Tag Archives: altbier

Alt Two

My second try at an Altbier turned out better than the first. Alt One got an infection from the MiniBrew plastic conicals I was using. A tragedy, because it tasted so good coming out of the kettle.

Alt Two is not my own recipe, but a concoction from Jamil Zainasheff’s Brewing Classic Styles. Scaled up to 10 gallons the recipe is:


  • 18 lbs Pilsner
  • 2 lbs Munich
  • 0.5 lbs Debittered Black malt
  • 0.5 lbs Caramunich 60L
  • 6 oz Pale Chocolate malt 200L

Mashed starting at 151º, falling to 145ºF over the course of 60 minutes. (Need winter insulation for my mash tun.) Mash out at 160ºF. Sparge. Collected 12.5 gallons 11% B sweet wort. Boil 90 minutes.


  • 2.5 oz 8.1% AA Perle 60 minutes


Pitch a 1600ml starter of WLP 029 German Ale yeast into 14.3% B original gravity wort.

Fermented two weeks between 58º & 66ºF. Lagered for 26 days.


  • 2010-02-15 9.6%B Vinous notes
  • 2010-03-13 8%B Vinous flavors reduced. Ready to package.

It pours a deep copper brown with no appreciable head. Carbonation has not quite developed and I expect to get a good stand of foam in a few more days under pressure. There is roastyness up front and that vinous flavor refuses to disappear completely. This Alt puckers the mouth just a little, a problem attribute to poor scaling of the recipe from 5 to 10 gallons. The percentage of dark roasted malts may be too high. Bitterness is present and polite as appropriate for this malt-centric beer.

For my third Altbier I will find a common ground between One and Two. Not so much roasted malt as #2 and not so much Munich or Vienna as #1.

Alt One

Altbier is one of my favorite styles of beer, and this is my first attempt at formulating a recipe for it. To prepare for this batch, I read Altbier: History, Brewing, Techniques, Recipes by Horst Dornbusch. The Classic Beer Style Series book came through with helpful explanations.


  • 10 lbs German Pilsner
  • 3 lbs Munich
  • 3 lbs Vienna
  • 2 lbs Crystal 60

Using reverse-osmosis water treated with gypsum, I doughed in with 1 qt/lbs water to rest at 146° F for 30 minutes. Added boiling water to bring temperature to 160° F for 48 minutes. Sparged to collect around 14 gallons sweet wort.

Boiled 90 minutes.


  • 3 oz 8.3% AA whole Perle 60 mins
  • 1 oz 3.3% AA pellet Hallertau Hersbrucker 10 mins
  • 2 oz 2.4% AA whole Hallertau Hersbrucker flameout

Chilled wort and pitched WYeast 1007, German Ale yeast. Fermenting at 63° F.

The second mash step went 18 minutes longer than I planned for. At that temperature alpha-amalyase is most active and beta-amalyase is denatured. Alpha-amalyase breaks down starch into unfermentable sugars and because of this the wort turned out quite sweet. The finished beer will likely turn out too malty for the style, but it won’t turn out bad. I will find out in six weeks.