Recipe

Gordon Strong’s Altbier

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.051 FG = 1.012
IBU = 51 SRM = 15 ABV = 5.1%

Ingredients
6 lbs. (2.7 kg) Pilsner malt
3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) Munich malt
8 oz. (227 g) wheat malt
5 oz. (142 g) Caramunich® II malt
3 oz. (85 g) Carafa® Special III malt
11.4 AAU Perle hops (60 min.) (1.25 oz./35g at 9.1% alpha acids)
2.25 AAU Spalt hops (10 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 4.5% alpha acids)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Spalt hops (0 min.)
White Labs WLP036 (Düsseldorf Alt Ale) or Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) or Safale K-97 yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
This recipe uses reverse osmosis (RO) water. Adjust all brewing water to a pH of 5.5 using phosphoric acid. Add ½ tsp each of calcium sulfate and calcium chloride to the mash.

Decoction mash: Mash in Pilsner, Munich, and wheat malts at 144 °F (62 °C). Hold for 20 minutes. Pull a thick decoction (about 1⁄3 of the mash volume), while continuing to hold the main mash at temperature. Bring the decoction to a boil; boil the decoction for 15 minutes, stirring. Remix the decoction and the main mash, hitting 154 °F (68 °C); hold for 45 minutes. Pull the thin portion of the mash, while continuing to hold the main mash at temperature. Boil the thin portion for 10 minutes. Remix the decoction and main mash, hitting 168 °F (76 °C). Add the Caramunich® and Carafa® malts, hold for 10 minutes, then recirculate for 15 minutes.

Sparge slowly and collect 6.5 gallons (24.5 L) of wort. Boil the wort for 90 minutes, adding hops at the times indicated in the recipe.

Chill the wort to 61 °F (16 °C), pitch the yeast, and hold the temperature for the first three days of fermentation. Allow the temperature to rise to 68 °F (20 °C), and ferment until complete. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter and lager for two months at 32 °F (0 °C). Rack the beer, prime and bottle condition, or keg and force carbonate.

Altbier

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.051 FG = 1.012
IBU = 51 SRM = 15 ABV = 5.1%

Ingredients
4.3 lbs. (1.9 kg) pale liquid malt extract
2.3 lbs. (1 kg) Munich liquid malt extract
5 oz. (142 g) Caramunich® II malt
3 oz. (85 g) Carafa® Special III malt
11.4 AAU Perle hops (60 min.) (1.25 oz./35g at 9.1% alpha acid)
2.25 AAU Spalt hops (10 min.) (0.5 oz./14 g at 4.5% alpha acids)
0.5 oz. (14 g) Spalt hops (0 min.)
White Labs WLP036 (Düsseldorf Alt Ale) or Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) or Safale K-97 yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Use 6.5 gallons (24.5 L) water in the brew kettle; heat to 158 °F (70 °C). Steep the Caramunich® and Carafa® malts for 30 minutes. Remove then turn off the heat. Add the malt extracts and stir thoroughly to dissolve completely. You do not want to feel extract at the bottom when stirring with your spoon. Turn the heat back on and bring to a boil. Boil the wort for 60 minutes, adding hops at the times indicated.

Chill the wort to 61 °F (16 °C), pitch the yeast, and hold the temperature for the first three days of fermentation. After that time, allow the temperature to rise to 68 °F (20 °C), and ferment until complete. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter and lager for two months at 32 °F (0 °C). Rack the beer, prime and bottle condition, or keg and force carbonate.

Issue: January-February 2019

In the world of beer trivia, if you mention altbier, most people know two facts: That it comes from Düsseldorf in Germany, and that “alt” means “old” in German. But it’s nothing like an English old ale . . .