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Old 06-03-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
jigidyjim
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Mar 2009
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I'm brewing a Düsseldorf Altbier today for our local Oktoberfest competition this year. It's only my second brew day this year so far... been too busy to brew

Anyway, was reading up on the style a lot, and was wondering if anyone had thoughts on these two questions:

It seems that alt is a highly attenuated beer, but the wlp036 alt yeast seems to be a low attenuator... shouldn't the yeast strain for that style match the style description?

Secondly, and similarly, reading Designing Great Beers about this style was kind of funny. Basically it said the commercial examples of the style are completely different than the winners of the homebrew competitions... Seems to me that there is a mismatch here. I guess the styles are specific to homebrew competitions, and not commercial selling, so in general, that makes sense. But since this is style is so specific to a region in Germany, I would think that winners should have matched the historic style - as opposed to a style like Pale Ale or some such that mutates over the years, I would think that a historic style shouldn't change much...

Anyway, none of this is really that important, but it's what I'm pondering while brewing today.

Happy brew day!

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Old 06-03-2012, 08:52 PM   #2
jigidyjim
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Oh - and one thing I'm looking forward to: this will be the best altbier I've ever had (... and only...)...

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:56 PM   #3
frankieboy007
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Oct 2007
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If you ever have the opportunity, you should try to get hold of Alaskan Amber, which is actually an Altbier itself, though of the Northern German variety, I would think. Try Wyeast German Ale 1007, it attenuates well, and is for many styles of German Beer. It also works well down into the high 50's, giving it more lager-like characteristics. Hope this was helpful.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:46 PM   #4
amazinglarry
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Yeah, I would recommend 1007 as well. Pitch it cool and keep it there for the bulk of fermentation, 60 or under.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:06 PM   #5
neosapien
 
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Mar 2012
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heck yeah 1007. I just brewed myself a northern altbier yesterday and it's going wild. i would highly suggest a blow-off tube if you don't use them already. that yeast is a beast.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:10 PM   #6
gregkeller
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Feb 2011
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I have a batch of dusseldorf alt lagering right now at 32 degrees. I used wlp036 and it went from 1.050 to 1.011. I fermented at 60 degrees. The sample before lagering tasted out of this world. Then again, i've never had an altbier.

I also think that's why the ones that win competitions are not close to the real ones brewed in dusseldorf, most people have never been to dusseldorf to try them, so they don't know what they really taste like.
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Old 06-03-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
jigidyjim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregkeller
I have a batch of dusseldorf alt lagering right now at 32 degrees. I used wlp036 and it went from 1.050 to 1.011. I fermented at 60 degrees. The sample before lagering tasted out of this world. Then again, i've never had an altbier.
Cool. Just finished mine - it is at 1.053 and I'm waiting for it to hit 60 before pitching my wlp036. I might let the temp rise after a week or so, haven't decided yet. If mine gets below the predicted 1.016 I will be stoked.

 
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:21 AM   #8
JLem
 
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I brew an Alt every year and have the benefit of having a friend whose wife is from Dusseldorf. I've used them as my authenticity judges and I'm slowly dialing in the recipe. This year's version was a big hit. I used wlp036 and it finished at 1.012. No problems with attenuation. Full details about it here if anyone is interested - http://www.brewbybrew.com/2012/01/fr...2-altbier.html

My friend and his wife have tried many of the various American beers that claim to be Altbiers and they have not been happy with any of them. I think most tend to be too caramel-y and/or too over-hopped. I think the BJCP guidelines may overemphasize the bitterness on this style.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:20 AM   #9
jigidyjim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLem View Post
I brew an Alt every year and have the benefit of having a friend whose wife is from Dusseldorf. I've used them as my authenticity judges and I'm slowly dialing in the recipe. This year's version was a big hit. I used wlp036 and it finished at 1.012. No problems with attenuation. Full details about it here if anyone is interested - http://www.brewbybrew.com/2012/01/fr...2-altbier.html

My friend and his wife have tried many of the various American beers that claim to be Altbiers and they have not been happy with any of them. I think most tend to be too caramel-y and/or too over-hopped. I think the BJCP guidelines may overemphasize the bitterness on this style.
Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I definitely went hoppy on mine - pushing the boundaries of the bjcp guidelines. I used regular chocolate instead of chocolate wheat.

I'm still curious to know why the style seems to be so different than what is actually made in dusseldorf...

 
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:36 AM   #10
JLem
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jigidyjim View Post
Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I definitely went hoppy on mine - pushing the boundaries of the bjcp guidelines. I used regular chocolate instead of chocolate wheat.

I'm still curious to know why the style seems to be so different than what is actually made in dusseldorf...
I'm not sure that there is much difference between the chocolate wheat vs chocolate barley. But I've found that you don't need much and that too much can lend too much roastiness to the beer. I seem to decrease the amount of chocolate malt every year.

Not really sure why the guidelines seem to vary from the authentic versions. Maybe it's because the BJCP style authors are going by memory (I assume whomever wrote the guidelines for Dusseldorf Altbier had, at least, traveled to Dusseldorf and had some authentic versions)
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