. The finish is mostly a graham cracker note with the slightest dry hop feel. Very true to the style.

M- Nice carbonation stays in the pocket for the style and from first sip to finish, very authentic feel.

D- This was a real shocker for me. I was really impressed by how true this kolsch is to the style. I will definitely have this again.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.23/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours a semi-cloudy golden orange color with a large creamy white head. The aroma is malty with some tangy untertones. The taste is quite pleasant. Orange with some nice tanginess. The mouthfell is medium-light bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a might fine brew. It is a lot tastier than I had anticipated, and quite relaxing.

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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 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 pweis909
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, golden, with white head, about 1.5 cm. The head dissipated mostly, with the foam lacing the glass. Spicy noble (?) hops, some malt, and a wee bit a of fruitiness to the smell. My wife placed the fruitiness as apricot, seemed about right to me. A pleasant sweetness comes through in the taste; bittering is light. This is the sort of beer I would like in my mouth on a warm day. One pint went down so smoothly.

I've only had one other kolsch-style beer (also not a "true" Kolsch), so I can't say one way or the other whether it's true to style. I just liked it.

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

Pretty clear..Big white frothy head…mildy fruity (melons)…soft fruitiness on the aroma…nice flavor…fruity with a crisp maltiness….almost a hint of honey/vanilla to the taste…medium bodied and smooth….

Damn nice beer….refreshing, clean, a nice tasting Kolsch…seems very fresh…

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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 Metalmonk
4.04/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a disappointingly thin head that all but disappears, and fast. Color is a coppery dark golden color, just a few shades lighter than your average lager. A smattering of bubbles work their way up the glass slowly.

Light aroma delivers a nice maltiness, very bready, a small hint of honey in the background. An overall fresh and lively aroma.

This is as full-bodied and full-flavored a Kolsch as I've come across. Honey, wheat bread, orange marmalade, flowery hops...nice crisp body to go along with it. Interesting orange-y aftertaste that I kind of like...and a sticky finish that I'm not sure about, but it helps give this more character in any case.

Very easy to drink, very easy to like. A solid brew for summer sipping, just a little bit different than many typical summer beers, yet nothing that strange either. I'd easily have another if I had another. Thanks to mnwags for this bottle.

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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 sacrelicio
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Kolsch...uncommon. This is one style that intrigues me because it is so difficult to pin down. It is a light, refreshing ale that is different from other light, refreshing ales in a way that is so difficult to determine.

Anyways, this kolsch is pretty good. It pours honey-gold with off white foam and a bit of lacing. Kind of apple juce colored. Or honey.

The smell is so unusual. It smells malty, but almost in a flowery sort of way. And grapes? Cheese? Sourdough bread?

Taste is unprecedented as well. Its an ale that drinks like a lager, sort of. The taste is sort of apple fruity, crackery, grassy, wheaty, and sour. Almost like a beery champagne? Chlorophyll? Spritzy and bitter, too, like club soda. And herbs, lots of herbs and vegetables. Oh, and some acidity, too. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is light and dry, dry, dry.

This is a very drinkable beer, as well.

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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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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 hanco005
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Trying to keep it local, I saw this and thought I would give it a try. My first of this style and first by Lake Superior. 12 oz bottle, no dates or markings, into a pint glass.

A—pours a clear yellow orange with a ½ inch white head that quickly fades down to some scatter bubbles that float on top, laces in scattered sheets

S—a honey lemon scent is strong, sweet candy, some mild floral tones, but the sweetness dominates everything

T—fruity, banana, some hop bitterness, but mostly sweet, a little bready, sweet to start, then turns mildly bitter with the finish.

M—smooth and mellow, medium bodied, a little flat with the carbonation

D—overall, it is good. I can see this as a summer quencher by the pool. Very drinkable.

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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 aquilontendants
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

It has been a very cool minute since I have done a beer review and all this new beer sunday stuff got me ready to do a review after what has been about 2-3 months.

I am drinking Kayak Kolsh thanks to my friend who goes to Minnesota on vacation and brought some back. Poured into a straight kolsh-style glass.

I love the appearance of these beers. Especially when it is 70F outside and barely a cloud in the sky. Wonderful, slightly bronzed, golden color shines with the suns help. Great white frothy head about two fingers thick disepates to a fine line after a short bit.

I am now smelling the beer 5 minutes after it has been poured and crisp faint smells enter my nostrils. When the beer was first poured, it did smell very good. Smells very close to Kolsh beers I sampled in Cologne before. This style always seems to have that crisp scent, slight hop fragrence, and Lake Superior does a decent job, although the good smells vanish as the beer goes down.

I am not good at putting taste into words, but this beer is crisp and very easy drinking. Good solid flavor that doesn't bother at all. Ever so slight hop bitterness with the malt flavors dominating slightly. Once again, I have had the lucky chance to drink some good fresh Kolsh in Cologne and this one compares nicely. Just not as fresh. This interpretation might have a little more maltiness to it, but it in no way makes this a bad beer, better than most american Kolsh's. Goes down the throat easily and leaves a good taste on the tounge.

The mouthfeel is pleasant. Could be a tad "fresher", more crisp, but the overall mouthfeel is pleasing.

I could drink many of these, especially in the environment I am in right now. Good daytime beer. As I try to take large gulps to taste the flavors, I realize this beer is close to gone, not a bad thing. Good american-style Kolsh.
I have a digital camera, so maybe I will get a picture of this beer for the web-site in the future.

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy gold color with a small creamy white head. Smell is a very light floral hops, and even light malt scents. Taste is extremely light on the palate, never challenging, and very smooth. Lemon lime sodaesque, with some grainy heartiness. Good for summer, I am sure, even though it is February.

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Photo of alexgash
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another "better on tap beer than in the bottle." Pours a light hazy golden straw with a puffy cloud white head. Smells of apple tart malt, complemented by mellow hop overtones. Taste is juicy, slightly tart apple fruitiness, but light--not verly sweet or fruity. Hops come in for balance and add a nice floral bitterness. Surprisingly not too light bodied, with refreshing carbonation and a nice spring/summer ale.

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Photo of supercolter
3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good solid brew with no frills. As the previous reviewer noted, its nothing fancy. However, it is a solid brew.
A- kinda weak, not an impressive show here. No lacing or head at all.
S- Pretty good some dry fruits and weak smell of hops.
T&M- nice and smoothe, thicker and refreshing, not overpowering in any category.
D- Very nice.

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