Author Topic: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?  (Read 6235 times)

Offline tomsawyer

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Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« on: January 01, 2011, 06:56:12 AM »
I've now read his altbier style book written in '98 and noticed he espouses some dogma that is now being questioned (eg, hot side aeration.)  I have a couple of questions regarding his advice, that I was hoping to solicit opinions on.

First, he spends a good deal of time emphasizing the need for a protein rest, and lays out some good reasoning.  I have been under the impression that today's malts, even the German malts, are well-modified and as such no longer need to have this protein rest and that it can even be detrimental.  Is this the case, or should I be doing a protein rest for this style?  Not sure how much German malting methods have changed in the last twelve years.

Second, he mentions the need to lager on yeast.  I have been reading that people typically keg and force-carb prior to lagering, which would seem to be at odds with his advice (although he does call for racking a time or two during lagering).  I am doing a diacetyl rest on my alt right now (low 60's after 10 days at 56F), should I lager the primary or rack to keg and lager in that?  His reasoning seems less intuitively appealing on this, since the idea of yeast doing much metabolism at 40F and lower seems unlikely and reduction of gasses like H2S would occur slower since the solubility of gas is greater at lower temps.

I'm not badmouthing this book, in fact for a style book it has a lot of excellent information on general brewing (mash pH, calculating SRM/IBU) as well as great info on alts.  Just looking to do the right things to get a nice altbier.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline denny

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2011, 10:29:43 AM »
Personally, based on my own experience with that book and brewing MANY altbiers, I think you can safely ignore much of what he wrote.  First, malts have changed a lot in the years since the book was written.  I find that a long (90-120) minute rest at 148F gives me a very clear and fermentable wort. Second, I've never found it necessary to do a d rest for an alt (YMMV, of course) and I have found no benefits to conditioning on the yeast.  I feel like the book, like others in that series, are written from the standpoint of a commercial brewer rather than a homebrewer.  I advise you to follow your instincts and experience.  Use the book as a tool to understanding rather than a bible to follow step by step.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2011, 08:49:15 PM »
Thanks Denny, I kind of thought the advice was a little dogmatic in several respects.  I generally like the idea of a d-rest, not only for attenuating diacetyl but just to be sure things finish as completely as possible.  Conditioning on a yeast cake doesn't make much sense, and he does say you should rack a time or two which doesn't jibe with the rest of the advice.  I'm torn on the protein rest, but I don't typically have problems with a good rocky head when using the right yeast.  I did appreciate his description of the subtle differences between British and German malt, I usually try to get the authentic ingredients but didn't know exactly what parameters might be affecting the outcome.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2011, 04:33:05 PM »
D-rest is fine. I usually ramp up my temp at the end of fermentation.
Cold conditioning is always good from 2 weeks to 4 weeks.
I did recently do short protein rest based on this article:
http://www.brewersassociation.org/pages/publications/the-new-brewer/online-extras/show?title=style-spotlight-bohemian-dunkel

I have to say that I got a HUGE egg drop soup wort with a lot of protein coagulation.
Actually I did 100F for 10 min then infuse with 175F water to 124F for 15 min.
Other rests were at 143 F and 161F and Mash Out at 172F with HERMS.

I have to say it was interesting mash schedule.
My HLT was at 175F all the time and system was VERY responsive.
So I have to say I am pumped about this mash process.
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Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2011, 07:08:25 PM »
Interesting article, although they are using an under-modified malt so the protein rest is certainly more likely to be necessary for that reason.  I'm not sure that Global pils and munich malts are going to need this same protein rest to provide adequate medium-chain polypeptides for body and head retention.  In fact I've read that a protein rest on a well-modified malt can actually break down proteins too much, resulting in the opposite effect.  I generally get a really nice egg-drop soup effect using pils malt and proper salts in my water.  But I'm certainly open to suggestions.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline jasoncap

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 08:27:32 AM »
I don't have near the experience brewing Alts that Denny does, but since it is my favorite style I probably put more thought and care into brewing those batches and I agree with his comments.  I don't know that there is much need for a diacetyl rest, especially if you use WY1007 and pitch and ferment on the cooler side.  Even at 56 deg f that yeast attenuates very well and finishes clean.  I'm sure raising the temp can't hurt, though. 

I did enjoy his book, mainly for the historical information on Altbiers and good discussion on the style vs. the technical brewing info.

Offline chumley

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2011, 01:47:33 PM »
His recipes always kind of freak me out as he will specify using huge amounts of crystal or aromatic malts...I like to use those malts in moderation and have a hard time believing a recipe with 20% crystal malt will taste good (at least for my tastebuds).

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2011, 05:01:37 PM »
I don't have near the experience brewing Alts that Denny does, but since it is my favorite style I probably put more thought and care into brewing those batches and I agree with his comments.  I don't know that there is much need for a diacetyl rest, especially if you use WY1007 and pitch and ferment on the cooler side.  Even at 56 deg f that yeast attenuates very well and finishes clean.  I'm sure raising the temp can't hurt, though. 

I did enjoy his book, mainly for the historical information on Altbiers and good discussion on the style vs. the technical brewing info.

How long does 1007 typically take at 56F?

His recipes always kind of freak me out as he will specify using huge amounts of crystal or aromatic malts...I like to use those malts in moderation and have a hard time believing a recipe with 20% crystal malt will taste good (at least for my tastebuds).

I see his Altstadt recipe is only 5% crystal, that seems reasonable.  Supposedly alts from other areas are sweeter, although 20% crystal is a lot and I wouldn't be wanting that kind of beer.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline chumley

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2011, 05:26:37 PM »
You should read some of his recipes in BYO, when Horst was the Style Editor.  Pretty scary.

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2011, 10:06:54 PM »
yeah. 20% crystal is quite excessive to my opinion.
I did try it once.
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Offline jasoncap

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2011, 05:19:49 AM »

How long does 1007 typically take at 56F?


I usually leave my Alt in primary for 3 weeks but the bulk of fermentation is probably done in 10-12 days at that temp.  I like to give it a little bit of time after the Krausen falls back in before I move it to a keg and start lagering.

Offline tomsawyer

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2011, 06:13:07 AM »

How long does 1007 typically take at 56F?


I usually leave my Alt in primary for 3 weeks but the bulk of fermentation is probably done in 10-12 days at that temp.  I like to give it a little bit of time after the Krausen falls back in before I move it to a keg and start lagering.

Thanks thats a good benchmark.  I pulled mine out of the 56F chamber after 11days, of course the d-rest temp is only 62-64F.  I'll give it three weeks total before lagering.
Lennie
Hannibal, MO

Offline jeffy

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2011, 07:27:36 AM »
His recipes always kind of freak me out as he will specify using huge amounts of crystal or aromatic malts...I like to use those malts in moderation and have a hard time believing a recipe with 20% crystal malt will taste good (at least for my tastebuds).

I've often wondered what qualified him to become an expert and finally decided that it's because he's German. ;)
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline Kaiser

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2011, 07:38:55 AM »
I've often wondered what qualified him to become an expert and finally decided that it's because he's German. ;)

Yes, I noticed that many of his recipes and techniques have caused controversy in the home brewing community. 20% crystal, especially when it is dark, does seem to be a bit much.

I haven't figured out yet what exactly his background in brewing is. But I met him once at a beer festival in Boston.

Kai

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Dornbusch's Advice for Alt?
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2011, 08:11:55 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. 
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