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Füchschen Alt Clone - First Homebrew Recipe (Feedback appreciated!)

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Lilum

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So, as you can see by the title, this is going to be my first brew. I posted a long while ago here in the forums asking about the difference between batch sparging and decoction mashing (lol). I've since learned that one of these isn't a mashing process, but I digress.

ANYWAY, my first post here on the site is all the introduction necessary. This here's a recipe I've almost completely ripped from user @passedpawn shared back in 2012: The Ollie Alt. All my obsessive research on this topic has led me to this grain bill:

--------------------------------------------

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Wyeast 1007 German Ale
Batch Size: 10 Liters
Estimated OG (According to Brewer's Friend Efficiency Calc): 1.050
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.013
Boiling Time: 60 Minutes
IBUs: 39
Color: 14 SRM
Primary Fermentation Time: 7-10 Days
Secondary Fermentation/Lagering Time: 3-5 Weeks
Grain Bill:
1.875 kg German Pilsner Malt (89.3%)
125 g Caramunich III Malt (6%)
50 g Carafa II Malt (2.4%)
50 g Acid Malt (2.4%)
Hop Schedule:
30 g Saaz Hops - ( 26.8% ) - IBUs 28.17
30 g Saaz Hops - ( 20.6% ) - IBUs 10.82

--------------------------------------------

So yeah, that's the recipe. You'll spot two differences in the recipe. The first is that I'm using Carafa II instead of Chocolate Wheat, but this is more a cuz o' the circumstances choice as it's hard to find a website here in France that has what I'm looking for in stock, and crushable. I'm brewing on a budget here, waiting for parts to come in to build my Igloo Mash Tun. Sadly, homebrew stores in France, from what I've seen, are very few and far between.

Secondly, Saaz, Saaz, and more Saaz houblons. I'm somewhat torn on this one, and I'm very much open to a convincing argument as to why so much Saaz is not a good exclusive hop to use, but hear me out. MoreBeer's article on Brewing in Styles: Altbier lists somewhere in that article that Zatec (or Saaz hops) are occasionally used in alt recipes. Additionally, they mention that my All Time Favorite No. 1 Beer, Füchschen Alt, uses exclusively Saaz hops.
As it's a small brew batch, it won't be hard to hit the amount of Saaz necessary to act as bittering hops. Also, a lot of people have described this beer as having a strong dry, herbal, earthy, or minerally finish. Whether this is due to the Saaz or just a hearty helping of Magnum tossed into the wort is unknown to me, and whether they've changed it from when PassedPawn last visited the Brauerei is something I don't think I'll be able to find out very easily unless I go visit the brewers directly (ain't happening any time soon, that's for sure).

Here is where I'd like some help, however. I'm struggling to find a mash type that I wanna start out with, and I've kinda narrowed it down. I don't think I wanna do a double (or even a triple, for that matter) decoction quite yet, as this is my first brew. However, I'd also like to eek a liiiiittle bit of complexity into the brew day process just for the hell of it. This would be by either doing a step mash from acid rest directly to saccharification rest (I've heard poor things about protein rests and basic malts like Pils/Caramunichs) or doing this nifty method I found while browsing various alt recipes. Either way, I plan on vorlaufing but my choice between fly sparge and batch sparge is still torn.

That being said, I've plugged my strike/sparge numbers into a calculator and come up with this total amount of water needed. If it seems too thin, too thick, in between, lemme know!

Screenshot_3.png


I'll be using three 5 liter jugs of mineral water balanced at a PH of around 7.5-7.7, although if I can locate some spring water jugs with a lower PH (7.3ish range, like the stuff I use for my coffee brewing water cuz I'm a coffee nerd too), I'll probably go for those instead.

Looking forward to hearing feedback on this recipe! I'll probably be brewing late February as the ball valve + bazooka filter I ordered for the Igloo conversion are slated to arrive on the 20th, a couple weeks after everything else.

Cheers, Prost, happy brewing, and stay safe out there!
 
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Did you see this thread? Lots of pictures and info there.

Recipe looks fine. Regarding hops, I'm sure Ollie told me that the pellets (late hops) were Tradition (aka German Hallertauer Tradition). No record of what the boil hops were ( they were in the form of canned extract ). But boil hops only contribute bitterness, not flavor or aroma, just just mind the IBUs there and don't worry much what hop.

As you first brew, I'd highly recommend a single mash temperature. There are likely going to be some challenges that you haven't anticipated during the session, so you should keep the process as simple as possible. My first grain-based brew was a complete disaster - very discouraging.

For water, you might consider using software (Beersmith?). It can help a lot with quantities and temperatures.

Good luck, and be sure to let us know how it turns out.
 
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Lilum

Lilum

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Did you see this thread? Lots of pictures and info there.

Recipe looks fine. Regarding hops, I'm sure Ollie told me that the pellets (late hops) were Tradition (aka German Hallertauer Tradition). No record of what the boil hops were ( they were in the form of canned extract ). But boil hops only contribute bitterness, not flavor or aroma, just just mind the IBUs there and don't worry much what hop.

As you first brew, I'd highly recommend a single mash temperature. There are likely going to be some challenges that you haven't anticipated during the session, so you should keep the process as simple as possible. My first grain-based brew was a complete disaster - very discouraging.

For water, you might consider using software (Beersmith?). It can help a lot with quantities and temperatures.

Good luck, and be sure to let us know how it turns out.
Thanks for the well wishes! I’m thinking I’ll start with the Saaz hops for now to see how it turns out. The total IBUs on my brewer’s friend recipe total up to just a couple hundredths under 40.

I’ll definitely start with an infusion mash then! Any temperature you’d recommend? I’ve seen that 152-153 seems to be a sweet spot. I’m looking to make a relatively light beer (around 4.9% as you can see according to the recipe) so I’m not sure if I should be gravitating towards a temperature favoring Alpha amylase or favoring Beta amylase

I’ll likely just do a standard 50-60 minute infusion mash + vorlauf + batch sparge.

for the water, I’ve been using MoreBeer’s and Brewer’s Friend’s calculator. They seem to be pretty good, and I can always dilute it later on if I’m not hitting my target gravity. That’s the hope anyway! I’m gonna keep some DME on hand also in case the gravity is super low for some reason (e.g. super terrible efficiency)

but anyway, thanks again. I was hoping you’d weigh in, as your home brew recipe gave me hope for replicating a very hard to find beer in anywhere else but Germany. I’ll do a whole brew day post with photos (even if it turns out to be a disaster, and there’ll be more photos following once the beer is racked to a secondary vessel and when it’s finally served! Thanks for the help :D
 
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FYI, I had a look at my notes. Some more info:

From Beer and Loafing in Las Vegas - From the HBD Archive:

While at Im Fuchschen I was behaving like a
typical beer geek and sticking my nose into the beer glass, holding it up to
the light, etc.. A young man sitting across the table from me pointed to my
Otter Creek Brewery t-shirt and asked if I was a brewer. I told him I'm a
homebrewer and that I'm interested in duplicating (dusselicating?) this style
of beer. He said that he was a brewer for a large commercial brewery in
Berlin, and although he brews lagers, he knows how they brew the alts as well.
Then he took a coaster from the table and diagrammed out the mash sequence for
an altbier! It was like this:
Mash in at 52 degrees C for 20 minutes; step up to 62 degrees C for 40 to 50
minutes; then to 72 degrees C for 15 minutes; mash out at 100 degrees C for 20
minutes. He recommended sparging with 78 C water
Also, Im Fuchschen uses Carafa. They told me that. I used chocolate wheat upon recommendation from Zum Uerige brewmaster Dr. Frank Hebmuller.
 
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Lilum

Lilum

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FYI, I had a look at my notes. Some more info:

From Beer and Loafing in Las Vegas - From the HBD Archive:



Also, Im Fuchschen uses Carafa. They told me that. I used chocolate wheat upon recommendation from Zum Uerige brewmaster Dr. Frank Hebmuller.
This is absolutely wonderful, holy crap. So they do a sort of step mash. That might be a challenge to execute in a cooler mash tun. I might still stick to infusion for the first batch as I’ve ordered enough for two batches worth of crushed malts. If the infusion turns out great, I’ll give this step mash a try.
 
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Lilum

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10 liters of mash water seems rather much for that amount of grain, and 4 liters of sparge water a wee bit cheap, are you sure you have calculated in the amount of water the grain will absorb during the mash?
Honestly, I don’t think I calculated that in. I may have to recalculate. For reference, what would be a good general amount of strike and sparge water be? I honestly don’t have the faintest idea 😂
 

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For water in the mash(strike water) about 2.5 liter per kilo malt is a good rule of thumb.As for sparge water I use beersmith so it calculates that for me, with the drawback that it overestimates grain absorption instead, and I have to use 0.5 - 1L less than estimated depending on gravity. I am not at the computer right now so I cant see the numbers my software calculates on, but a quick Google search on "grain absorption mash" or something similair would probably turn up something useful. And be sure to measure your wort before boil and campare with the amount you estimated to get, in order to make adjustments for future brews.
 

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Did you see this thread? Lots of pictures and info there.

Recipe looks fine. Regarding hops, I'm sure Ollie told me that the pellets (late hops) were Tradition (aka German Hallertauer Tradition). No record of what the boil hops were ( they were in the form of canned extract ). But boil hops only contribute bitterness, not flavor or aroma, just just mind the IBUs there and don't worry much what hop.

As you first brew, I'd highly recommend a single mash temperature. There are likely going to be some challenges that you haven't anticipated during the session, so you should keep the process as simple as possible. My first grain-based brew was a complete disaster - very discouraging.

For water, you might consider using software (Beersmith?). It can help a lot with quantities and temperatures.

Good luck, and be sure to let us know how it turns out.
Oh, my! About 15 years ago I was traveling quite frequently to Dusseldorf (12-15 times per year, for a few days at a time) and absolutely fell in love with altbiers. I've been to each of the breweries/restaurants mentioned in the link. Brought back many good memories. Thanks for posting.
 
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Oh! I’d also like to ask, do you make use of any PH meters or papers? Or is that somewhat of an unnecessary purchase for now?
I have a pH meter, but I don't think you should mess with that now. pH can make the difference between a good and great beer, but as a new brewer you should focus on making ANY beer right now. As I said, my first experience ended up on the grass.
 
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Lilum

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I have a pH meter, but I don't think you should mess with that now. pH can make the difference between a good and great beer, but as a new brewer you should focus on making ANY beer right now. As I said, my first experience ended up on the grass.
I'm gonna be taking as much care as I can. I've ordered some extra cushion in terms of ingredients in case that goes awry. I'm hoping it goes well, but I'll try to be ready for the worst.
As for pH, I'll hold off on investing in a meter. I know strips aren't the most accurate, but I have those on hand for a general ballpark deal. That being said, I'll be using spring water from the store, and I read that crystal malts (plus the addition of the acid malt) should bring pH levels down to a very suitable level without any additional mineral ingredients.

In the meantime, I've got buckets on hand that I'll be washing, cleaning thoroughly, and filling with Star San solution. Gonna dump just about everything I've got that'll be touching wort in that (+ more on top of that too, like the yeast packet), and I'll be sanitizing the mash tun before anything goes there too. Really hyped to get started with this whole setup! :)
 
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For water in the mash(strike water) about 2.5 liter per kilo malt is a good rule of thumb.As for sparge water I use beersmith so it calculates that for me, with the drawback that it overestimates grain absorption instead, and I have to use 0.5 - 1L less than estimated depending on gravity. I am not at the computer right now so I cant see the numbers my software calculates on, but a quick Google search on "grain absorption mash" or something similair would probably turn up something useful. And be sure to measure your wort before boil and campare with the amount you estimated to get, in order to make adjustments for future brews.
From what I've been searching through, that seems just about right. I'm thinking that I'll end up with around 5.5 liters of water total for the 2.1 kg batch, with around 10 liters of sparge water on hand. Dunno if I'll need all of it. Does that seem like a good ratio at all?
 

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It seems more reasonable than your first numbers, try and see where it gets you. The amount of sparge water depends on how much wort you want to college, wich in turn depends on your boil off rate and how long you boil. And if you are off a bit it's no big deal, take notes and adjust for it the next time.
 
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I never considered too much water a problem. Too much in the mash only helps quicken starch conversion, and too much sparge can be boiled off in the boil pot. Of course, boiling longer with a light pilsner isn't ideal, but with any malty beer, I don't see a problem with it.

While sparging, you'll know in real-time when you've got enough. I never measure sparge water - I just sparge until I get to 13 gallons in my boil kettle.
 
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And by the way, I sparge with cool water often. I'd like to use heated water, but when I do back-to-back batches, I run out of hot water on the second batch. In my experience, it has very little effect on the resulting beer or the vorlaufing. I think my lautering efficiency dropped 1 or 2 percent (where efficiency is sugars into boil kettle / available sugars in the mash). Might not be a concern of yours, but it also might come up. Might also be equipment-dependant, don't know.
 
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And by the way, I sparge with cool water often. I'd like to use heated water, but when I do back-to-back batches, I run out of hot water on the second batch. In my experience, it has very little effect on the resulting beer or the vorlaufing. I think my lautering efficiency dropped 1 or 2 percent (where efficiency is sugars into boil kettle / available sugars in the mash). Might not be a concern of yours, but it also might come up. Might also be equipment-dependant, don't know.
That's actually really nice to know. I might still snag a cheap 10+ liter pot to heat sparge water in, but if I'm running low on budget with the wort chiller and maybe a keg, I'll probably nix it. Thanks!
 
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