Alt recipes and recipe development

Grains, malts, hops, yeast, water and other ingredients used to brew. Recipe reviews and suggestions.

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Alt recipes and recipe development

Postby slothrob » Mon May 18, 2009 2:56 pm

Wottaguy and I (I think Legman was in on this too) have been having a conversation about Alt recipes for a while now that started in this thread. We've been discussing the differences between the darker, Brown Ale-like Alt recipes and Uerige Alt, which is a pale amber and perhaps more Pale Ale-like beer. I thought someone might be interested in the recipe development, but I'm going to run on a bit...

Here's a recipe that Wottaguy likes, that is probably somewhere in the middle. It looks like a great beer and I really have to make it:

Code: Select all
Recipe: HL Dusseldorf ALT
Brewer: wottaguy
Style: Dusseldorf Altbier
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 6.00 gal
Boil Size: 8.40 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
FG: 1.009
Estimated Color: 14.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 48.1 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 77.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
3 lbs MFB Pale Ale Malt (2-3 L) (2.5 SRM) Grain 27.47 %
3 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger Durst (2.0 SRM) Grain 27.47 %
2 lbs 8.0 oz Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 22.89 %
1 lbs Amber Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 9.16 %
1 lbs Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 9.16 %
4.0 oz Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 2.29 %
1.9 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 1.10 %
0.8 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 0.46 %
1.25 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 39.6 IBU
1.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (15 min) Hops 8.5 IBU
2 Pkgs Dusseldorf ALT (White Labs #036) [Starter 2 Liter Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: 5 Gallon Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 10.92 lb
----------------------------
5 Gallon Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 3.26 gal of water at 164.5 F 150.0 F

Notes:
------
Ferment @ 58 - 60 deg F for 14 days or until done. I hold mine in the primary for 21 days then keg, and lager and force carb at 38 deg F. Carb to get 2.5 - 3.0 vol CO2.
Let it age for at least 4 weeks while lagering and carbing.


As a counterpoint, here's a recipe I made that was an attempt to make something in the style of Uerige, but in no way a clone attempt. As you can see, I've really cut back on the "malty" malts and left Pilsner Malt to do most of the work:
Code: Select all
Pale Alt
7-C Düsseldorf Altbier
Author: E. Johnson after info from Uerige
Date: 3/14/09

Size: 5 gal
Efficiency: 75%
Attenuation: 81.7%
Calories: 154.35 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.047 (1.046 - 1.054)
Terminal Gravity: 1.009 (1.010 - 1.015)
Color: 9.62 (11.0 - 17.0)
Alcohol: 5.02% (4.5% - 5.2%)
Bitterness: 31.0 (35.0 - 50.0)

8 lb Weyermann Pilsner Malt
1 lb Best Malz Light Munich
2 oz Weyermann Caramunich® TYPE I
0.75 oz Weyermann Chocolate Wheat Malt
1.25 oz Perle (7.5%) - first wort
1 oz Liberty '07 (4.0%) - boiled 20 min
1 oz Sterling '07 (7.5%) - boiled 2 min
Dusseldorf Alt (White Labs #036) 1 gallon starter

Schedule:
Mash 145°F, 45', 154°F, 15' Primary between 62-64°F. Secondary at ~50°F.


My beer finished very dry, which I was shooting for.
I was very excited about the beer going into carbonation. It was a nice color, malty but bitter with a lot of noble hop flavor.

Now, at about 8 weeks post brewday, I thought I'd add some more observations. First, and I should have seen this from the recipe, what I made is probably more of an overly hopped Koelsch than an Alt. I hadn't realized, from the darker beers I've made with this yeast, how similar the flavor profile was to WLP029. Since I let this ferment a little too warm for an Alt, it probably got too fruity for the style. My experience with Koelsch is that the winey esters reduce with some aging.

The carbonation has accentuated the beer's dryness, bitterness, the hop flavor and the yeast esters and made the malt recede. I probably needed half the flavor/aroma hops than I added. Also, I need more malt backbone, either by bumping up the Munich or Caramunich, adding Aromatic Malt, or raising my mash temperature.

The beer really hasn't had time to lager, yet, so I'll check it over the next few weeks. During that time it will finish dropping clear and should smooth out quite a bit and could turn into a great beer, but I doubt I made what I was shooting for. I've been through this before though, and I know that beers that taste great at the end of primary usually taste great once they've properly finished.
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Re:Alt recipes

Postby Legman » Mon May 18, 2009 5:43 pm

Yeah I was interested in that conversion. I can't say I'm an expert at the Altbier style, nor can I say I've even had many commercial brews of that style. But it did sound interesting to me and I do like making brews I've never had. So I gave it a try.
I had to use WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch because I don't have the ability to lager at this point.
This is the recipe I used. It was based on several other recipes and more so on style description. I was also using some left over hops and I'm not sure how close to style I got, but this is what I did.
I have yet to taste it yet. It's still about 3 kegs back, so hopefully I'll be able to get to it before too long.
It did come out a little drier than intended, but I think it will still be good. I'll post my results once I've tapped that keg.

And I agree with you Slo, if it tastes good when you keg/bottle, it generally tastes good in the end.

7-C Düsseldorf Altbier

Size: 5.7 gal
Efficiency: 79.56%
Attenuation: 87.8%

Original Gravity: 1.049
Terminal Gravity: 1.006
Color: 14.88
Alcohol: 5.63%
Bitterness: 45.9

Ingredients:
6.0 lb German Pilsner Malt
3.0 lb Light Munich Malt
1 lb Aromatic Malt
.1 lb Wheat Malt
.1 lb Chocolate Malt

1.0 oz Brewers Gold (8.0%) - added first wort, boiled 65 min
1.0 oz Liberty (4.5%) - added first wort, boiled 65 min
.5 oz Hallertau Hersbruck (3.0%) - added during boil, boiled 30.0 min
.5 oz Hallertau Hersbruck (3.0%) - added during boil, boiled 1 min
.5 oz Liberty (4.5%) - added during boil, boiled 1 min

1.0 ea White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kölsch

Schedule:
Mash In - Liquor: 4.0 gal; Strike: 163.0 °F; Target: 153.2 °F
Mash - Rest: 60 min; Final: 148.4 °F
Batch Sparge - Batch Sparge: 4 gal sparge @ 202.0 °F, 15 min; Total Runoff: 6.79 gal
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re: Alt recipes

Postby slothrob » Mon May 18, 2009 9:54 pm

That's dry, but it's close to the low end of a Kölsch, so it might still work. It could make a nice warm weather beer, but I'm on a dry beer kick at the moment.

There's a couple domestic ones that are available up here: Tuckerman's from NH and Long Trail from VT. Both are nice dark alts; I really like the Tuckerman's.

The WLP029 is a good yeast. I think, due to the sulfur and esters it makes, it really benefits from a little aging/lagering. Kölsch and Alt are both what I think the Germans call "lagerbier". Not lagers the way we mean lagers, i.e., beers that are fermented by lager yeast, but beers that are fermented and then stored (lagered) to improve the flavor. Unfortunately, I didn't have room to lager mine either.

I think at least some of the fruity funk and hop harshness that's hurting my Alt is being caused by the fact that the 036 hasn't completely dropped yet. After 3 days in the fridge I believe it's already starting to smooth out a bit. I always forget how tough these German Ale yeasts are to get to flocculate.
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RE: ALT recipes

Postby wottaguy » Wed May 20, 2009 8:16 am

Hi guys,

Here's the updated recipe for the ALT i'll be brewing sometime next week. It's basically the same one as above, but with some minor changes as noted. I'll let you all know how it turns out too.

Here it is:


Recipe: HL Dusseldorf ALT-#2
Brewer: wottaguy
Asst Brewer:
Style: Dusseldorf Altbier
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (43.0)

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 6.00 gal
Boil Size: 8.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 11.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 44.8 IBU
Estimated ABV: 5.08%
Brewhouse Efficiency: 77.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU


3 lbs MFB Pale Ale Malt (2-3 L) (2.5 SRM) Grain 27.75 %
3 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 27.75 %
3 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger Durst (2.0 SRM) Grain 27.75 %
1 lbs Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 9.25 %
8.0 oz Amber Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 4.63 %
4.0 oz Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 2.31 %
1.0 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 0.56 %
0.25 oz Magnum [14.00 %] (90 min) Hops 13.1 IBU
1.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 31.7 IBU

2 Pkgs Dusseldorf Alt Yeast (White Labs #WLP036) Yeast-Ale
2 Pkgs German Ale (Wyeast Labs #1007) [Starter 2L Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: 5 Gallon Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 10.81 lb
----------------------------
5 Gallon Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp

120 min Mash In Add 3.23 gal of water at 162.4 F 148.0 F

Notes:
------
Yeast: 1st choice: WLP036; 2nd choice: WLP1007

Change Log:
Increased Munich to 3 lbs.
Added 1/4 oz Magnum for 90 minutes and removed the 15 minute flavoring hops.
Removed Black Patent and decreased Carafa to lighten up the color. Reduced mash temp to dry it out more and increased mash time to 2
hours.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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On Tap:
HL Pale Ale
HL Lite Lager
Bottled:
HL Simcoe Pale Ale
HL Wizeguy Weizenbock
HL Reveur Saison
HL Dry Stout
HL Kentucky Common
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Wed May 20, 2009 12:41 pm

I've read a couple other threads you guys have been involved in that had to do with ALTs. Can you guys give me some widely available commercial examples of an ALT. I can't for the life of me ever remember trying one. It looks like a good beer, but I'd like to check it out before I devote 5 gallons of fermenting space to it.

I've got some pretty good beer shops around here too, so it may not need to be "widely available".
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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RE: ALTS

Postby wottaguy » Wed May 20, 2009 12:49 pm

Sure sc..

This is from the BJCP website:

Commercial Examples: Altstadt brewpubs: Zum Uerige, Im Füchschen, Schumacher, Zum Schlössel; other examples: Diebels Alt, Schlösser Alt, Frankenheim Alt, Widmer Ur-Alt (no longer made i think)

I'm sure there's more...

I have a terribly hard time finding any examples here in FL, but I did get a hot tip from a friend about a store that may have something. Its an hour's drive to get there tho....:( I'm trying to find the time to go visit it.

Not an easy style to find for me.

Good luck in finding any of those mentioned...and if ya do find some...send me a bottle...will ya?? LOL!

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On Tap:
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HL Lite Lager
Bottled:
HL Simcoe Pale Ale
HL Wizeguy Weizenbock
HL Reveur Saison
HL Dry Stout
HL Kentucky Common
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Commercial Alts

Postby slothrob » Wed May 20, 2009 4:47 pm

We get 4 German and 2 American commercial Alts around here.

3 of the German Alts come from the same Brewery, Uerige, which makes the Alt, the Sticke Alt, and the Dopple Sticke, each of which is a bigger and darker version than the last. I particularly like the pale, hoppy standard Uerige Alt, that really showcases the Spalt hops that I love but some people aren't crazy about. It only appears rarely and goes for $5-6/bottle.

The other German version used to be quite common, Schwelmer Alt. It was half the price for 16 oz instead of 12 oz. It is a dark, malty beer, a lot like a Dunkle, that seems to use hops only for bittering. Unfortunately, it almost completely disappeared off the shelves about a year ago.

The two American ones I see are Tuckerman's Alt and Long Trail Ale. Both are good, but I like the Tuckerman's. They are probably closer to a Sticke, but the Tuckerman's isn't far off of Schwelmer... maybe more bitter. Long Trail also makes a Dopple Sticke that they call Double Bag.

Edit: There used to be a nice Victory Alt, but I haven't seen it for a couple years. Again, this was a Dopple Sticke.
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RE: Commercial Alts

Postby wottaguy » Fri May 22, 2009 8:50 am

Wow...you're very lucky to get any. I went out "hunting" yesterday and found nothing. I asked the store's personnel and was met with blank stares and the now famous reply of, "I never heard of that kind, so it must not be a very popular beer". But I did run into one gentleman that actually knew what I was talking about, and we had a great conversation about the German ALT styles and of Belgian styles as well. He also stated that he used to carry Uerige Alt but didn't have any. He going to try to get some for me, so I guess i'll have to go back there in a couple of weeks. I hope he can get it! I did get a bottle of Aventius German Wheat Dopplebock, and a bottle of 2008 Brewery Ommegang 3 Philosophers of which i'll save for that perfect moment.
I might take another ride today if the rains let up a bit to another place that might have it.
I'm thinking of harvesting the yeast out of the 3 Philosophers, and also from the Aventius Wheat Dopplebock (if it has any). Would anyone think that this would be worth doing, or is the yeast in the bottles too spent to try to grow and harvest?
Any thoughts?
Wish me luck on my beer hunt!

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Visit my blog @ http://www.wottashomebrewblog.blogspot.com

On Tap:
HL Pale Ale
HL Lite Lager
Bottled:
HL Simcoe Pale Ale
HL Wizeguy Weizenbock
HL Reveur Saison
HL Dry Stout
HL Kentucky Common
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Aventius yeast

Postby slothrob » Fri May 22, 2009 4:14 pm

The Aventius is bottle-conditioned. A lot of Weizens use Lager yeast to carbonate, but I think they might be one that uses the weizen yeast. It's probably pretty beat-up, but it might be salvageable.

We have a couple good beer stores around here and a lot of breweries in New England, so we get a pretty good selection of beers.
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