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Old 04-18-2011, 05:35 PM   #1
ColoradoHomebrew
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Default Altbier extract

I started brewing 5 weeks ago and have tasted my first of 4 batches so far, which is a Kolsch. All I can say is fantastic. So now I am trying to become more efficient in my process as far as cost. I've started purchasing hops in bulk and now want to harvest yeast from my bottles of Kolsch. I've built a simple recepie for the Kolsch yeast as a Alt Bier:
6 lbs Munich DME
1 lb Pilsen LME
12 OZ 10L
8 OZ 40L
1 OZ traditional @60
.5 OZ Hallertau @ 45
1 OZ Hallertau @ 5

Any thoughts on my recipie and a timeline for harvesting yeast from a bottle? I know I need to pitch 2 or 3 bottles into a starter, but I am not sure how long or how many times to add wort to get to pitching on brew day.

Also, Now knowing it is easier to harvest from a fermenter, I was reading a post on tastybrew to put them in sealed mason jars. I have Weizen and Trapist in fermentation and would like to do that. Will that last long without rupturing in the fridge?

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Old 04-18-2011, 05:51 PM   #2
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I am guessing you don't have a stir plate since you are relatively new?


Bottle to appropriately sized starter will depend on the freshness of your bottles and should take ~3 days to grow up and step from a small-ish 250ml starter to something like a 2L starter (rough estimate, use Mr Malty to be sure).


Recipe looks decent enough. You could ditch the 10L crystal (won't lend much given the amount of munich) and add Carafa II in small quantity for color if you want to darken it at all. You are going to want to finish dry, which is hard to do with extracts, so minimize the amount of crystal unfermentables you add.

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Old 04-18-2011, 06:16 PM   #3
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No stir plate. Will that expadite growing?

Also, I am trying to resist the urge to jump into all grain until I've done plenty of extract. Can you explain what you meant by finishing dry and how that corelated with extract and crystal?

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Old 04-18-2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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Stir plate will produce a higher cell count and provides a continuous oxygen source for the little buggers to reproduce more efficiently (slightly different goal in making starters vs making fermented beer). Basically it's just more efficient and the yeast will reach a higher maximum colony density and do so more quickly.

Finishing dry can mean a few things. Altbiers should finish in the 1.010-1.015 range and I prefer on the lower end, personally. Some people term this as "finishing dry". Some people refer to the level of residual sweetness (which is more a perceived trait than a measurable trait).

I was referring to the low FG.

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Old 04-18-2011, 06:40 PM   #5
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I've been reading up on German styles this morning on germanbeerinstitute.com,altbier is basically old style ale. They say it's "Copper colored,cool fermented,cold conditioned,clean tasting,with an aromatic hop presence,a firm creamy head,a medium body,& a dry finish". I'd think you could sub in some dextrose to dry it out enough to catch said dryness on the finish.
It is also said to be the oldest continually brewed style in the world,going back some 3,000 years!
It is said to be brewed with a specialty ale yeast at a cool 55F-67F. Then aged for 1-2 months like a lager to bring out it's mellow maltiness & aromatic hoppiness. ABV% is typically 4.7-4.9%. I've found that my Summer Pale ale's hop character improves with age as much as the malt character,which has a mellow sweet biscotti-like quality. It now has an earthy/smokey,ripe fruitiness that has some lemon grass notes with a hint of spice under that. So,I can see why they give it some good conditioning time. Hops & malt characteristics can improve with age. But,IMHO,it has to be part of the boil to do so,if that makes any sense. Just judging from my own experiments...
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Old 04-18-2011, 07:20 PM   #6
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Thanks for all of the input. Of my 3 batches that have reached FG, they have been 1.010 (weizen) and 1.012 (Kolsch and brown ale). I don't know what exacly causes this but I will assume I have a good 2nd fermentation location(constant 63F).

I am assuming that most brewers start harvesting yeast eventually instead of paying $6-$8 at the store for every batch.

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