Altbier ideas for Altbier bitte

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by sbaclimber, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Hey Altbier, I saw your post and thought I would jump the gun and start the thread for you, because your issue with a "too light" Alt piqued my interest.
    I had a quick look this morning in my german homebrewing books and found a simple recipe for an Alt in one of the older books, which calls for a 4:1 ratio "dark malt" to "light malt". The question is of course, what exactly do they mean with "dark malt"....?
    I am very surprised that you ended up with an SRM of only 10 using Weyerman Munich II. I wouldn't necessarily call it a "dark" malt, but I would think it should should give you something around 13-15 (recipe calc even says ~17).
    I think about the only way you will be able to darken up the beer without using Cara... malts is by decoction.

    Not sure how good your german is, but this post by Malte over on Hobbybrauer.de is pretty interesting:
    source: http://hobbybrauer.de/modules.php?name=eBoard&file=viewthread&tid=2759
    (bolded text *roughly* traslated = "traditionally, an Alt beer is of course a decoction beer")

    Unfortunately, I am in the wrong part of Germany to get my hands on many different Alt beers, but I do find Füchsen very good (Diebels I find rather average).
     
  2. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

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    Appreciate the effort SBA. I was kind of surprised to find that Weyerman M-2 is only 10 Srm (9-11) I was sure I'd seen it listed higher myself, but that's what it is, right on the bag. You probably hit on the key there - decoction. That and maybe a longer boil might be the only way other than a roasted malt to get it done. I've been going to try to check some German brewers on the internet - I'm guessing that decoction is too expensive for a big brewery. I could probably use de-bittered black, Black Prinz, or some German Roastmalz to color it. I'm only trying to get it to 15-20. A medium dark copper would be ideal.
    To tell you the truth, when I was over there I knew that I loved Alt, I liked Pils, didn't care for weissen, etc., but I didn't know crap about beer in general. I didn't know that there were 2 styles of Alt, and it confuses me a little. I was stationed outside of Mainz (Wackernheim to be specific), which is Southwest of D-dorf, so I don't even know which style I use to get in Mainz, Wiesbbaden or Frankfurt - could have been both I guess. I tried several brands. Some of the Northern Altbiers, or so I've read, are actually lagers.
    I do remember that when I'd travel, like when we'd go up to the Baltic for training, I couldn't find Altbier, so I know it's a regional thing. Where are you?
     
  3. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    This would be new to me as well. Can you expound on what the 2 styles are supposed to be?

    I suppose a brewery could produce an "Alt" using bottom fermenting yeast, but it would surprise me. I would sooner suspect that someone confused the term "alt", as in "old", with "Alt", as in the Altbier. And/or confused the fact that the Altbier was lagered with the beer being a *lager* beer.

    Sachsen (Saxony). A good place for Czech pilsners and black beers. Fair-to-middlin for bocks, wheats and hells. Not so flash for fränkische (e.g. rauchbier), kölsches (not that I would be interested) and alts.
     
  4. Altbier bitte

    Altbier bitte New Member

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    The two styles I'm talking about are Dusseldorf Alt and Northern Alt. To tell you the truth, that's just based on BJCP categories, which I know don't always correspond to beereality. Like I say, I was some south of Dusseldorf - it would be odd if 'Northern Alt' were served in Wiesbaden. Maybe it's all nonsense and there is only one style. All of it that I had fit the general description they give D-Dorf Alt.
    I thought I saw some Alt on the shelf here in Missouri recently, by Samuel Adams no less. It turned out to be their version of 'Sticke Alt', a sweet, alcoholic (9.5% ABV), utterly disgusting mess. Pretty much the opposite of Altbier. Here is a link to the BJCP descriptions - ignore the Cali Common in between that they've decided, for no reason I can discern, belongs with Altbier. http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style07.php
     
  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Hunh, well I'll be damned, you learn something new every day... :p
    Thanks for pointing me at the BJCP category. I hadn't really noticed it before (as with most of the categories that I have so far only quickly scanned over).
    I agree that this is most likely a BJCP category used to categorize beers that don't really fit very well in any of the adjacent categories. Even the BJCP kind of admits that the category isn't really beer-reality:
    After reading the style description, and having drunken many different ones myself, I am *fairly* sure that what the BJCP calls a "Northern German Altbier" falls under what is generally sold in germany as a "Landbier".
    ...and many of them do in fact come from northern germany.
    e.g. (just a list of Landbiers that I have tried so far):
    Achtern Diek
    Ahornberger
    Aktien (not northern german)
    Detmolder
    Dingslebener
    Einsiedler
    Leikeim
    Lübzer
    Meklenburger
    Mönchshof (definitely not northern german!)
    Allgäuer (also definitely not northern german!)
    Pott's
    Riegeler
    Sachsengold
    Torgauer
    Turmbläser
    Weismainer
    Wüllner's
    Zirndorfer

    In reality though, "Landbier" is a catch-all name. It isn't actually a defined style (http://www.germanbeerinstitute.com/Landbier.html). So, whereas many of the above mentioned Landbiers would fall under the definition of a "Northern German Altbier", quite a few others would not...
    Ah, the wonderful world of beer! :twisted:
     

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