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Altbier

Posted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:50 pm
by Natebriscoe
I have never brewed or had an altbier that I loved (tho have not had many commercial examples). It seems like a style I would enjoy, so I will write it off as bad examples for now. Does anyone have a proven good recipe? Or some good commercial examples they would recommend?

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Re: Altbier

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:02 am
by homoeccentricus
Natebriscoe wrote:I have never brewed or had an altbier that I loved (tho have not had many commercial examples). It seems like a style I would enjoy, so I will write it off as bad examples for now. Does anyone have a proven good recipe? Or some good commercial examples they would recommend?

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There are a couple of threads on a competing forum. Not sure whether hatchets have been buried. Mere mortals cannot understand the ways of the gods.

But in general I'd say that a good bottled Altbier is a contradiction in terms.

Re: Altbier

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:59 am
by Ancient Abbey
Altbier was my gateway to German beer and brewing. I'm a big fan, though it has taken a back seat to helles styles as of late.

At its core, you can almost think of altbier as a dunkel brewed with ale yeast, hopped to taste and well lagered. Some are hopped like pilsner beer and some are more moderate like a festbier. The simplest altbier is a 12P SMaSH beer with Munich (Dunkel) malt, a bit of sinamar (or 1% carafa special) and hopped to 24-30 IBU. Schumacher would be a good example of this style. I tend to like the lower range, 24-27 is the sweet spot for me. Examples that are destined for export and extensive travel are generally pilsner based and use caramunich in place of the brühmalz, upwards of 10-15% of the total grist. Zum Uerige would be a good example of this. I like them both, but I find there is definitely a difference in crispness between the Munich and Pilsner malt based versions. Brew the one that suits your tastes.

Here is a recipe that got me a BOS a year or so back and was entered this past year in the GABF Pro-AM. I know lupulus got to try the commercial version at BAGF, so maybe he can offer his observations. I tend to fudge the gravity range and brew the sticke (13-14P) strength for competitions, as that seems to be what the judges reward. I also increase the hops for the extra gravity and anticipated loss during extended lagering. For a normal altbier to drink at home, I adjust this recipe down to 12P with ~27 IBU. I rarely change the % karamalz or rostmaltz much anymore, but I will vary the amounts of Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Melanoidin malts to my mood that day or what beer I have in the pipeline (Hint: Vienna as the base is tasty and one of my favorites, but doesn't seem to me to match any of the commercial examples).

14P
40 IBU
26 EBC

90% Munich
6% Melanoidin
3% Caramunich I
1% Carafa Special III

24 IBU Magnum @ FWH
12 IBU Spalter @ FWH
2 IBU Spalter @ 10
2 IBU Mittlefruh @ 10

Pitch @ 54F
Primary @ 58F
Spunden @ 60F
Lager @ 32F

Re: Altbier

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:36 pm
by homoeccentricus
Nice. Completely different from the typical Uerige recipe.

Re: Altbier

Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:44 pm
by Natebriscoe
Ancient Abbey wrote:Altbier was my gateway to German beer and brewing. I'm a big fan, though it has taken a back seat to helles styles as of late.

At its core, you can almost think of altbier as a dunkel brewed with ale yeast, hopped to taste and well lagered. Some are hopped like pilsner beer and some are more moderate like a festbier. The simplest altbier is a 12P SMaSH beer with Munich (Dunkel) malt, a bit of sinamar (or 1% carafa special) and hopped to 24-30 IBU. Schumacher would be a good example of this style. I tend to like the lower range, 24-27 is the sweet spot for me. Examples that are destined for export and extensive travel are generally pilsner based and use caramunich in place of the brühmalz, upwards of 10-15% of the total grist. Zum Uerige would be a good example of this. I like them both, but I find there is definitely a difference in crispness between the Munich and Pilsner malt based versions. Brew the one that suits your tastes.

Here is a recipe that got me a BOS a year or so back and was entered this past year in the GABF Pro-AM. I know lupulus got to try the commercial version at BAGF, so maybe he can offer his observations. I tend to fudge the gravity range and brew the sticke (13-14P) strength for competitions, as that seems to be what the judges reward. I also increase the hops for the extra gravity and anticipated loss during extended lagering. For a normal altbier to drink at home, I adjust this recipe down to 12P with ~27 IBU. I rarely change the % karamalz or rostmaltz much anymore, but I will vary the amounts of Pilsner, Vienna, Munich and Melanoidin malts to my mood that day or what beer I have in the pipeline (Hint: Vienna as the base is tasty and one of my favorites, but doesn't seem to me to match any of the commercial examples).

14P
40 IBU
26 EBC

90% Munich
6% Melanoidin
3% Caramunich I
1% Carafa Special III

24 IBU Magnum @ FWH
12 IBU Spalter @ FWH
2 IBU Spalter @ 10
2 IBU Mittlefruh @ 10

Pitch @ 54F
Primary @ 58F
Spunden @ 60F
Lager @ 32F
Nice. What strain do you like for this?

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Re: Altbier

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:50 am
by Ancient Abbey
I prefer W177, WY1007, WLP036, in that order.

Re: Altbier

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:16 pm
by Natebriscoe
Ancient Abbey wrote:I prefer W177, WY1007, WLP036, in that order.
I figured, the less flocc strains. Thanks

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Re: Altbier

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:14 am
by Natebriscoe
Has anyone done an alt with their lager strain (on the warm side)?

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Re: Altbier

Posted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:34 pm
by bjanat
Ancient Abbey wrote:I prefer W177, WY1007, WLP036, in that order.

What about Fermentis K-97? Isn’t that supposed to be altbier-yeast?

Re: Altbier

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:22 pm
by Ancient Abbey
I've not tried it, sorry.