Monday, July 9, 2012

2012 Altbier Tasting

About time I got around to posting some tasting notes from my springtime altbier. Somehow the Spring just rushed past into summer. This is my third attempt at brewing a traditional Düsseldorf Altbier and I think I'm getting close.

Appearance - Clear, orange-brown with a thin, creamy, slightly off-white head that persists while drinking.

Aroma - Mostly grainy malt with a slight touch of spicy fruitiness.

Taste - Solid bitterness that lingers a little before dropping off. Good malt flavors - grainy and nutty. The malt is nicely balanced with some spicy hop flavors. No caramel or noticeable roast, though certainly some grainy sweetness in there. Nice, dry finish. There's also a flavor that I am attributing to the Spalt hops - hard to describe actually - subtly floral maybe, but not perfumy. Overall, for lack of a better descriptor, this beer tastes "German".

Mouthfeel - Creamy head. Light body. Pretty smooth though a touch of lingering astringency. Moderate carbonation. Easy drinker.

Overall - An excellent beer if I do say so myself. As my third attempt at a Düsseldorf Altbier, I think I am slowly dialing in the recipe. My friend and his Düsseldorfer wife give this beer high marks for authenticity. The real test though will be when her father visits sometime in August! Next time, I think I will bump up the IBUs a tad - maybe shoot for 45ish. I also want to try to remove that bit of lingering astringency. I wonder if it was from running a decoction with a mash that was too alkaline (I only recently invested in some ColorpHast strips so I can monitor the mash pH). All in all, this was a very successful beer.


Atomic Donkey Brewery said...

Love reading this. I made my first Altbier about a year ago or so and loved it. But its lacking in a lot of the true characteristics. Thanks for posting this adventure. Very informative.

Jim Lemire said...

I'm lucky to have my friend and his wife to taste these brews. They've even brought me back bottled alts from their trips to Dusseldorf, so I've had the chance to try fresh, authentic versions.

It's been fun dialing in this recipe. I think I just need a couple of minor tweaks. I think most US/homebrew interpretations of this style stress the bitterness too much and tend to be too caramel-y and/or roasty. I also think you need an authentic Alt yeast to get the proper flavor profile. A Kolsch yeast may work as well.

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