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Old 08-03-2012, 01:00 AM   #1
Dirtyoldguy366
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Default What is altbier supposed to taste like?

I threw a party over the weekend to christen my new kegerator. I had an IPA, an APA, a Kolsch, and an Altbier.

All the beers were a hit except for the Altbier (although three of my friends said it was their favorite of the four).

To me it tastes just so weird I and I can't quite put my finger on it as every beer I've made I have found delicious except this one.

Aroma: Sulfur, malty, bready.
Flavor: Starts sweet (malty, bready, just plain sweet) and finishes bitter with a slight sulfury twang... Just plain weird all together though.

Is this normal for altbier?

Midwest kit: 7 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley, 2 lbs. Vienna, 12 oz. CaraRed, 1 oz. Carafa I, 2 oz. Crystal Bittering, 1 oz. Hallertau pellet hops Finishing

Mashed at 152

Primary fermentation was around 55 degrees for 7 days, I gave it 24 hours at room temperature, then around 40 for 7 days, kegged, burst carbed, then two weeks at 33. Yeast was wyeast 1007.

Now I'm wondering if I fermented too cold/not long enough.

Anything I could do to salvage this beer? I had three people rave about the stuff but everyone else said it tasted like a butt. I wouldn't mind the sulfur if it weren't so sweet!

Thanks

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:17 AM   #2
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Not quite sure. I just made one, but I had a brainfart and accidentally doubled the dark malt and overdid the hops a bit. So it's more of an altstout. It's good---no traces of the sulphury character. From my reading of the BJCP guidelines, I wouldn't expect that sort of character, but I've not ever tried one.

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Old 08-03-2012, 01:19 AM   #3
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Sounds like you've got some issues with your alt. It's normally a nice easy drinker.

I wonder if the "sulfury" is because of the lower fermentation temperature for the Wyeast 1007. I actually like that strain better at about 60 degrees, as I find it less fruity at 60 degrees than lower temps. But "sulfury" is never normal.

"Sweet" isn't normal, either. What was the OG/FG?

It should be a very clean beer with smoothness- kind of the German version of an English bitter- an everyday easy drinker with a firm bitterness.

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Old 08-03-2012, 02:14 AM   #4
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So I guess my low temps made it sulfury and overly sweet. I made a Kolsch the next day so the parameters were nearly identical (different recipe of course). Same yeast, same fermentation temps, times etc. The kolsch was nice and dry and tasted great, but the alt was all sweet and nasty. I'm not in the habit of taking FG's but this is the first ale I've tried to make at low temperatures so I think that may have been my mistake.

Could it be infected? I've always heard that infected beer will be undrinkable but I had a couple friends drink glass after glass of the stuff. I can drink one but its just not enjoyable.

Could it just not be fully attenuated? If so is there anything I could do now to make it taste better?

Thanks!

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Old 08-03-2012, 02:46 AM   #5
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Maybe you just don't like alts.

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:06 AM   #6
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Well I had that thought too... never tried a commercial example.

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtyoldguy366 View Post
Primary fermentation was around 55 degrees for 7 days, I gave it 24 hours at room temperature, then around 40 for 7 days, kegged, burst carbed, then two weeks at 33. Yeast was wyeast 1007.

Now I'm wondering if I fermented too cold/not long enough.
I'd say both. Fermenting 1007 @ 55F is asking a lot of it IMO. That combined with only a 7 day primary likely left a fair amount of residual sugars explaining the sweetness. The 1007 normally produces SO2 but additional fermentation time combined with cold conditioning time takes care of it. However, I'm inclined to think the alt was not given enough time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtyoldguy366 View Post
Anything I could do to salvage this beer? I had three people rave about the stuff but everyone else said it tasted like a butt. I wouldn't mind the sulfur if it weren't so sweet!

Thanks
Additional time may help with the SO2 but I don't think there's much you can do about the basic flavor.

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Midwest kit: 7 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley, 2 lbs. Vienna, 12 oz. CaraRed, 1 oz. Carafa I, 2 oz. Crystal Bittering, 1 oz. Hallertau pellet hops Finishing
To get a German beer to really taste like a German beer you need to use German malts IMHO. The domestic 2-row base is not the cause of your specific problems but on you next alt try the real deal.
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Old 08-03-2012, 03:28 AM   #8
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malty, smooth, crisp, somewhat bitter but little hop flavor or aroma. no sulfur, no twang. i'd like to make one but have been turned off, so far, due to the extended cold crash needed.

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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I read that sulfur dioxide can be removed by bubbling CO2 through the dip tube and venting the top of the keg. Is there merit to this, and has anyone tried it?

Any chance that bringing it to room temp and pitching a little dry yeast could bring things back to life to knock down the sweetness?

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:50 AM   #10
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Youre not in the habit of taking FG? You don't like knowing your ABV? Or if your beer is done fermenting? That should be a habit you develop ASAP. Don't take that too harshly, I just think its that critical.

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