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Old 06-26-2009, 06:00 PM   #1
chirs
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Default Brewers Best German Altbier

Hi there. This is my first HBT post. I have to say, ya'll have helped me out tremendously!
So I purchased my gear and a Brewers Best ingredient kit and began my "German Altbier" a week ago.
It's been in primary for 7 days. Unfortunately, the weather here in Chicago has been incredibly hot this past week. The plastic fermenter has been sitting in a dark corner of the basement at about 75-78º.

I'm wondering...how bad is that temperature range for the beer?
Also, I've read that alts generally benefit from a prolonged secondary fermentation at lower temperatures (~45º?). I found a fridge in the basement of my apartment building (among other, less savory, things past tenants have left...) – so that is something I think I could do.
Do I even need to rack to secondary for this style of beer? Could I just put my primary in the fridge today?

Thanks!

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Old 06-27-2009, 12:04 AM   #2
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It depends on exactly what sort of yeast you were using, but odds are that those temperatures would have been bad, but not entirely disastrous for your beer. It'll certainly have lots more fruity aromas and flavours (from esters) than a typical alt, which would usually ferment at a temp more like 60F.

Alts are usually lagered (cold conditioned.) This helps clean up some off flavours and helps clarify the beer. Lagering is one of the things that makes alts as clean tasting and smooth drinking as they are. Using a secondary for lagering is a probably a good idea. Leaving it on the primary yeast for another 2-4 weeks will probably not result in autolysis and off flavours, but using a secondary will probably give you a somewhat clearer beer (in this case at least. Lagering is one of the only reasons I use a secondary myself.)

That said, I'm not sure if lagering your beer is really that necessary. After your fermentation temp problems, you aren't really making an alt anymore anyway, so it's not really necessary to follow the traditional process for one anymore.

An interesting idea might be to bottle most of it and put 1-2 gallons in a smaller secondary and use your usual fridge to lager it. That way you'll open up your primary fermenter for a new batch sooner and you'll get to learn a bit about what lagering does for a beer.

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Last edited by oswiu; 06-27-2009 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 06-27-2009, 01:21 AM   #3
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BB kits usually have a notty yeast. I have never done the alt though. Let me know how it turns out.

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Old 06-27-2009, 02:10 AM   #4
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Do a search for Kaiser's Altbeir thread. Lotsa good info there.

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Old 06-27-2009, 05:25 PM   #5
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oswiu, I really like that idea of lagering in a smaller secondary. I got off work a bit early yesterday and decided I want to "play" with my new beer gear obsession (what have I gotten myself into...) so I did rack to secondary. It went pretty smooth! I was surprised by how dark the beer is, though. It looked a bit more amber in my hydrometer flask (which I broke bc those stupid end caps popped off).
My OG was 1.051 and I racked to secondary at 1.024. Is that saying anything for anyone? The recipe's OG is 1.044-1.048 and FG 1.008 - 1.014.
Also...it tasted great but I couldn't detect any alcohol (not sure if I'm supposed to at this point).

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