Düsseldorf Altbier

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In many ways Düsseldorf altbier is the essence of a hybrid beer. The term “alt” refers to an old German style of brewing using ale yeasts, before bottom fermenting yeasts were widely available. Fermentation temperatures are kept on the cooler end of the ale spectrum, creating many of the smooth characteristics found in lagers but with an ale yeast.

The medium bodied ale showcases the richness of specialty malts while allowing for noticeable bitterness to make an appearance. Altbier is a great style to session for both malt and hop heads alike.

This recipe comes from the July/August 2009 issue of Zymurgy magazine.

Düsseldorf Altbier | Düsseldorf Altbier


  • For 5.5 gallons (21 L)
    • 2 cans (6.6 lb, or 3.0 kg) | Light Malt Extract
    • 1.25 lb (0.57 kg) | Light Liquid Munich Malt Extract
    • 0.5 lb (0.23 kg) | Special b Malt (120° L)
    • 0.5 lb (0.23 kg) | CaraMunich Malt (60° L)
    • 0.25 lb (0.11 kg) | Carafa Malt (400° L)
    • 1.5 oz (43 g) | *Perle hops, 8.75% alpha acid (60 min)
    • 1.0 oz (28 g) | *Tettnang Hops, 4.5% alpha acid (15 min)
    • 0.75 tsp (3 g) | Irish moss (15 min)
    • 2 packages | Wyeast 1007 German Ale Yeast, or White Labs WLP036 Dusseldorf Alt Yeast, or white Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch yeast, or a sufficient yeast starter
    • *Use similar hops, if Perle or Tettnag hops are unavailable.


    • Original Gravity: 1.053
    • Final Gravity: 1.012
    • ABV: 5.4%
    • IBU: 42
    • Boil Time: 60 minutes
    • Pre-boil Volume: 3 gallons (11.4 L)


    Steep the grains in 2 gallons (7.6 L) of cool water.

    Heat the water to 170°F (77°C), then strain the grains.

    Stir in malt extract and add enough water to bring the volume up to 3 gallons (11.4 L), and bring to a boil.

    Add bittering hops and boil for 45 minutes, then add aroma hops and re-hydrated Irish moss and continue boiling for 15 minutes. Cool the wort, and then pour into fermenter with enough cold water to make 5.5 gallons (21 L).

    Aerate and pitch yeast when temperature drops to 65°F (18°C).

    Ferment at 65°-68° F (18°-20° C) for one week or until fermentation is complete. Age the beer in a secondary fermenter for one week at 65°F (18°C).

    Carbonate to 1.5-2.5 volumes of CO2.