Düsseldorf Altbier Recipe

Alt (‘old’ in German) survives in Dusseldorf, holding on to a lonely buoy within a sea of lagers that is modern-day Germany. Much like its cousin from Cologne Kolsch, this beer is fermented with an ale yeast at cooler than normal temperatures to induce a clean, malty, and firmly bitter beer. This beer features a deep amber color with crystal clarity and garnet highlights. Truly a great beer to both drink and behold.  My version is less-sweet than a lot of the homebrew examples that are out there, featuring only 6.5% crystal malt. Instead, this beer receives a toasty (think rich bread crust) melanoidin induced malt flavor from a large percentage of Munich malt as well as a dash of aromatic malt. This is a perfect sessionable beer with enough complexity and flavor to keep you interested, and a low enough ABV to keep your senses.

Specifications

Volume: 6.22 Gallons
Original Gravity: 1.050
Terminal Gravity: 1.013
Color: 15.04 SRM
Alcohol: 4.85%
Bitterness: 43.4
Efficiency: 79% (tweak recipe to match efficiency of your brew house)
Boil Length: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

7.5 lb (64.5%) Pilsner Malt; Weyermann
3 lb (25.8%) Munich TYPE II; Weyermann
.75 lb (6.5%) German CaraMunich III
.25 lb (2.2%) Aromatic Malt; Best Malz
2 oz (1.1%) German Carafa II
34 g (54.5%) Magnum (12.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 m
.5 oz (22.7%) Czech Saaz (3.1%) – added during boil, boiled 20 m
1 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 m
.5 oz (22.7%) Hallertauer Mittelfrüher (3.4%) – added during boil, boiled 10 m
.5 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10 m
1 ea White Labs WLP036 Dusseldorf Alt

Water

Carbon-filtered Seattle water which is very soft.  All salts added to grist before mashing in.
2 g Calcium Chloride (Calcium Chloride)
2.0 g Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate)
4.0 g Chalk (Calcium Carbonate)

Mash

60 Minute Saccharification Rest at 151° F
10 Minute Mashout Rest at 170° F (I pulled a decoction to hit mashout temp)
Sparge at 170° F and collect sufficient runnings to hit pre-boil volumes.

Fermentation

  1. Chill wort to 58° F and pitch yeast slurry.
  2. Set temp controller to 60° F and allow to rise to this temp.
  3. Ferment at 60-62° F until beer is 2-6 points from terminal gravity then raise temp to 68° F.  Hold at 68° F for 2 days.
  4. Chill fermenter to 34° F.  Rack beer off yeast and lager near freezing the 4-6 weeks.

Awards

The beer brewed from this recipe has won as a BJCP Category 7c. Dusseldorf Altbier:

  • 2012 NHC First Round – 1st Place

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