Monday, August 08, 2011

Saint Arnold Santo: A Black Kölsch?

Sounds interesting. Press release from Saint Arnold:

HOUSTON, August 8, 2011 – What do you do if you brew a beer that doesn’t fit an existing category? You make one up. At least that is what Saint Arnold Brewing Company ( is doing with the upcoming release of its latest creation: Santo. The company is describing its new brew as a black Kölsch – light in body and dark in color. Santo will be available on tap and in 12-ounce bottles sold in six-packs and cases throughout Texas starting on September 1, 2011.

The other big development is Santo’s packaging. Instead of the distinctive image of an outreaching St. Arnold, which continues to grace the brewery’s other beers as it has for more than 17 years, Santo features a design created by Houston artist Carlos Hernandez. His attention-grabbing “Day of the Dead” style artwork depicts a big eyed crowned skull on a bright red background.

“This is the first beer we have ever brewed that started with the packaging,” said Saint Arnold Founder/Brewer Brock Wagner. “The process started over four years ago. We originally commissioned Carlos to design new packaging for Saint Arnold Brown Ale. We loved what he came back to us with, but somehow it didn’t fit the Brown Ale. Thus began our work on creating a beer to fit the packaging, an odd process for us. The final result was a recipe we called a black Kölsch. We’ve been waiting to have the capacity available to brew it and are now very excited to begin drinking it.”

To some in the craft beer community, the black Kölsch concept is an oxymoron, since the Kölsch style is expected to have a golden appearance. However, Saint Arnold’s brewers insist that stretching the boundaries is part of the fun. Besides, despite Santo’s dark appearance, the beer maintains other characteristics of a true Kölsch. Saint Arnold uses the same special Kölsch yeast – an ale yeast that ferments at almost lager temperatures – that is used in Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer. This contributes to Santo being light bodied and floral even though it has a distinctive dark malt flavor.

Santo is brewed using pale two-row and pils malted barley, a dash of malted wheat and an addition of dark malt. Saint Arnold uses Hallertau Hersbrucker hops, added to the brew kettle in four separate cycles to create a delicate flavor and aroma. It has an original gravity of 1.045 (11.4° Plato), bitterness of 15 IBU and alcohol content (by volume) of 4.9 percent.

Santo is the sixth year-round beer from Saint Arnold. It joins Saint Arnold Amber Ale, Saint Arnold Brown Ale, Saint Arnold Elissa IPA, Saint Arnold Fancy Lawnmower Beer and Saint Arnold Weedwacker in the regular lineup.


Bill Shirley said...

Many American breweries have been bending the styles with a 'Black Pilsner' for years.

Jeffrey said...

A black Pilsner is not uncommon. At least in Germany. It's called a schwarzbier.

With the recent rise of Cascadian Ales, or Black IPAs, maybe we could call this a Gulf Coast Kölsch? Or it that restricted to beers made in Köln?