What is "Alt" beer

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Miraculix

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Which German beers would traditionally be made using caramel malts, then? From what I've gathered from forums and online resources, caramel malts are not used for Münchner Dunkel or Altbier or Schwarzbier or Bockbier. I haven't read too much concerning (Dunkles) Weißbier, but it doesn't seem more plausible than for Münchner Dunkel, I'd say.

Exports are certainly a factor. But Belgium and England seem to have a rather rich tradition of producing their own malts. Besides, I'm somewhat sceptical if post-WWII Belgian brewers would buy German malts; with everything that had happened. Maybe the Czech republic?


Also, because it just popped into my head when I saw the thread's title and I always enjoy annoying people: "What is Alt? Oh baby, don't hurt me!"
I think traditionally, none. You might find some usage somewhere nowadays, but not often.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Which German beers would traditionally be made using caramel malts, then?
I'm the wrong person to be asking, I don't know the German market well enough, but don't forget that caramel malts aren't really "traditional" anywhere. Even in the UK they only really started to be used after WWI, and only really became common after WWII - within living memory. And from what I can make out, the likes of Weyermann and Best massively expanded their "speciality" operations in the last 30 years or so, before then it was far less important to them.

Exports are certainly a factor. But Belgium and England seem to have a rather rich tradition of producing their own malts.
There's plenty of other countries making beer beyond Belgium and the UK, there's another 25 countries in the EU for a start, almost all of which are not constrained by daft rules on what goes into beer. And eg British exports have inspired attempts to mimic British styles using local-ish ingredients in quite a lot of countries - a lot of the Belgian "tradition" has its origins in attempts to clone the beers drunk by soldiers in WWI for instance.

Besides, I'm somewhat sceptical if post-WWII Belgian brewers would buy German malts; with everything that had happened.
This isn't the place for an in-depth discussion of the complicated relationship between the Low Countries and Germany, but I will note that Belgium hosts most of the machinery of the EU, and IME the people of the Low Countries are pretty ... commercially orientated - if there's a deal to be done, they'll do it.
 

cyberbackpacker

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We're here for an annual visit (twin grandkids birthday, my birthday, and Halloween in St. Pete's, which is a major production). Last year's trip was postponed due to Covid, so my Mazzaro's itch was in serious need of scratching. We're also here to have some warranty issues resolved with Big Olaf the Gulfstream Zephyr (RV).
While you are in the area, go to La Teresita off of Park Blvd. and 66th St North. It's in an old Rax!?! Roast Beef Building, but has been there for 20-25 years. AMAZING authentic cuban food. The Roast Pork with black beans, yellow rice (white is more "traditional"), plantains, and a cafe con leche to eat with the cuban bread.... oh man!

I grew up there, my mom still lives there and so I visit frequently... but I (half-kid?!?) that I always stop at La Teresita first, and then to mom's!

Oh the Vaca Frita and the cuban sandwich are also favorites. But it is ALL quite tasty.

:mug:
 

Brooothru

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While you are in the area, go to La Teresita off of Park Blvd. and 66th St North. It's in an old Rax!?! Roast Beef Building, but has been there for 20-25 years. AMAZING authentic cuban food. The Roast Pork with black beans, yellow rice (white is more "traditional"), plantains, and a cafe con leche to eat with the cuban bread.... oh man!

I grew up there, my mom still lives there and so I visit frequently... but I (half-kid?!?) that I always stop at La Teresita first, and then to mom's!

Oh the Vaca Frita and the cuban sandwich are also favorites. But it is ALL quite tasty.

:mug:
Oh, I love me some Cuban quisine as well. Used to spend a lot of time in Miami. Bring on the beans and rice, and the Cafe Cubano con Leche. I'll definitely check out LA Teresita! Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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While you are in the area, go to La Teresita off of Park Blvd. and 66th St North. It's in an old Rax!?! Roast Beef Building, but has been there for 20-25 years. AMAZING authentic cuban food. The Roast Pork with black beans, yellow rice (white is more "traditional"), plantains, and a cafe con leche to eat with the cuban bread.... oh man!

I grew up there, my mom still lives there and so I visit frequently... but I (half-kid?!?) that I always stop at La Teresita first, and then to mom's!

Oh the Vaca Frita and the cuban sandwich are also favorites. But it is ALL quite tasty.

:mug:
yep. La terasita ftw. Man, when the pork's been simmering in fat for a few days, it's awesome! yellow rice, beans, now yer livin. Yellow is rice is just white rice with some turmeric added to the boil.
 

monkeymath

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... caramel malts aren't really "traditional" anywhere. Even in the UK they only really started to be used after WWI, and only really became common after WWII - within living memory. And from what I can make out, the likes of Weyermann and Best massively expanded their "speciality" operations in the last 30 years or so, before then it was far less important to them.
From what I could make out, Weyermann actually used to be predominantly a "Spezialmalzfabrik" and only later acquired the facilities to produce e.g. Pilsner malt. Possibly they didn't make a whole lot of crystal malt either, but rather "Sinamar", their liquid extract used to colour beer.
Maybe I'll try writing them an email.
 

jtratcliff

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I made this Dusseldorfer Altbier a few years ago (Kai Troester's recipe) ... including the decoction but not the priming w/ Kraeusen ... And it got good reviews from German friends who've actually had Altbier in Dusseldorf 😁

 

Noob_Brewer

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OK, finally, I am planning to brew my first altbier next brew. Been looking at these recipes for a while and the style etc. I know there seem to be strong opinions on these recipes ranging from very simple to more complex. Right now, for the grain bill I'm thinking of:

67% Pilsner (weyermann), 19% Munich I (weyermann), 6% Aromatic Malt (Briess), 6% Caramunich III (weyermann), and 2% Carafa special III (weyermann). Will be targeting ~40 IBUs using tettnang and Saaz (not sure about the Saaz). Yeast: Dusseldorf WLP036.

So my questions:

1) Aromatic, while probably not necessary, seems to be in some recipes but left out of others. Seems to me this is really just a dark Munich malt (I could be wrong) but I love the maltiness it brings to my belgian dubbels. Leave it in or drop it and up the Munich I to compensate? I am fine if this isn't a "by the book" Dusseldorf recipe but do want a nice malty backbone in this lighter yet crisp finishing ale.

2) Dusseldorf yeast: What attenuation are ya'll getting with this yeast? Im planning to step mash (149 for 40, 163 for 30, 170 for 10) so should be pretty fermentable but WLP shows its attenuation in the 65-72 range and my software is expecting a 75% AA with an OG of 1.051 and FG of 1.013. So not sure how to plan this yeast that I haven't used before. Was also planning on temping in the low range of 65F (WLP shows 65-69F). Planning on a higher pitch rate of 1.0 rather than a standard 0.75. Any thoughts on AA, Ferm temp, and pitch rate would be great here.
 
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wepeeler

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So far, this has been my favorite Altbier to date. I've done it with and without aromatic, but I prefer it with. 0.75oz Magnum at 60, 1oz Tettnang at 20 and 10. White Labs Dusseldorf yeast, fermented at 65. Had a blowoff. I would maybe back off a touch on the darker grains, but some people might prefer a little extra roastiness. The only other thing I would change is maybe the mash temp. I mashed at 150, but I would go 148 next time. I would prefer it a touch drier. Overall though, fantastic Altbier.

Gyazo
 

Noob_Brewer

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Just curious as to the water profile people are using for altbier. I am prepping to brew this and thinking of a standard "balanced" profile. Ca=50ppm, Mg-10ppm, Na=16ppm, SO4=74, CL=75

EDIT: wondering if I should up the Ca a bit to 80 and the Na to 25ish
 

wepeeler

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Just curious as to the water profile people are using for altbier. I am prepping to brew this and thinking of a standard "balanced" profile. Ca=50ppm, Mg-10ppm, Na=16ppm, SO4=74, CL=75

EDIT: wondering if I should up the Ca a bit to 80 and the Na to 25ish

Gyazo
 

Murph4231

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Someone wrote a book on it a few years ago:

[/QUOTE
Unfortunately the author was Horst Dornbusch.
Dornbusch's book is excellent reading material. While some may shy away from the style it is one of my favorites overall. Like Kolsch and preprohibition lager, they take a little extra effort here and there but when you get them right they make memorable home brews that make you proud to share with others.
 

balrog

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Just curious as to the water profile people are using for altbier. I am prepping to brew this and thinking of a standard "balanced" profile. Ca=50ppm, Mg-10ppm, Na=16ppm, SO4=74, CL=75

EDIT: wondering if I should up the Ca a bit to 80 and the Na to 25ish
Cl accentuates malt, SO4 accentuates hops, some have written SO4 subdues noble hops though.
I aim 100 Cl, 50-60 SO4, 80-100 Ca.
Everyone will have different tastes though, and these salts are about taste.
I also prefer "northern altbier" to the more bitter Dusseldorf altbier, but I also love brussels sprouts and detest lima beans.
YMMV.

But up the Cl.
 

Franktalk

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I'm not sure where I got this, but I always thought altbiers are supposed to be dry. I use Bru'nwater's amber dry profile and mine usually turn out malty but dry finishing. It seems to me that with a malty grain bill and a balanced water profile the finished beer will lack that characteristic dryness? Yes? No?
 

Noob_Brewer

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I'm not sure where I got this, but I always thought altbiers are supposed to be dry. I use Bru'nwater's amber dry profile and mine usually turn out malty but dry finishing. It seems to me that with a malty grain bill and a balanced water profile the finished beer will lack that characteristic dryness? Yes? No?
Tbh- I just don’t know as I haven’t have a true German altbier, only a few Americanized takes and one was really a darker adjunct rich altbier. That one was good but from what I’ve read not exactly what you’d find in Germany for sure. My understanding is it’s got a malt backbone that finishes crisp and tight without the residual malty sweetness on the end of the palate.
 

Noob_Brewer

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Well my first altbier attempt is in da books and up to yeast now to do their jobs. First time using Düsseldorf yeast WLP036 which has lower attenuation that most ale strains I’ve used. So I took @wepeeler advice and mashed at 148 for 50min then stepped it to 163 for 20 before mashout at 170. Mash pH was 5.25. So all together hoping to get a nice fermentable wort. Oxygenated a little more than norm before pitching yeast. Fingers crossed! Had hard time getting decent pics but small dish was post mash and pre boil and the hydrometer sample was the into the fermenter and got nice clean looking wort. Appreciate all the advice here!
9CAB1479-A0F9-47CA-B019-72C8DD64DDF0.jpeg
1F34362F-34A7-4BAC-8B1B-B4EA29A4E900.jpeg
 

balrog

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DRY!

Yes. Must be dry finish. Leading characteristic, and separates altbier from the amber style. Yeast attenuation (and mash temp and grist composition low on the crystal/caramel) will be the biggest factor. The WLP036 should be a good choice. But the WYeast1007 gets you 7-9 points more attenuation (DRYER).

Mashing low will help get you dryer.
 

balrog

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Notty should be good for dryness, but has tendency at low temps to be tangy/lemon almost. And Notty above 64F goes too fruity for an altbier style I would think.
 

wepeeler

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DRY!

Yes. Must be dry finish. Leading characteristic, and separates altbier from the amber style. Yeast attenuation (and mash temp and grist composition low on the crystal/caramel) will be the biggest factor. The WLP036 should be a good choice. But the WYeast1007 gets you 7-9 points more attenuation (DRYER).

Mashing low will help get you dryer.
I had better attenution with WLP036 than Wyeast 1007. Tasted more authentic as well. YMMV
 

cyberbackpacker

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Dusseldorf altbier most often also has a strong bittering charge, definitely finishes dry, and is also well carbonated/effervescent (minimum 2.8 vols, but I think 3.2 is probably closer to my favorite, Füchschen).. although the carbonation presents differently when bottled versus consumed on site vom fass.
 

Miraculix

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Notty should be good for dryness, but has tendency at low temps to be tangy/lemon almost. And Notty above 64F goes too fruity for an altbier style I would think.
Notty fruity!? I think I have not brewed with it since over two years, but I remember it being super clean, but I might be wrong.

I never experienced it to be tangy though.
 

Noob_Brewer

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So just following up on this. Brewed the altbier a week ago today and just took a hydro sample. For all purposes my tilt (which I typically only use when trying new yeasts) leveled off at 1.012/13 on Thursday. Hydro sample was 1.013 and OG was 1.051 so it’s a nice 5%abv. Little bitter at first (40IBUs) and yeast hasn’t fully flocced out yet due to me keeping it at 66/67 for past few days to make sure it finished up. I’m happy with this thus far overall. Used Düsseldorf yeast (wlp036) so was pretty darn pumped to get it to 74% AA.

13EAB489-C789-4419-A52B-B3B5BABDF90C.jpeg
 

grampamark

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I brewed an Alt at the city house 16 days ago.
1639347444156.jpeg
.
Today it’s at .013-ish. The sample was tasty; a nice balance of malt and hops.

10F1D065-F8AE-4578-B453-780EC1941EF0.jpeg

I’m tempted to bottle it tonight, as we don’t plan to be back for a couple of weeks. But, I think it might have a couple of points to go. I’ll probably wait until after Xmas.
 
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jcav

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Alt is such a great style. I brew Alt several times a year. There is also a stronger Alt called a "Sticke" Alt that is brewed stronger and hoppier on special occasions which is also very good. You can also make a light which is called "Leicht" Alt, which is a great session Alt with tons of flavor. I agree with the other post that this style should be given more credit and be more available out there in all the tap rooms!

John
 

ba-brewer

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I brewed an Alt at the city house 16 days ago.
View attachment 752070.
Today it’s at .013-ish. The sample was tasty; a nice balance of malt and hops.

View attachment 752072
I’m tempted to bottle it tonight, as we don’t plan to be back for a couple of weeks. But, I think it might have a couple of points to go. I’ll probably wait until after Xmas.
I have put your recipe into beersmith using german malts instead of American, was going to use tettenang instead of willamette, but it has been a while since I used willamette and had always like the way they smelled in the kettle I am going to use them after all. Plan to use WLP028 cooler to get a clean ferment.
 

Noob_Brewer

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I brewed an Alt at the city house 16 days ago.
View attachment 752070.
Today it’s at .013-ish. The sample was tasty; a nice balance of malt and hops.

View attachment 752072
I’m tempted to bottle it tonight, as we don’t plan to be back for a couple of weeks. But, I think it might have a couple of points to go. I’ll probably wait until after Xmas.
What temp are you fermenting at? Cool? Also curious as to what yeast you are using. I think I saw that you have been using US-05? Just curious because after 16 days, Id say that puppy is done?
 

grampamark

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What temp are you fermenting at? Cool? Also curious as to what yeast you are using. I think I saw that you have been using US-05? Just curious because after 16 days, Id say that puppy is done?
Yeah, US-05 and cool, low 60s. It’s probably done but, because we’re going back to our farm tomorrow, and won’t be back until after Xmas, I’d like to be absolutely sure it’s done before bottling.
 

ba-brewer

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This recipe is based on the words of a druck brewer, 90% base malt 2% carafa II and 8% of stuff you dont really need to get to 10Plato.

1041 SG
1009 FG
SRM 11.1
34.1IBU
4.1%ABV
mash 152 for medium body
Ferment with WLP029 for quick clearing

89.6% Pilsner malt
2.0% Carafa II
2.8% Caramunich I
5.6% Abbey malt
22.4IBU magnum 60min
8.3IBU tettnang 15min
3.3IBU tettnang 5min

The recipe is in the nowhere land between the BJCP Altbier and German Leichtbier categories. Abbey malt for flavor and a dry finish. Caramunich for a little help with color and some flavor. Think maybe the caramunich could be replaced by melanoidin malt.

I like a little body to my beers so usually bash to 152, if you want it drier mash lower.

I have not brewed this beer yet but will do so in the near future.
 
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