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Altbier Best Practices

I will be brewing an alt this weekend with the following grain bill provided by the LHBS. This is my first time brewing an alt. What advice do you have to make this beer great? What mash temp? Decoction mash or simple mash? Fermentation temp? Should I try to lager it with an ice bath and wet towel? Other thoughts??

Thanks!

Dan

2-Row 4.0 lb
Munich I 2.0 lb
Munich II 2.0 lb
Wheat Malt (Pale) 8.0 oz
Caramel Malt 80L 4.0 oz
2-Row Chocolate Malt 2.0 oz
CARAFA® III 1.0 oz

1.5 oz Perle 60 Min
.5 oz Spalt 5 min

White Labs Alt strain

You are kidding about that grain bill right? 4lb of caramunich which is a crystal malt? Surely that is a typo and you got Munich I and II (light and dark), that’d be more realistic.

As for brewing practices, I’d mash at 152F for a fairly dry wort (although if its half crystal you’re screwed in this respect) and ferment as close to 60F as possible. Lagering will help too, that yeast doesn’t drop out very fast at all.

Check out these recipes for an idea of what an altbier grain bill ought to be:

http://wiki.homebrewersassociation.org/ ... orfAltbier

I agree that the recipe looks like a disaster waiting to happen. I like to mash D. alts at 148 for 90 min. to make sure they’re dry. Ferment at 55F with WY1007, lager for a couple months.

Woops… Yes. That is a typo. Munich 1 & 2. Sorry about that.

To make it great I’d start with re-doing the grain bill and using only German malt. A blend of Munich II and pils as a base, maybe a touch of Carafa for color adjustment if needed is my basic recommendation. While that will have to wait for your next attempt I agree with the others to keep the mash temp on the lower side. My choice in German styles is to use a decoction mash but you will be fine with a single. Either way I’d agree with Denny’s main temp of 148F. Keep the fermentation temp in the lower end of the range for the yeast. A short conditioning period or quasi-lager of a couple of weeks will definitely help with the smoothness and finish of the beer. :cheers:

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