HOMEBREW Digest #998 Mon 26 October 1992

Digest #997 Digest #999

		Rob Gardner, Digest Coordinator

  Mashing ("Glidden-Rodney")
  1056 and clarification (Rob Bradley)
  more on sugar   (berthels)
  Decoction and Tannin Extraction (SynCAccT)
  hard cider (leo woessner)
  recipe request (schotk)
  Re: Medicine-y taste (Davin Lim)
  RE: used terms (Tom Leith MIR/ERL 362-6965)
  ragi and koji (eurquhar)
  Bee pollen (Rob Malouf)
  bottling from kegs (jay marshall 283-5903)
  Robin Hood Mead (Roy Rudebusch)
  Barley seed source (Phil Bardsley                       )
  HELP -Finding Ale Hand Pumps (Beer Engines) (sslovac)
  brown sugar (Chip Hitchcock)
  SoCal Bier de Garde alert (Carl Hensler)
  More rookie questions.. (LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER)
  cider, etc. (oxcommed)
  do lazy bottles gush? (Rob Bradley)
  potassium sorbate (Rob Bradley)
  RE: water problems (CHRIS LIETZKE - UCR PHYSICS)
  More about Altbier (zelaznyj)

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 23 Oct 92 08:06:12 GMT From: "Glidden-Rodney" <MSMAIL.GLIDDENR at TSOD.lmig.com> Subject: Mashing This is my first posting to the HBD. I have been brewing for almost a year now, brewing mostly extract and partial mash recipe's. I would like to start doing some all grain brewing. I was wondering if anyone has a fairly simple system of doing this. I have a hard time using my stove to keep a constant temperature. I am even contemplating buying a bruheat Boiler. Are there other better types of boilers out there? any information you could e-mail me would be of great help. Rod Glidden Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 09:12:51 -0400 From: bradley at adx.adelphi.edu (Rob Bradley) Subject: 1056 and clarification My first batch using Wyeast 1056 is 20 days old and coming into its own. I am most pleased with the results, despite the lower FG noted previously. One great feature is that the yeast sediment in the bottles clings _extremely_ well to the bottom, just like SNPA. You can pour out virtually all the beer. The beer is not very clear, and doesn't seem to have clarified any in the last few days. Has anybody else experienced this problem? I did not use Irish moss or finings; I found they were unnecessary with the dried ale yeasts I used to use (Edme and Munton & Fison). I hope that someone more qualified than I can answer Glen Anderson's question about SNPA. I believe I've read in the HBD that the yeast used for bottling is indeed the same one used for fermentation. Cheers, Rob (bradley at adx.adelphi.edu) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 09:19:26 EDT From: berthels at rnisd0.DNET.roche.com Subject: more on sugar I'd like to dispel a few misconceptions about sugar. As we all know, white sugar is a refined product. Recently the word "refined" has become synonomous with artificial, not so, it simply means purified. If the impurities that were removed are beneficial (i.e. rice bran) then one might argue that a less "refined" product might be better for you. Unfortunately, a great deal of so called brown sugar is nothing more then white sugar that has had molasses added to it, so be careful. In addition, the term "raw" sugar has been used to discribe less purified products. It is interesting to note that molasses is the residue from evaporating the "mother liqour" (chemical term refering to the liquid from which crystals form). So in some cases it might be possible for a large sugar company to remove the molasses in it's processing, only to add it back later! If you are using sugar as nothing more thanyeast food, white is no different than brown. However, if as I expect, the sugar adds flavor to your brew, use the one that tastes best, just don't use it because you think it's more "natural"-SJB Return to table of contents
Date: 23 Oct 92 15:13:50 GMT From: SynCAccT at slims.attmail.com Subject: Decoction and Tannin Extraction In HBD#995, Al quotes and responds with: Glenn Anderson asks: >astringincy and other negative effects will result. My question for >the decocters in the crowd is; why does boiling a portion of the >grist not extract tannins during a decoction? (Al responds...) >Darryl Richman finally cleared this up for me too. He recently posted that it's the pH! I interpret this as meaning that as long as the pH is down in the vicinity of 5.2, exctraction of tannins is much lower than if it's up high. Al. I'll have to admit being confused at this point. From what I can gather from Al's and Darryl's conversation, lower pH will reduce the extract of tannins. I can accept this, but using this theory I would feel comfortable acidifying my sparge water to 5.2 then sparging with boiling water rather than fiddling to get it around 168F. I have received other mail offline that indicates various process for decocting (thanks everyone), which ran from boiling only the runnoff to boiling small ammounts of grist with the runoff to "why don't you read Noonan....". I don't want to use up bandwidth talking about a documented mashing process, but perhaps Darryl or Al could clarify this Mash pH/temperature/tannin extraction relationship. Thanks....Glenn Anderson EMAIL - gande at slims.attmail.com Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 09:40:11 EST From: leo woessner <WOESSNER at VM.CC.PURDUE.EDU> Subject: hard cider This is my first posting on the HBD. I am a graduate student at purdue University. Anyhow, I am making hard cider. I am using a recipe from the firs first volume of cats_meow. The recipe is as follows: 5 gallons of sweet fresh apple cider 3 # of brown sugar 3 # of honey (2/3 clover and 1/3 wildflower) yeast I heated 1 gallon of the cider to 160 F in order to disolve the sugar and honey. I kept this mixture at 160 F for 15 minutes in order to insure steril. Next I poured all the apple cider into the fermenter and added the yeast (pastura wine yeast). Fermentation has been strong for about a week. I am hopping to be able to taste it by Holloween. A few hours after I pitched the yeast fermentation began(probably more like 8 hours). The next day fermentatio had all but stopped. I decide to add yeast nutrients and ran to the store. Immediatly after I added the nutrients fermentation restarted. By the next day Their was foam comming out the airlock. Luckily my girlfriend is knowlegab about brewing and attached a blowoff tube. I believe apple cider is lacking in the correct nutrients for yeast to thrive. If anyone in HBD land has further information concerning this please respond. Brewing is more than a hobbie it is my life ;-). Leo Woessner (AKA. Estes of Manang) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 11:01:18 -0400 From: schotk at rpi.edu Subject: recipe request Anyone have a good John Courage-alike extract recipe that they would like to share? Thanks!! Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 9:18:04 MDT From: raid5!limd at csn.org (Davin Lim) Subject: Re: Medicine-y taste Joe Palladino asks: >1) What is a "phenolic" taste? Plastic-y? Tastes due to the presense of phenolics can vary. Mediciney is a term that is often attributed to phenolics (think wet Band-Aids (TM)). I guess wet Band-Aids are plastic, so "plastic-y" might also be appropriate. Clove-like characteristics are also attributed to phenolics - though this may be appropriate in the right context (e.g. in some wheat beers.) >2) I noticed that this unpleasant taste is more pronounced if I ferment >at higher temps (ales). Higher fermentation temperatures can and DO induce some strains of yeast to produce more phenolics. Going to a pure, known culture and lower temps sound like a good idea to me. >3) Do digest readers think it *is* due to chlorine in the water? Though I've heard from multiple sources that chlorine in your municipal water supply is a candidate for these characteristics, I'm venturing a guess that your problems are directly attributable to your yeast and fermentation temps. Some of my early brews used dry Munton & Fison (aka Muntona) yeast. ALL of these beers had a distinct wet Band-Aid aroma, and a clovelike flavor profile much like some German wheat beers I've had. I'm quite sure that sanitation wasn't a problem as other beers which were brewed with different yeasts (Edme, Whitbread) around this time period did NOT have this characteristic. I've since learned that there has been problems associated with M&F yeasts producing excessive phenolics. I don't want to say that M&F yeast has ALWAYS had this problem, but at least some production runs appear to have been affected. From those batches, I feel I've been "sensitized" to this flavor characteristic, and I don't care for it at all. I used to enjoy German wheat beers much more, but now they only trigger a bad association. The clove-y-ness of these beers, however, seems to be stronger the less fresh they are. >One final clue - no matter how much malt I seem to use, this taste >masks any malty residual sweetness, i.e. even with 7lbs of extract and >1 lb of crystal there is no appreciable maltiness. Unfortunately, I've resigned myself to the fact that to get real, honest-to-goodness maltiness, mashing (at least partial-mashing) is required. Extract brewing is so much more convenient, but just can't produce the maltiness that is sometimes required (e.g. a Pilsner Urqell -type brew.) For other styles of brew, extract brews produce quality as high as all-grain (let's not start the flame-wars, however.) - -- ........................................................................ * Davin Lim * limd at arraytech.com * Array Technology Corporation * -- OR you can try .. * Boulder, Colorado. * raid5!limd at devnull.mpd.tandem.com ........................................................................ Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1992 10:38:18 -0500 From: trl at photos.wustl.edu (Tom Leith MIR/ERL 362-6965) Subject: RE: used terms Spencer.W.Thomas at med.umich.edu writes: >Nope. Brown sugar is white sugar with molasses added back in. Oh really??? Should've guessed; nothing's for real these days. "Mexican" sugar must be the only "real" brown sugar any more. Comes in little cone-shaped chunks, hard as a rock. And quite dark. Thanks for the correction. And apologies to Victor... t Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1992 11:20:52 -0800 From: eurquhar at sfu.ca Subject: ragi and koji Greetings experimental brewers ... In issue #996 Victor Reijs spoke about ragi as a southeast asian yeast used for fermentation. I too was intrigued when I found this in a local asian store and it was marked yeast. Well a little investigation provided a better explanation. Ragi is a symbiotic combination of yeasts and fungi (Endomycopsis yeast and Amylomyces fungi are most prominent in Indonesian ragi). The fungi produces strong amylolytic enzymes to digest the starch which the yeast can then ferment into alcohol. The fungi can also produce alcohol with both organisms producing volatile acids. Cooked glutinous or sweet rice is inoculated and liquid accumulates in the bottom after 2 days. The rice becomes quite sweet with a distinct tangy smell like yogurt with alcohol thrown in develops. If allowed to ferment longer as much as 6-8 % alcohol can supposedly develop. The whole thing is eaten as a dessert which is quite tasty and well loved by Indonesian students here at SFU. Koji is a japanese/mainland southeast asia product created by the action of Aspergillus and/or Rhizopus spp. fungi on cooked rice. Only the starch is converted with no alcohol production. This is accomplished by other organisms added/which appear later on in the fermentation resulting in sake/soy sauce etc. This is apparently a common process throughout southeast aofrpd. aFetn Eric Urqreur.)Cet Ptam pfiilee Simon r vi,by.Cd Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 11:46:09 PDT From: malouf at Csli.Stanford.EDU (Rob Malouf) Subject: Bee pollen >Jim Larsen (jal at techbook.com) informed me via e-mail that bee pollen >is a (the?) traditional yeast nutrient for mead. Thanks again, >Jim. Does anybody have any idea how much to use per gallon? > >Acton and Duncan recommend a combination of ammonium phosphate >and vitamin B1 for nutrient. I don't feel a whole lot better >about ammonium phosphate than I do about urea (although at >least my mead won't _literally_ be p*ss-water :-). ... >Rob (bradley at adx.adelphi.edu) I have made only two batches of mead, so I am hardly an expert, but I won't let that stop me from putting in my two cents! The first batch was made with processed honey, "Fermax" yeast nutrient, acid blend, and Red Star Champagne yeast. It fermented down to about 1.010 over three months at temperatures around 95-105F (I lived in an attic apartment). It had a vile flavor that took another year to age out, but when it finally did it had a pretty good flavor. The second batch was made with raw wildflower honey, a couple of pounds of frozen raspberries, and Red Star Prise de Mousse yeast. It fermented down to around 0.998 in three months at 75-100F. Its flavor was always good, though yeasty, and it was quite drinkable immediately after bottling. I'm going to give it a few more months of aging, just to see what it will do, bit I'm very happy with the flavor as it is. I think the moral of this story is that you can make good mead without adding yeast nutrient. Presumably a major difference between processed and raw honey is the presence of lots of bee pollen, so you may be on the right track there. Raw honey also has lots of wax and bee parts in it that may add helpful nutrients that plain bee pollen wouldn't. You can also get raw honey pretty cheaply and in more interesting varieties than processed honey. It is also possible that the raspberries provided something crucial for the second batch. I plan on brewing (is that the right word?) up a batch of lemon grass/ginger mead soon, so I'll let you know if raw honey will ferment well on its own. Rob Malouf malouf at csli.stanford.edu Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 13:59:47 CDT From: jay marshall 283-5903 <marshall at sweetpea.jsc.nasa.gov> Subject: bottling from kegs A question to those of you who keg... If you want to put some of your wonderful kegged brew into a bottle for consumption elsewhere, what methods do you use? I am just starting to keg and would still like to be able to take some along occasionally. thanks for your inputs, Jay marshall at sweetpea.jsc.nasa.gov Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 10:31:00 -0500 From: roy.rudebusch at travel.com (Roy Rudebusch) Subject: Robin Hood Mead From: roy.rudebusch at travel.com Greetings mead fans; I am treatning to brew this mead: Robin Hood Ginger Ale Close your eyes and imagine that you are in Sherwood Forest. You have been battling Democrats all day and are plumb wore out. Friar Tuck brings out a special ale usually brewed only for the Royalty.... 5 gal OG 1126 TG 1.012 (attempt) Boil in 4 gal water for 45 min: 8 oz crushed ginger root 3 tsp acid blend After 45 min add: 18# honey boil 5 min. Force chill, top up to 5.25 gal. Rack onto the yeast sediment from an ordinary ale beer, (I will use W-1028). It should ferment until about 12% alcohol/wt is reached. Wassail! * OLX 2.2 * Beauty is in the eye of the mead holder Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 16:29 EDT From: Phil Bardsley <UPHILB at UNC.OIT.UNC.EDU> Subject: Barley seed source Hi brewers - My sister-in-law has promised to grow some barley for me in a test plot she has at work. I'd like whatever advice your cumulative wisdom can offer about: 1) sources of seed, 2) strains (like, what is American 6-row, English 2-row, etc.), 3) and a good reference or two for malting. I'm a relative new- comer to homebrewing, but I want to try out as many aspects of it as is practical. Thanks much, Phil (uphilb at unc.oit.unc.edu) Return to table of contents
Date: Fri Oct 23 13:35:48 PDT 1992 From: sslovac at atss.calstatela.edu Subject: HELP -Finding Ale Hand Pumps (Beer Engines) I'm looking for a distributor (used or new) who carries Hand Pulls -Beer Engines - for serving English Ales (real ale). It seems that most US distributors of equipment don't carry this type of serving equipment. I would appreciate any suggestions. Simeon Slovacek, Crown of the Valley Brewing Society, Pasadena CA Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 12:22:43 EDT From: cjh at diaspar.HQ.Ileaf.COM (Chip Hitchcock) Subject: brown sugar trl at photos.wustl.edu says > Brown Cane sugar, less refined than the normal, white granulated stuff Sugar: people use for baking, and in tea. It has molasses flavor. As most flavors, you need to try it to really know. The less refining, the darker in color it will be. This is not true in the U.S., where food-safety laws require that all sugar be fully refined. "Brown" sugar is a mixture of sugar and molasses. I think there are some other non-white sugars available that are incompletely refined but am not sure whether these are produced here or are imports. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 16:04:18 -0700 From: Carl.Hensler at West.Sun.COM (Carl Hensler) Subject: SoCal Bier de Garde alert For those of you in Southern California, the Trader Joe's chain has "Jenlain", a French Biere de Garde, for $1.99 a 750 ml bottle with champange-style cork and wire closure. Good stuff! In Michael Jackson's "Pocket Guide to Beer," he says: "Just south of Valenciennes, Duyck produces Jenlain *** -> ****, a classic Biere de Garde, with a deep, amber color, fruity nose, and hints of licorice in its long finish. In the tradition of this style, it is a top-fermenting brew, all-malt, 16 Plato (1064; 5.2; 6.5), not pasturized, although it is filtered (ideally it should not be - the original idea of a Biere de Garde was that it could be laid down)." [In Jackson's rating system, *** is "worth seeking out" and **** is "world classic."] The label on the bottle says: "At the turn of the century, over 2000 farms in the North of France brewed their own beer. They produced for themselves and their neighbors distinctive ales that were cool-aged for a month or longer. Called "bierres de garde" these deep amber ales were famous for their full flavor and exceptionally refreshing taste. Today only 30 or so farmhouse breweries remain to continue the tradition. The best known is brasserie Duyck, and their Jenlain is France's favorite country ale." "Jenlain contains only pure artesian well water, barley malt from the Champagne region and hops from Alsace." Yes, Darryl, I'll save you some. Carl Hensler SunSoft, Inc Disclaimer: Sun has no interest in Trader Joe's (yet). I did not clear this with Scott or anybody else. I deny sending this message. Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 92 23:36:07 PDT From: LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO DRINK CHEAP BEER <UNDERWOOD at INTEL7.intel.com> Subject: More rookie questions.. Hi all, In a never ending attempt to brew that 'perfect' beer, I have a few questions. forgive me if these have been asked and answered a hundreds times or more, (which I'm sure they have) but I have to delete these posts frequently. 1. I saw a 5 gal Igloo cooler in a store the other day. I am still experimenting with partial mashes and thought, this is the one I've been looking for! How do you go about replacing the push button valve with one that allows a lot more control in sparging? 2. What is a good extract/grain ratio for partial mashes. 1 3# can to 3#s grain, etc. I guess I should say what is standard. 3. I've heard a lot of talk about efficiency, 90%, so many points, etc. What's it all about. 4. And finally, does yeast really play that big of a role in taste? Excuse my ignorance, but I've always used the little dry yeast packet that comes with the cans ( I did buy some liquid once) and my beers taste fine to me. Will they improve that much? Thanks again, Chuck Return to table of contents
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 1992 17:14:27 +0100 From: oxcommed at vax.ox.ac.uk Subject: cider, etc. I think this bounced the first try. Apologies if it appears in the digest twice! I arrived back from holiday (that's vacation to you) to find a thread about cider in the hbd. I thought a UK perspective might be of interest. In what follows, "cider" means what you call "hard cider"; in the UK we don't use "cider" to describe unfermented, nonalcoholic apple juice. Firstly, a correspondent (Andy Kurtz, hbd982) asks whether cider can be bottled. In fact, apart from in pubs and bars (almost all of which will have some cider on draught) most of the cider sold in the UK is in bottles, both glass and PET (see later). This cider is generally highly carbonated (like bottled beer) but this is in every case artificially obtained. Traditional cider is still (uncarbonated), because unlike beer could only be made at one time of year and had to last in the cask until the next year's brew. The high tannin content of old cider apple varieties helped its keeping properties. Commercial bottled cider is generally much sweeter than the traditional stuff, and is filtered and pasteurised. Cider was formerly always made with pure apple juice (i.e. no water was added) and thus had a much greater strength than present beer or cider, perhaps as much as 12 percent. Another contributor has a batch of cider which has become "vinegary". I can confirm that for a traditional-style cider this is totally authentic! Not to everyone's taste, however. Some remedy can be made by adding sugar (one of the most common problems is when _all_ the sugar ferments out making the residual acidity seem more unpleasant. If the brew is totally vinegary, however, why not put different labels on the bottles and call it cider vinegar? Here this sells as a culinary ingredient at a premium over malt or spirit vinegar, and is used in the same way as wine vinegar. If you suspect that the vinegariness is due to a bacterial infection, however, this is probably not to be recommended... Ellis, in "The Compleat Cyderman" (London, 1754), recommends adding a pint of wheat to each hogshead of cider to "sweeten and feed" it. I'm not sure whether this is a US or UK hogshead... On a different subject, people seem to want to add citrus peel to brews. I seem to remember reading somewhere that citrus oils can inhibit yeast growth and/or fermentation. Yet another subject: Don Levey (hbd986) asked about using plastic bottles. As I mentioned above, in the UK probably half the supermarket sales of cider and beer come in 2 or 3 litre PET bottles. Because of the way that these are moulded they can withstand high carbonation pressures, are usually brown or green tinted, and appear ideal for beer re-use. The only possible problem might come with sterilising them as some of the more aggressive sterilising agents can weaken plastics. ========================================================== Paul Hilditch Phone +44 235 555440 MediSense, Inc. Fax +44 235 553462 Abingdon, UK oxcommed at vax.ox.ac.uk ========================================================== Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 92 16:03:20 -0500 From: bradley at adx.adelphi.edu (Rob Bradley) Subject: do lazy bottles gush? Is there some reason why beer bottles shouldn't be put on their sides in the fridge? I'm not talking about homebrew, which I always stand up becuase of the sediment. Nor do I recall ever having a problem with industrial beer. In the last month or so, all four store-bought beers I've had in the fridge have gushed at least once. All were Reinheitsgebot: Beck's, New Amsterdam Amber, New York Harbor Amber and Brooklyn Brown. They'd all been resting for a day or more and none had been shaken after being removed from the fridge. Tangentially, I noticed Brooklyn Lager bottles in Spike Lee's "Do The Rigth Thing" the other night. I thought it was a new brewery, but the movie was shot in 1989 (or earlier?). Do you suppose the brewery paid a fee the way Coke does to get exposure in major Hollywood movies? Cheers, Rob (bradley at adx.adelphi.edu) Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 92 16:12:19 -0500 From: bradley at adx.adelphi.edu (Rob Bradley) Subject: potassium sorbate Is potassium sorbate harmful to yeast? I was making cider and got an unexpectedly high FG. Casting around for an explanation, I found the original cider bottle in the recycling box. The label says "1/10 of 1% potassium sorbate added as preservative". Cheers, Rob (bradley at adx.adelphi.edu) Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1992 14:08:23 -0800 (PST) From: LIETZKE at UCRPH0.UCR.EDU (CHRIS LIETZKE - UCR PHYSICS) Subject: RE: water problems Suggestion: For those of you, like me, who live in a water district where you can see more of the water than you want to, and are wondering what is in there that you can't see, do what I do, Buy 5 gallons of "Mountain Spring" water at the supermarket. You still should boil all of it for reasons mentioned by others, but this way you are somewhat guaranteed that the water won't be the reason that your homebrew tastes less than pleasing. Chris Return to table of contents
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1992 18:08:50 EST From: zelaznyj at aspen.ulowell.edu Subject: More about Altbier Pardon me for being so far behind the times, but I was catching up on some reading and felt compelled to try to add to the discussion. The topic earlier this month was Dusseldorf style altbiers. This is a beer that I've gone to some lengths to research, so some of my observations (and I'm under no illusion about these being subjective observations) may be of interest to some. A recent trip to Europe brought my new wife and I through parts of western Germany. What a honeymoon, eh? This was by design, of course, we've been interested in the style of altbiers for a coupla years. The characteristic of Dusseldorf's unique product that struck us both was the overwhelming bitterness of the alts at the brewpubs. I qualify the observation that way because we later discovered that the bottled version was less bitter. We visited Zum Uerige, Zum Schlussel, Schumacher, and Im Fuchschen. Sherri and I had a hard time agreeing on which brewery had the most bitter example. I said it was Zum Uerige, she said it was Im Fuchschen. Both were "Aggressively" bitter and there was a noticable astringency associated with each. I think some of our argument about the relative bitterness of these two was due to the astringency factor. It is often difficult for me to distinguish the two in highly hopped beers. The other two brewpubs had beers similar in overall make-up, but less bitter. I thought that Zum Schlussel even had a touch of ale fruitiness, differentiating it from the other three. I disagree with those people who contend that this is a big, malty beer. Roger Deschner writes: >The best reference for this style is Michael Jackson's Pocket Guide to >Beer. I commend the Dusseldorf section to everyone, ESPECIALLY to those >who might be revising the AHA contest guidelines, or judging this >category in a contest. Jackson is very specific - gravity 12 plato >(1.048), Spalt hops, bitterness from the lower 30s to the 50s, (*NOT* the >25-35 which the AHA lists!) colour around 35 EBC. Roger is right on the money here, with a gravity of 1048 it can hardly be a big beer, and in fact I suspect the gravity of those at the Dusseldorfer brewpubs was a little less. Note the bitterness, 30 isn't so high, but 50! Roger describes #1338 yeast snd the malty aroma associated its beers. Adding: > This yeast is also one of >the major elements which makes Alt different from the superficially >similar Brittish pale ales. It does allow the malt to predominate in the nose, as Roger suggests, but this is also because there is *VERY* little hop aroma in these beers. The malt comes through in the aroma, but that is more than offset by altbier's strong bitterness. I'd like to point out that another major difference between alts and pale ales is the amount of esters. Pale ales are required to be estery and fruity. Even the most fruity alt can't hold a candle to a pale ale. I think its important to remember that hop bitterness is not the same as hop aroma. Bitterness is the product of the brewer having successfully gotten the slightly soluble alpha acids into solution by utilizing a big rolling boil. This vigorous boil also volatilizes the aromatic hop compounds which make up the aroma. Without later hop additions there is only bitterness in the beer and no hop aroma. This is what I suspect the alt brewers are doing. >What most people, including beer judges, don't understand about Alt is >that it is supposed to have a big, malty flavor profile, with lots and >lots of hop bitterness. This misconception, no doubt, stems from the >lack of good commercial examples available here - it takes a trip to >Dusseldorf to taste it. I agree with Roger that the beer has loads of bitterness, but I don't understand how you can have a big malty flavor profile with it. Then there is that astringency I spoke of.....While at Im Fuchschen I was behaving like a typical beer geek and sticking my nose into the beer glass, holding it up to the light, etc.. A young man sitting across the table from me pointed to my Otter Creek Brewery t-shirt and asked if I was a brewer. I told him I'm a homebrewer and that I'm interested in duplicating (dusselicating?) this style of beer. He said that he was a brewer for a large commercial brewery in Berlin, and although he brews lagers, he knows how they brew the alts as well. Then he took a coaster from the table and diagrammed out the mash sequence for an altbier! It was like this: Mash in at 52 degrees C for 20 minutes; step up to 62 degrees C for 40 to 50 minutes; then to 72 degrees C for 15 minutes; mash out at 100 degrees C for 20 minutes. He recommended sparging with 78 C water It seems to me that the mashout at 100 C is as good as boiling the grist. Not quite, because presence of dissolved sugars elevates the boiling point. The real point :-) is that the astringency that Sherri and I thought we tasted could very well have been there because of that kind of mashing out temperature. I asked the brewer about grains and he swept the question aside by saying "just use German, and maybe some English, 2-row malted barley" He also recommended a 90 minute boil. I didn't ask about hops, but it was pretty clear that you needed to just boil the hell out of some German hops and get a bitterness in the range of 30 to 50 IBU as Roger noted above. When I got home I made an alt beer based on some of the information I got. It is as close to the real thing as I've ever gotten before. Its 'wicked' bitter with just a hint of astringency (I didn't quite bring the grist to 100C.) It may have a bit too much body for the style, but I like what I've made. Sherri says its too bitter, but she said that in Dusseldorf, too, so that can't be all bad. I'm afraid that I'm now going to enter my best alt beer into competition and I'll get trashed by judges that say its too bitter, or too astringent. Oh well. I like it. Norm Hardy adds: >[1] Widmer Alt was originally a Uerige Alt clone, or as close as Kurt Widmer > could do (he did, and maybe still does, use the same yeast). Problem was, > it just wasn't selling. I think that is easy to understand based on what an authentic altbier is supposed to be like. >[2] The alt beers of Duesseldorf are varied, from light amber to very dark > amber. The tastes run from semi-malty and sweet (Schlosser, Diebels) to > VERY bitter (Uerige and Schumacher and some others I can't remember now). > My last time there, in 1990, I found the alts to have a grapefruit kind > of bitterness that I found off-putting. Perhaps this coming summer will > prove to be more enlightening. Norm could be right on the money here because the two he describes as sweeter versions are bottled, the two described as very bitter are from two of the small altbier brewpubs. Personally, I regard the brewpubs as the keepers of the tradition. The larger breweries are more interested in marketing and mass-appeal, surprising?:-) I'd like to hypothesize that the "grapefruit bitterness" that Norm found disagreeable is more like a rind or pith bitterness, rather than what we normally think of as citrusy-bitterness. It may be a product of the astringency, or perhaps the phenols which can be formed when phenolic compounds are extracted from the husks. >[3] Some German locals have said that some alt beers could be blind tasted > and could be confused for pilsners (again, BLIND tasted). Interesting > conjecture.... Interesting, and not entirely preposterous. There is a lack of the fruitiness associated with ales. Mostly 2-row malt is used, and it hopped to high heaven. If the alt is a little less hopped than the average it could be considered close to a hoppy pils. Then again, I may be totally mad. Sorry that this was so long winded, but feel a lot better. Thanks for your indulgence. -julian zelazny  Return to table of contents
End of HOMEBREW Digest #998, 10/26/92