Author Topic: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?  (Read 6236 times)

Offline Kaiser

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2011, 08:47:36 AM »
As Stan Hieronymus (Brewing with Wheat, Brew like a Monk) put it...he is not an expert, but he took the time to find out from experts in authoring his books.

Just as we home brewers cannot agree on what is actually necessary to make the best beer, professionals cannot agree either. And unless you know that there is controversy about  the need for a protein rest you may easily take a few brewer’s, who believe it is necessary, word for it.

I don’t think his advice is faulty and make bad beer. I just think it makes you do more work than what is necessary. Finding that out is part of the continues learning in this hobby. This is why you should read multiple books and try to come to your own conclusion.

The 20% crystal is a different issue. It may have worked for one or two recipes but one should always be skeptical about that much crystal in a recipe. Just like Alton Brown who, IMO, puts way to much salt into his recipes. I have tried many of his recipes but end up noting that next time I’ll have to cut the amount of salt.

Kai



Offline denny

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2011, 09:10:23 AM »
How long does 1007 typically take at 56F?

Maybe a couple weeks...
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Offline denny

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2011, 09:13:54 AM »
As Stan Hieronymus (Brewing with Wheat, Brew like a Monk) put it...he is not an expert, but he took the time to find out from experts in authoring his books.

So, I wouldn't be surprised that Dornbusch doesn't really have any expertise either, but I would hope that he took the initiative to consult experts in writing his book.  

My hat's off to those who do take the time and effort to author good work.  But as we know, the state of the art moves on.  The problem is that there aren't many forums such as this to help dispell the missinformation that still exists until an updated edition comes out.  

My understanding is that he was a commercial brewer.  Years ago (maybe 10) a friend of mine emailed him about the seeming strangeness of his recipes.  Dornbusch wrote back a very good defense of his reasoning.  Didn't convince me, but it was at least some interesting info.  I'm trying to find that email.

EDIT:  Found it!  From 2004...

"Thank you for your two inquiries about Alt and Sticke.

 

Let me first respond to the Sticke question about replacing carared with melanoidin malt.

 

Carared is one of the typical malts used in Germany to impart ¡°reddishness¡± to Alts, Vienna lagers, and similar brews. Carared is slightly aromatic and contributes a relatively mild maltiness as well as some body to the finished beer. I recall having been told by a maltster that a grain bill should contain no more than 25% carared or 20% melanoidin malt, but I do not know why this limitation.

 

Replacing the carared with melanoidin malt is perfectly OK, but I would use a little less melanoidin than carared, if you are looking for a comparable result. This reason lies in the different specs:

 

Melanoidin malts tend to be slightly darker (the Weyermann product, for instance, comes in a color range of 23 ¨C 31¡ãL/SRM, compared to the Weyermann Carared at 16 ¨C 23¡ãL/SRM). Melanoidin malts tend to be slightly more acidic than carared malts. This enhances flavor stability, but you should check you mash pH. (Perhaps this is the reason for the 20%-limit on melanoidin malt? If the mash becomes too acidic, the diastatic enzymes won¡¯t work!) Melanoidin malts also have excellent friability and fairly low ¦Â-glucan values. This enhances lautering performance. They are more malt-aromatic (which is OK in an Alt. including a Sticke) and add more body and mouthfeel to the finished beer (also OK). Importantly, however, melanoidin malts (as opposed to carareds) add deep-amber to red-brown, rather than brilliantly reddish, color values to the beer. For the Sticke, therefore, mostly because of the color contribution, I would use no more than perhaps 15% melanoidin malt (instead of the 20% carared in my Zymurgy recipe).

 

As for the amount of crystal malt I mention in some of the Alt recipes in my book, the answer is more complex:

 

I tried to cover the wide range of Altbiers that I have tasted both in Germany and in the US. At one end of the spectrum is the Schmalz¡¯s Alt from Minnesota, for instance (see p. 114 -- not sure if it is still available nowadays). It seems to contain a TON of highly roasted malts. At the other end of the spectrum is the Schumacher Alt, which is made from just one type of Munich malt (which I happen to know is Weyermann Munich Type I producing a wort of 5.1 - 7.3¡ãL/SRM ). The Enderlein Alt recipe (pp. 105/106) is based entirely on this brew.

 

The crystal quantities I mention in some of the recipes are deliberate. No typos. In D¨¹sseldorf, there are clear differences between, say a F¨¹chschen or Uehrige Alt, on the one hand, and a Hannen or Diebels Alt, on the other. The former are lighter-copper in color with very little residual sweetness in the finish, while the latter are more reddish-brown with a much maltier aftertaste. I happen to know that the color in the darker D¨¹sseldorf Altbiers comes from the addition by those breweries of a malt-essence coloring agent called SINAMAR. This is a patented tincture made by the Weyermann Malting Company of Bamberg. It was invented n 1903. It is made entirely made from a vacuum-evaporated, unhopped beer brewed just from dehusked Weyermann Carafa malt. Because the grain base of this product is dehusked, there is no bitterness associated with this liquid, just dark concentrated color. Because it is made entirely from barley, it meets the requirements of the German Reinheitsgebot, which makes it a legal ¡°additive¡± to beer.

 

When I wrote the manuscript for the Alt book in 1997/8, SINAMAR was not available in North America, so I did not mention it then. For the darker versions of Altbier, therefore, I resorted to crystal malt for color in the book. To avoid roasty notes, though, I kept the color value to no more than 60¡ãL. Now, since last year, SINAMAR is available in the United States, where it is imported and distributed by Crosby & Baker. Of course, I would mention SINAMAR as an option today.

 

The grain bill of my own commercial Alt, which won a bronze medal at the 2000 GABF, contained about 15% crystal from Briess, at 60¡ãL. As a test, I once made the same Altbier by replacing the Briess crystal with an equivalent amount (calculated on color value, not weight) of Carastan Malt. This malt is roasted at about 300¡ãF (150¡ãC). The mathematical color value of the two brews was supposed to be identical, but visually the Carastan beer turned out almost as dark as a Porter, compared to the brilliant copper-red color of the Briess crystal beer. The two beers also tasted completely differently. The Carastan Alt tasted too acrid and toffee-toasty to be an Alt. The Briess Alt, by contrast, was even identified in a blind taste test by the best-known German-language beer writer, Conrad Seidl, as being an authentic Alt.

 

From this I conclude that you can both succeed and fail in making an authentic Altbier with crystal. What I was after in the recipes in which I used crystal (and I tested them all!), was color without roastiness. If you rely on crystal for color, they key, at least in my experience, is to get the right BRAND of crystal. You want a crystal malt that is stewed longer at lower temperatures rather than faster at higher temperatures. Also, you want a crystal malt that is produced in a roasting drum, not in a kilning box. For these reasons, I disclosed on p. 34 of the book, that I had used Briess malt for all the test batches. I did not disclose the brand to give Briess a plug, but because I knew the recipes worked with this brand. Weyermann malts work well too, by the way.

 

I understand why some people do not believe I should have used crystal at all (or up to 15%) in the recipes, but the reality is that these critics may not be sufficiently familiar with ALL the varieties of Alt that are and have been brewed in and around D¨¹sseldorf, as well as in Westphalia (with lots of wheat in the grain bill), Frankfurt, Dortmund, Hanover (with lots of crystal!), and even Bavaria (with plenty of residual sweetness). My goal was to be both authentic and comprehensive, while supplying recipes that could actually be made in North America with the ingredients available (then!).

 

I hope this explains, why there is crystal in some (though not all!) of the Alt brews in my book. The explanation I am giving you here is probably something that I should have included explicitly in the original book manuscript. If you could rewrite the book today, I certainly would do so. Please, feel free to disseminate this information to everybody in your discussion group, and keep me in the loop.

 

Cheers.

Horst

 

P.S. Amidst the many complimentary reviews the Alt book has received since publication, there was a small sprinkling of inexplicably vicious and dismissive attacks, mostly by self-appointed, self-important know-it-all experts who have obviously never been in a real Altbier brew house or talked to a real Altbier brew master. I did not grace any of these uncivil broadsides with a reply, because their opinionated and dogmatic tone made dialog a priori impossible. However, I gladly reply to your query. Thank you for being a gentleman."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 09:18:31 AM by denny »
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2011, 10:05:49 AM »
Interesting reading, I'm surprised that you would use crystal simply for color when it brings so much with it.  You could get neutral color from a little dab of dehusked carafa added late in a mash.  I do think there are sweeter alts though, and in this country BluCreek makes a fairly sweet alt that is pretty tasty.
Lennie
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2011, 10:08:43 AM »
Denny,

Thanks for posting this. I think it explains a lot. This part in particular might be key in understanding his recipes:

Quote
I understand why some people do not believe I should have used crystal at all (or up to 15%) in the recipes, but the reality is that these critics may not be sufficiently familiar with ALL the varieties of Alt that are and have been brewed in and around D¨¹sseldorf, as well as in Westphalia (with lots of wheat in the grain bill), Frankfurt, Dortmund, Hanover (with lots of crystal!), and even Bavaria (with plenty of residual sweetness). My goal was to be both authentic and comprehensive, while supplying recipes that could actually be made in North America with the ingredients available (then!).

Many  Germans, me included, have not been exposed to a variety of Altbiers. They are a very localized beer style and except for some of the larger brands, like Diebels, only available in northwest Germany. One you may be able to say that one dosn’t like an Alt with that much crystal but you may not be able to say that this much crystal is out of line for an Alt. The same would go for bitterness, I think. German Alts tend to be less bitter than many American brewers think. Their bitterness level tends to be similar to North German Pils styles.

Kai


Offline denny

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2011, 10:20:38 AM »
Interesting reading, I'm surprised that you would use crystal simply for color when it brings so much with it.  You could get neutral color from a little dab of dehusked carafa added late in a mash.  I do think there are sweeter alts though, and in this country BluCreek makes a fairly sweet alt that is pretty tasty.

Like Sinamar, though, carafa wasn't available to homebrewers at that time.  While I can't agree that crystal is a good alternative, I respect his opinions.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2011, 12:31:13 PM »
Wow its hard to believe those malts weren't available twelve years ago.  Of course his research was probably based on experiences from another ten to twenty years prior, with no internet.

I do think 5% crystal in an alt isn't a bad level is it?  Thats what was in his altstadt recipe.  Thats a pretty modest amount.
Lennie
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2011, 12:52:39 PM »
Wow its hard to believe those malts weren't available twelve years ago.  Of course his research was probably based on experiences from another ten to twenty years prior, with no internet.

I do think 5% crystal in an alt isn't a bad level is it?  Thats what was in his altstadt recipe.  Thats a pretty modest amount.

I use 4.5% Cara Vienne and 4.5% Cara Minuch (for a total of 9% crystal malts) in my alt.
Keith Y.
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2011, 01:12:29 PM »
I use 10% CaraMunich I and I like it a lot.

Kai

Offline jasoncap

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2011, 02:17:35 PM »
Major and Kai - what do you find the crystal malt additions add to your beer that you wouldn't get with a very high percentage (80+%) of Munich, or a combo of Munich 1 and 2 with some Carafa Special to adjust color?

The reason I ask is I have set a goal this year to brew the perfect Alt, or at least close to it, and I am looking for all the suggestions/advice I can get. 

Thanks in advance.

Offline davidw

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2011, 02:57:35 PM »
Ahem, okay, so who is going to tell John at Rogue that 20% crystal in a beer is a bad thing? Anyone remember that article in BYO (IIRC) five or six years ago where the recipe for Rogue Red (straight from him) had something like 20-30% crystal and munich malt in it? Just sayin . . .

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2011, 03:13:20 PM »
Zum Uerige's recipe supposedly has only 2.5% caramunich.  And Denny's Milo alt has no crystal.

I've always heard the "rule" that 20% is upper end for crystal, and since I'm not big on sweet beers I've rarely even used 10% but I'm inching upwards because I keep drinking great commercial craft brews that just seem to have more malty flavors than I am coming up with in my beer.  I've also procured some better quality malts, but I am thinking the sweetness might bring out the flavors somewhat better.  I'm also mashing at a little higher temp to get more body and maybe a little more sweetness.
Lennie
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Offline chumley

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #27 on: January 04, 2011, 05:10:15 PM »
Personally, I detest Rogue beers because of all the crystal malt.  As I noted earlier, high percentages of crystal malt in beer just doesn't taste good to me. I'm sure Mr. Dornbusch's recipes are technically accurate, but I have no urge to brew any of them (well, not the ones with a boatload of crystal malt).

He once had a Helles recipe in BYO that called for some outrageous amount of carapils.  I can't see brewing that one either.

I'm with the other posters who stick to 10% or less crystal in the alts.  For me, those would be the pilsner malt-based ones.  I wouldn't use any crystal in an all-Munich malt alt.


Offline denny

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #29 on: January 04, 2011, 05:46:19 PM »
Ahem, okay, so who is going to tell John at Rogue that 20% crystal in a beer is a bad thing? Anyone remember that article in BYO (IIRC) five or six years ago where the recipe for Rogue Red (straight from him) had something like 20-30% crystal and munich malt in it? Just sayin . . .

20% crystal is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your goals.  Both my Rye IPA and BVIP have a lot more crystal than most recipes, but they seem to be pretty well accepted.  But when I make an alt, I want it crisp and dry.  Over the years, I've gone back and forth on adding small amounts of crystal to my alts.  These days I leave it out.
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