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.

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Düsseldorf Altbier

This recipe comes from Charlie Papazian's column “World of Worts” in the July/August 2004 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Maibocks, or helles bocks, are traditionally served in the spring, specifically in May, throughout Germany. Often described as a Munich helles with bock strength, or as a paler take on the classic bock style, Maibocks offer the malty notes and strength characteristic of a bock, along with slightly more pronounced hop aroma than your typical bock. However, Charlie specifically notes “American homebrewers, be careful. I am not granting you license to over hop this beer.” With lighter, paler notes, a nice alcoholic strength, and lager crispness, this Maibock is begging to be the start to those warm May nights that lie ahead. Get to brewing this recipe now, and you’ll be glad when you have a cold glass of Jabberwocky Maibock to help chase down a late afternoon spring sunset. Read More

Jabberwocky Maibock

Schwarzbier, German for black beer, is described by Mosher as an "eccentric beer that slips outside the carefully constructed framework of allowable brews" in Germany. The style can be likened to a hybrid of a German porter, a style once popular in continental Europe, and pilsner, the style the dethroned porter. Despite their name, schwarzbiers are typically red or amber in color, with well-balanced profile of malt, roast, and hops. Subtlety of flavors is key to this style, not allowing one characteristic to dominate over the rest.Read More

Doktor Schnurrbart Schwarzbier

Lagers are slightly more advanced to style because it requires proper fermentation temperatures and the use of a secondary fermentation vessel. If you want to try your hand at a lager, Polka Dot Pilsner is a great place to start with a recipe consisting of one type of malt and one type of hop.

Lager fermentation requires the wort to be held around 50°F (10°C) while in primary. After fermentation, the beer is transferred to a secondary vessel where it will be held around 35°-40°F (1.7°-4.4°C), and eventually brought up to around 60°-65°F (15.6°-18.3°C) late in the lagering stage.

If you cannot control temperatures this low, an ale yeast such as an altbier yeast can be used to mimic a lager, while allowing homebrewers to ferment in the ale temperature range.

This recipe is from Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher.

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Polka Dot Pilsner

Those who have sampled the wonders of German brewing often come away with a love for the malty, spicy flavor of an authentic Bavarian wheat beer, known as a weizen. This basic recipe allows you to produce that flavor right in your own homebrewery! Being an extract-only recipe, this weizen is the perfect beer to brew for those testing the waters of homebrewing. Read More

ZAITH Weizen

What do you think Old St. Nick drinks after a tough night of squeezing down chimneys? It would have to be something strong enough to calm his nerves after an evening of globetrotting, but quaffable enough to beg another sip.

Samichlaus, once the strongest beer in the world at 14% ABV, came to be in 1979 when Swiss-based Hürlimann Brewery decided to brew a Christmas lager on December 6—St. Nicholas Day (feast day). Until its doors closed in 1997, Hürlimann Brewery produced Samichlaus every year on December 6, and built up a loyal fan base along the way.

Samichlaus, the Swiss-German name for Saint Nicholas, is an enormous dopplebock weighing in at 1.140 specific gravity that undergoes nearly a year of lagering before being bottled and enjoyed in the following year's holiday season. Despite the founding breweries closure, this festive lager was able to live on through homebrewers and eventually another commercial brewery, Braurei Schloss Eggenberg, in 2000.

AHA Governing Committee member Drew Beechum describes how his homebrew club, the Maltose Falcons, turned December 6 into their own Samichlaus tradition:

"The Falcons had a long love affair with Samichlaus since we have quite a few guys who specialize in lagers. They would get together every year and taste the vintages. Just before I joined the club, though, Hürlimann Brewery closed down —no more Samichlaus.

Kevin Baranowski and the rest of the crew eventually decided that this just wouldn't stand, so every December we got together and brewed a scant 5.5 gallons of the brew. Over the years we tried a number of lager yeasts and Kevin shepherded the beer through its near year of fermenting at lager temps. We finally nailed the beer in all of its strong sweet massively potent glory when White Labs released the "Zurich Lager" strain.

The best way to do it—brew a smaller beer ahead of time and use the entire yeast cake, all of it, to get the fermentation down to the right gravity. When you're dealing with a 1.140 starting gravity you need all the help you can get!"

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Falconclaws (Samichlaus)

"Weizenbock is like dunkelweizen on steroids," according to the authors Jamil Zainasheff and John J. Palmer in their book, Brewing Classic Styles, where we grabbed this recipe. It's a rich, spicy and malty style that tastes great when aged. Brew it now and when winter really sets in, you'll have a delicious beer to share—or not—your choice!Read More



If you have never tried a German-style rye beer, you are missing out! It is much the same as a dunkelweizen, except the rye is utilized instead of wheat. The result is a full-bodied ale with interesting spicy character from the rye.

This recipe won Stacy Myers of Fort Worth, Texas a gold medal at the National Homebrew Competition in 2010. Rye-style beers can seem a bit daunting for homebrewers, but are well worth the effort.

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Roggen “German Rye Beer”

This recipe is featured in AHA founder Charlie Papazian's book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing.

From Charlie Papazian: "Although the honey may seem unusual for this traditional style of beer, it adds a character reminiscent of Authentic Czech pilsener. It is one malt-extract beer that has come close to the lusciousness of the twentieth-century brewed Pilsner Urquell or the original full-flavored and wonderful malt- and hop-graced Czech Budweiser. The use of light honey in this recipe helps introduce the character of a light-bodied pilsener while celebrating the roundness of malt and the crispness of hops. Simply brewed, Propensity Czech Pilsener is a treat for the connoisseur of true, traditional, and original Czech-style lagers."

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Propensity Pilsener Lager

Don't expect this dark dunkelweizen to be too big or rich, this refreshing German-style wheat beer is a fruity and malty wheat-based ale, with a hint of spice. This delicious and simple recipe is featured in the book Brewing Classic Styles by Jamil Zainasheff and John J. Palmer, which can be found in the AHA Store. Prost!Read More


Trigo Oscuro