Author Topic: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?  (Read 661 times)

Offline goschman

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Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« on: May 27, 2014, 12:15:16 PM »
When my kolsch is done, I plan to transfer my first attempt at an Alt type beer directly onto the WLP029 yeast cake. I have been doing a bit of research but am still a little unclear on this style. Is this even close?

~70% pilsner
~20% munich
~7.5% crystal
~2.5% pale chocolate

I think this will be closer to the Northern German variety but I don't really understand the difference other than the Dusseldorf seem to have more IBUs and may be slightly lighter in color. I recently read that a caramel flavor is within style. Should I increase the amount of crystal? What about single infusion mash temp?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 12:23:29 PM by goschman »
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Offline denny

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 01:23:02 PM »
When my kolsch is done, I plan to transfer my first attempt at an Alt type beer directly onto the WLP029 yeast cake. I have been doing a bit of research but am still a little unclear on this style. Is this even close?

~70% pilsner
~20% munich
~7.5% crystal
~2.5% pale chocolate

I think this will be closer to the Northern German variety but I don't really understand the difference other than the Dusseldorf seem to have more IBUs and may be slightly lighter in color. I recently read that a caramel flavor is within style. Should I increase the amount of crystal? What about single infusion mash temp?

Dusseldorf alt seems to be much more bitter than N. German.  I'm a big fan of Zum Uerige, which IMO is the Holy Grail of alt.  FWIW, there is no Munich in Zum Uerige.  That said, I like my Americanized pseudo alts that have a lot of Munich in them.  And I hate crystal in alts.  IMO, they should be crisp.
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Offline goschman

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2014, 02:03:38 PM »
Thanks Denny. Mine will definitely be an "americanized pseudo alt". I will consider decreasing the amount of crystal or dropping it altogether. The only commercial example the I have had is Alaskan Amber which is listed BJCP under N. German I believe.
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2014, 03:53:12 PM »
My personal alt is 70% munich 30% two-row or pils (whichever is more easily accessed). I haven't noticed too much of a difference. I like 1oz of Magnum at 60, and some sort of noble hop at 10. Last time, I did 1oz Glacier and 1oz Mt Hood, which was nice and spicy. That one was 15% Rye though, to accentuate the spicyness. I shoot for more Zum Uerige (though I have never had it) than Alaskan Amber, which I find to be a touch too sweet (I think they use a reasonably large amount of crystal).

I would be reluctant to use WLP029 for Alt though, because the viniousness that I love in kolsch* I don't like in Alts.  I prefer WY1007 (German Ale) which is very clean, and responds very well to cold-conditioning.

*Umlaut implied
« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 04:01:36 PM by garc_mall »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2014, 04:00:45 PM »


I would be reluctant to use WLP029 for Alt though, because the viniousness that I love in kolsch* I don't like in Alts.  I prefer WY1007 (German Ale) which is very clean, and responds very well to cold-conditioning.

My thoughts too. Kolsch yeast is so distinctive (to me) that I don't feel you're making an alt if you use it. Not saying it won't be a good beer. But 1007 is so reliably good and authentic for alt I can't imagine not using it.
Jon H.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2014, 04:31:11 PM »
When my kolsch is done, I plan to transfer my first attempt at an Alt type beer directly onto the WLP029 yeast cake. I have been doing a bit of research but am still a little unclear on this style. Is this even close?

~70% pilsner
~20% munich
~7.5% crystal
~2.5% pale chocolate

I think this will be closer to the Northern German variety but I don't really understand the difference other than the Dusseldorf seem to have more IBUs and may be slightly lighter in color. I recently read that a caramel flavor is within style. Should I increase the amount of crystal? What about single infusion mash temp?

Dusseldorf alt seems to be much more bitter than N. German.  I'm a big fan of Zum Uerige, which IMO is the Holy Grail of alt.  FWIW, there is no Munich in Zum Uerige.  That said, I like my Americanized pseudo alts that have a lot of Munich in them.  And I hate crystal in alts.  IMO, they should be crisp.

Zum Uerige is by far the most bitter of the Duesseldorf Alts. Our friends who grew up in Duesseldorf said that after 5 or 6 you don't notice the bitterness so much. They were serious, with a smile when they said that!
Jeff Rankert
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Offline goschman

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2014, 04:35:39 PM »


I would be reluctant to use WLP029 for Alt though, because the viniousness that I love in kolsch* I don't like in Alts.  I prefer WY1007 (German Ale) which is very clean, and responds very well to cold-conditioning.

My thoughts too. Kolsch yeast is so distinctive (to me) that I don't feel you're making an alt if you use it. Not saying it won't be a good beer. But 1007 is so reliably good and authentic for alt I can't imagine not using it.

Ok got it. White labs and Wyeast both list their kolsch yeasts as choices for Alts which I was going in that direction. Since I have the kolsch finishing up I thought I might as well reuse the yeast. Sounds like I will end up with an Amber Ale fermented with kolsch yeast...

Based on the basic ingredients description for N. German it seems like there can be quite a bit of variation:
"Typically made with a Pils base and colored with roasted malt or dark crystal. May include small amounts of Munich or Vienna malt. Noble hops. Usually made with an attenuative lager yeast".

« Last Edit: May 27, 2014, 04:39:36 PM by goschman »
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2014, 04:38:46 PM »
Yeah I've noticed that. Wasn't trying to be an a$$. I've just never felt like a kolsch yeast belonged in anything but a kolsch. I don't doubt you'd make a good beer with either.
Jon H.

Offline goschman

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2014, 04:58:34 PM »
Yeah I've noticed that. Wasn't trying to be an a$$. I've just never felt like a kolsch yeast belonged in anything but a kolsch. I don't doubt you'd make a good beer with either.

I guess I will just go with a 'german inspired amber ale' or American Amber ale with kolsch yeast...haha
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2014, 05:47:11 PM »


I would be reluctant to use WLP029 for Alt though, because the viniousness that I love in kolsch* I don't like in Alts.  I prefer WY1007 (German Ale) which is very clean, and responds very well to cold-conditioning.

My thoughts too. Kolsch yeast is so distinctive (to me) that I don't feel you're making an alt if you use it. Not saying it won't be a good beer. But 1007 is so reliably good and authentic for alt I can't imagine not using it.

+1 - I'll go so far as to say that 1007 is equally as distinctive as Kölsch yeast. Although it is a very clean yeast, it's fermentation character just screams Altbier to me.

But, to the OP, regardless of yeast selection I'm sure you'll make a damn fine beer. Call it a Dunkel Kolsch and enjoy a few liters :)
Eric B.

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Offline goschman

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2014, 08:21:48 AM »
Thanks everyone. I haven't gotten around to trying 1007 yet but really want to. I don't use liquid yeast much so I am going to take advantage of the yeast cake from the Kolsch.

The only thing that I need to decide is whether to increase the amount of Munich. I may push it up to 30% but I am not sure.
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Offline denny

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2014, 08:59:54 AM »
Thanks Denny. Mine will definitely be an "americanized pseudo alt". I will consider decreasing the amount of crystal or dropping it altogether. The only commercial example the I have had is Alaskan Amber which is listed BJCP under N. German I believe.

Take my word for it...Alaskan amber isn't even in the same ballpark as a real alt.
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Offline denny

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2014, 09:00:48 AM »
Yeah I've noticed that. Wasn't trying to be an a$$. I've just never felt like a kolsch yeast belonged in anything but a kolsch. I don't doubt you'd make a good beer with either.

I totally agree with you.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline denny

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2014, 09:05:19 AM »
FWIW, here's some info about Zum Uerige, taken from an interview with the brewmaster Dr. Frank Hebmuller in New Brewer magazine.

Water can be relatively hard with a high carbonate level. Malt is based on well modified pils, with a bit of caramel malt and a bit of "chocolate roasted wheat malt".  Mash schedule has rests at 125, 144, 158, and 169 (mashout). Boil time is 60-70 min. Mittelfruh, Perle, or Spalt are the preferred hops. Aroma hop addition is about 25% of the total hop amount. Add aroma hops no earlier than 20 min. before flameout. OG is 1.044-1.052. Primary between 59-68F. Secondary at 50F. Then condition at 32F for 14 days. FG should be 1.008-1.014. 4.3-5.5% ABV Here's the recipe he gives for 5 gal. ....

5.9 lb. Pils malt
.15 lb. Caramel malt (e.g. Weyermann Caramunich)
1.34 oz. Chocolate Roasted malt (e.g. weyermann Carafa Spezial Type 1)
.7 oz. Hallertau Mittlefruh - 6.5% - 60 min.
.46 oz. Perele - 7.5% - 60 min.
1.11 oz. Spalt - 5% - 20 min.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline goschman

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Re: Suggestions for Altbier grain bill?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2014, 10:28:03 AM »
Thanks Denny. Mine will definitely be an "americanized pseudo alt". I will consider decreasing the amount of crystal or dropping it altogether. The only commercial example the I have had is Alaskan Amber which is listed BJCP under N. German I believe.

Take my word for it...Alaskan amber isn't even in the same ballpark as a real alt.

They shouldn't list it as a commercial example then...bugs me. I am not brewing an "alt" so I am not worried about it now.
On Tap:                       
Lemongrass Blonde / Habnero Wit / XPA #2 / American Strong Ale
              
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Up Next: Baltic Porter, Saison, Kolsch