Category Archives: Northern German Alt 1

Northern German Alt 1

The lager run has ended.  Long live Ales.  Well….hybrids.  Errrr….nevermind.  After four lagers in a row it is time to go back to Ales.  Sort of.  I felt like brewing something new and knocking out another style but kinda made a bad choice.  First, I picked Northern German Alt but basically ended up making a Dusseldorf Alt that is a little less hoppy.  Second, a few days before brewing Gordon Strong announced the new Style Guidelines and there is no longer a Northern German Alt!  Well, it is moved into International Amber or some such thing so I guess it’s still a new style.  Anywho.  I did my usually research in BYO, Zymurgy, Past NHC winners, reread the Alt Style Series book, reread the section in Brewing Classic styles as well as trying Alaskan Amber and realized that the modern day Northern German Alt is not very interesting to me.  It is kind of a bland amber lager that is a bit more bitter but not really.  Compared to a Dusseldorf Alt kinda lame in my opinion.  Which is probably why last years NHC winner was a Northern German Alt but it was basically Jamil’s Dusseldorf Alt recipe.  Maybe it hops had faded so it came across a bit maltier.  Who knows.  But I took a cue from that and some of my recent brews and came up with the following recipe.  Dusseldorf Alt Lite?  Basically my Dusseldorf Alt with less aroma/flavor hop additions and a bit lower bitterness and some grain bill tweeks.  Not super crazy but hopefully will make a delicious beer.

Northern German Altbier 2
7-A Northern German Altbier
Date: 4/1/14

Size: 7.5 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%

Original Gravity: 1.050 (1.046 – 1.054)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 17.61 (13.0 – 19.0)
Alcohol: 4.95% (4.5% – 5.2%)
Bitterness: 39.9 (25.0 – 40.0)

10 lb (66.9%) Pilsner Malt – added during mash
3 lb (20.1%) Munich TYPE I – added during mash
.75 lb (5.0%) Aroma 100 EBC Malt – added during mash
.75 lb (5.0%) Caramunich® TYPE III – added during mash
5 oz (2.1%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
2 oz (0.8%) Acidulated Malt – added during mash
1 oz (50.0%) Magnum (14.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
1 tsp Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 oz (50.0%) Tettnanger (3.9%) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
1 ea Wyeast 1007 German Ale™

2.5L starter and 1 x 1007 smack pack

mash salts:
3.3g Gypsum
1.7g CC

sparge salts:
6g Gypsum
3g CC

acidify sparge to below 5.8 (~10ml of 10% phosphoric in 10G of water)

should give mash pH of 5.4

14.94 lb of grain
1.5 qt/lb = 22.41 quarts = 5.6 gallons
mash @ 152
mash in water temp 162.7 so 163.7 into mash tun

pitch @ 58 and ramp to 60 over 24 hours > hold a total of 3 weeks minimum.  rack to keg and drop 2 degrees a day to 40 then put in lagering fridge @35 and lager for 1 month.  rack to clean keg and force carb to ~2.5 volumes.

6/30/14: pretty normal brew day albeit a hot one.  about 90F by the time I pitched.  strangely I was 2 degrees high on my mash which is unlike me.  The water was about half a degree high before mashing but I didn’t think much of it.  I also may have had a bit more water as well.  and it could be that since it’s just hot out that there is less loss.  will keep and eye on it  so mashed in at 154 rather than 152.  not a huge deal.  also a bit high on my sparge which settled in at 173 but didn’t come across as astringent so i think that is also OK.  Not the best day for hitting the numbers but nothing really beer effecting.

What may have a little effect is I ended up pitching at 62 when I wanted to pitch at 58.  Like I said, it was about 90F so even thought I cooled the wort to 55 buy the time I got it in the carboy it was up to 62.  I just did a 2 degree drop over 24 hours to 60 and will hold there for 2 weeks assuming a normal ale fermentation and diacetyl test goes well.

Efficiency was close to 80% again so added a gallon of water to get the gravity to 1.050.

6/30/2014: 1:30pm pitched
6/30/14 @ 9pm : thin kreusen and steady slow bubbling.  wow!
7/1/14 @ 8am : 1 inch kreusen and strong steady bubbling.
7/2/14 : power outage for 1 hour but temp only went up 1 degree so hopefully no real impact to the beer.  still steady ferment although starting to slow just a little
7/3/14: slowed a good deal but still bubbling every 2 sec
7/4/14: ~10 sec apart
7/5/14: very slow, almost done
7/14/14: transferred to keg.  FG 1.014 (new and calibrated hydrometer 🙂 ) pH 4.27  both are spot on nice and clean – no infection.  still yeasty.  not a very flocculant yeast at all.  very nice malt          character.  bready with a slight caramel edge.  bitter with dry finish and a hint of noble hop flavor.  not astringent.  very excited!!!  Harvested yeast for Biere de Garde 1 and got an extra 2L that I’ll carbonate and give a try in a few days.  Will slow drop to 40F over 7 days then put in lagering fridge at 35 for 6 weeks or so.