Altbier Recipe

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TheMadKing

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I want to try this Northern German Recipe by @greencoat with a couple modifications and I'd like to get some feedback on my mods before I try them.

So I'm doing BIAB and here is what I plan to do, my changes to the orgirinal are in bold

10.7 lbs of grain in the mash:

9 lb Pilsen
1 lb Munich Dark
0.4 lb Crystal 60L
0.3 lb Roasted Barley (this is to help lower mash pH because I'm doing full volume mash and have pretty alkaline water)

Strike my mash with 7 gallons @ 158F and rest for 90 min. Target mash temp is 150F.

pull the bag and squeeze like hell

Boil 90 mins.

1 oz Hallertauer (4.7%aa) @ 90 min for 15 IBUs

1 oz Saaz (Czech) pellet (3.3%aa) 45 min for 18 IBUs
2 oz Saaz (Czech) pellet (3.3% aa) @ flame out for more hop nose

Cool to ~63F and pitch a big healthy starter of Wyeast 2565 - Kölsch yeast.

I plan to use a large starter and a 10-20% overpitch for a slightly cleaner drier ferment to try to give this altbier a slightly more "Oktoberfest Lager" quality since I don't have the ability to actually lager it.

Am I about to do anything terribly wrong here as far as you recipe gurus are concerned? I'm a bit worried about a destructively explosive fermentation with that strain and an overpitch.
 

jtratcliff

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Here's a recipe from Kai that I've brewed once:
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=49953&referrerid=147535


It came out very nice. It uses all Munich for the base with some caramunich and carafa II. It also calls for a step mash and a decoction (which is fun to try if you haven't, yet).

The thread is decently long, so maybe you'll find something of interest there.

Other than brewing this one recipe, I don't know much about Alts :D
 

stpug

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I think your roasted barely addition is bordering on too much flavor. I would opt for either the original recipe's addition or a debittered black malt addition instead. Lactic acid is a much better way of managing alkalinity in your source water than using black malts in non-roasty beers. IMO.

I'm not seeing the amount of malt character I would want to have in an Altbier with that recipe but that's just my subjectivity coming through. More munich, less pilsner would be the way I'd approach this.

Cheers!
 

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I think your roasted barely addition is bordering on too much flavor. I would opt for either the original recipe's addition or a debittered black malt addition instead. Lactic acid is a much better way of managing alkalinity in your source water than using black malts in non-roasty beers. IMO.

I'm not seeing the amount of malt character I would want to have in an Altbier with that recipe but that's just my subjectivity coming through. More munich, less pilsner would be the way I'd approach this.

Cheers!

I agree with this. I used mostly Munich in my recent Altbier and it came out very well. Love the malty backbone and am surprised at it's drinkability. Your recipe looks good but I'd balance the base with more Munich if possible.
 
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TheMadKing

TheMadKing

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Thanks for the recipe @jtratcliff ! I'll definitely borrow from it, and I'll follow @stpug 's advice and up the munich to 50% of the grist. I want a slightly less malty Altbier thats at the crossroads between an Altbier, a kolsch, and an Oktoberfest (if that makes any sense) so I'm hesitant to go full munich.

I'll drop the roasted barley back down to 0.2 and add some lactic acid too. Thanks all!
 

fantomlord

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I think your roasted barely addition is bordering on too much flavor. I would opt for either the original recipe's addition or a debittered black malt addition instead. Lactic acid is a much better way of managing alkalinity in your source water than using black malts in non-roasty beers. IMO.

I'm not seeing the amount of malt character I would want to have in an Altbier with that recipe but that's just my subjectivity coming through. More munich, less pilsner would be the way I'd approach this.

Cheers!
^that. you could always use some acidulated malt, or lactic acid to pH adjust if you're concerned
 

Schreiner

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I would replace your roasted barley with enough carafa III dehusked to hit your target color. For more munich character I would also replace you generic 60L caramel with caramunich (60L). My 2 cents.
 
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TheMadKing

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Ok so my new grain bill after running your advice through my brewing software is:

5lb Pilsner (46.8%)
5lb Munich (46.8%)
0.5lb Caramunich (4.7%)
0.2lb Roasted Barley (1.8%)

OG 1.052 FG 1.005
6.1% ABV, SRM 18, 47 IBU
 

stpug

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I want a slightly less malty Altbier thats at the crossroads between an Altbier, a kolsch, and an Oktoberfest (if that makes any sense) so I'm hesitant to go full munich.
5lb Pilsner (46.8%)
5lb Munich (46.8%)
0.5lb Caramunich 60 (4.7%)
0.2lb Roasted Barley (1.8%)

OG 1.052 FG 1.005
6.1% ABV, SRM 18, 47 IBU
Alt - bready malty with hints of crust, firm bitterness, color dark amber
Kolsch - grainy malty with no bread or crust, balanced bitterness, color straw
Festbier - bready munich malty, balanced bitterness, color light amber

I would say that your newest recipe puts you very much in the altbier style in nearly every respect - no problems there. I say brew it and adjust it next time if you think it needs it. I suspect it'll make an excellent beer!!

Cheers!
 
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TheMadKing

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:eek: Why such a long wait? You could almost be bottling on Aug 9th if you brewed today :D
I'm in the process of combining households with my girlfriend, plus a full time job, plus taking classes, plus a weekend at the lake thats been planned for months. I wish I could brew it yesterday! :D
 

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Ok so my new grain bill after running your advice through my brewing software is:

5lb Pilsner (46.8%)
5lb Munich (46.8%)
0.5lb Caramunich (4.7%)
0.2lb Roasted Barley (1.8%)

OG 1.052 FG 1.005
6.1% ABV, SRM 18, 47 IBU
I just don't like the roasted barley in the altbier. I'd go with the Munich and pilsner, a bit of caraMunich, and then if you want the traditional dark color just use some some sinimar or dehusked carafa II. Roasted barley is, well, roasty. Using a roasty malt to adjust the pH is probably not something that I'd do. You can use some acidulated malt or phosphoric acid or lactic acid for pH adjustment, without damaging the flavor.
 
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TheMadKing

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I just don't like the roasted barley in the altbier. I'd go with the Munich and pilsner, a bit of caraMunich, and then if you want the traditional dark color just use some some sinimar or dehusked carafa II. Roasted barley is, well, roasty. Using a roasty malt to adjust the pH is probably not something that I'd do. You can use some acidulated malt or phosphoric acid or lactic acid for pH adjustment, without damaging the flavor.
That's 2 suggestions for Carafa, it's just pretty hard to find at my LHBS, but I intend to order some lactic acid anyway so I'll go ahead and get the Carafa as well. Thanks Yooper!
 

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That's 2 suggestions for Carafa, it's just pretty hard to find at my LHBS, but I intend to order some lactic acid anyway so I'll go ahead and get the Carafa as well. Thanks Yooper!
Do they have any dehusked dark malt (maybe it's not labeled "carafa II)?

Otherwise, midnight wheat would work (since wheat doesn't have a husk).
 
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TheMadKing

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Do they have any dehusked dark malt (maybe it's not labeled "carafa II)?

Otherwise, midnight wheat would work (since wheat doesn't have a husk).
I'm not sure so I'll have to check next time I'm there (it's in the next town over), but at least I know what to look for now. Thanks!
 

Gavin C

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I think your adjustments to the recipe look solid although my experience with Alts equates to one batch recently made. I'd brew it as is if your happy and see how it tastes.

In doing research into the Alt recipe,(my first ever from scratch), I realized that there a great variety of ways to make an Alt in particular in achieving the appropriate color.

I did a step mash on mine with a simple single decoction. Single infusion would also work well. I didn't include any late hop additions in mine and used Spalter.

I used some Aromatic, Caramunich, Carafa II Special totaling ~10% of the grist. Pilsner was my base. WLP036 with a big fat starter. Fermented at 58F
 
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TheMadKing

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I think your adjustments to the recipe look solid although my experience with Alts equates to one batch recently made. I'd brew it as is if your happy and see how it tastes.

In doing research into the Alt recipe,(my first ever from scratch), I realized that there a great variety of ways to make an Alt in particular in achieving the appropriate color.

I did a step mash on mine with a simple single decoction. Single infusion would also work well. I didn't include any late hop additions in mine and used Spalter.

I used some Aromatic, Caramunich, Carafa II Special totaling ~10% of the grist. Pilsner was my base. WLP036 with a big fat starter.
Thanks! This is my first alt as well, and I was leery about changing the recipe so much, but it's encouraging to know that its a forgiving style with a wide array of options. :mug:
 

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I would second that replacing Roasted Barley with Carafa, but I use Carafa II in my recipe; why not go with German Lager Yeast?
 
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I would second that replacing Roasted Barley with Carafa, but I use Carafa II in my recipe; why not go with German Lager Yeast?
The Kolsch yeast is what the original recipe called for, and I want something with a high attenuation at ale fermentation temps. I don't have fermentation temp control beyond a cool room and a swamp cooler.
 

Gavin C

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WLP036 is a Dusseldorf strain which is well suited to an Alt. I would use that unless you already have the Kolsch yeast. It should work well too.

It attenuated well for me 1.050 to 1.010

I also used a little acid malt owing to my full-volume no-sparge approach.
 
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TheMadKing

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WLP036 is a Dusseldorf strain which is well suited to an Alt. I would use that unless you already have the Kolsch yeast. It should work well too.

It attenuated well for me 1.050 to 1.010

I also used a little acid malt owing to my full-volume no-sparge approach.
I was intending to do a full volume no-sparge as well with a little lactic acid to get my pH down.

I also am not intending to make a super traditional Alt, I want a bit more of a lighter body like an oktoberfest which is also why I liked the Kolsch yeast. My LHBS also only carries wyeast, so I'd have to go with a german ale WY1007.

Do you think the Kolsch yeast will produce off flavors since it usually favors a cooler ferment?
 

solbes

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I have made 2 Alts with Kolsch 2565 yeast and was very pleased. About to make my third. I have fermented at 56f and 58F. Maybe split the difference this time at 57. Over 60F and you really accentuate the white wine and fruity flavors. They are in the background at 58F.

Contrary to most, I use a splash of roasted barley and light chocolate in my recipe (mainly for color). 1 oz of each only. Also 2 lbs of dark Munich, 0.5 lb of caramunich, with pilsner base. For flavor/aroma hops I like an equal proportion of Spalt and Tettnang. Cheers!
 
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I have made 2 Alts with Kolsch 2565 yeast and was very pleased. About to make my third. I have fermented at 56f and 58F. Maybe split the difference this time at 57. Over 60F and you really accentuate the white wine and fruity flavors. They are in the background at 58F.

Contrary to most, I use a splash of roasted barley and light chocolate in my recipe (mainly for color). 1 oz of each only. Also 2 lbs of dark Munich, 0.5 lb of caramunich, with pilsner base. For flavor/aroma hops I like an equal proportion of Spalt and Tettnang. Cheers!
Ok thats great to know! I don't want fruity at all, I want clean and dry, so I'm thinking I should go with the German Ale yeast after all, thanks!
 

Gavin C

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I was intending to do a full volume no-sparge as well with a little lactic acid to get my pH down.

I also am not intending to make a super traditional Alt, I want a bit more of a lighter body like an oktoberfest which is also why I liked the Kolsch yeast. My LHBS also only carries wyeast, so I'd have to go with a german ale WY1007.

Do you think the Kolsch yeast will produce off flavors since it usually favors a cooler ferment?
The Kolsch yeast will accenuate hops more (or so they say). That was why I went with the Alt yeast over the Kolsch. I have WLP029 in the fridge. If your ferment control is good I don't think you will get off flavors. That yeast coupled with your late hop additions will maybe give it more of a hoppy note not nesecarily consistent with an Alt. But,if like you said, staying true to the style is not a big concern than it's not a problem.

As far as I know, a cool ferment is important for an Alt as it is more akin to a lager rather than an ale. A clean malty beer being the goal

Bear in mind, my experience with Alts exceeds yours by 1 batch. Take any suggestions of mine with this in mind.
 
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