Monday, December 31, 2012

7C Düsseldorf Altbier

I mentioned not-to-long-ago that my 2013 brewing goal is to expand my resume of beer styles. I want to have at least one beer brewed of each of the 23 BJCP style categories. Up until now, I have brewed at least one all-grain batch in 12 of them. In 2013, my goal is to brew at least one beer in each of the 11 remaining categories.

For the list of what the categories are and what I have and have not brewed, see SheppyBrew Styles.

On New Year's day, I am planning on brewing a Düsseldorf Altbier, which is in Category 7 — Amber Hybrid Beer.

I've already shared on this blog the recipe I'm making .... Sasquatch Hunter Düsseldorf Altbier.

An Altbier is an amber German ale fermented cool. This cool fermentation gives the beer a nice crisp clean finish with low yeast-derived esters. In other words, it is very much lager-like in its character. Thus, it is a hybrid between an ale and a lager.

The BJCP has two styles of Altbier. The Düsseldorf Altbier is more bitter and hoppy than the Northern German Altbier. Alaskan Amber is the only Northern German Altbier I've had that comes readily to mind, although I know I've had several at small breweries and brew-pubs. I really like the style. I do not think I've ever actually had a Düsseldorf Altbier, so it will be cool for my first one to be a SheppyBrew.

A fellow-home-brewer and person who reads my blog actually asked what Sasquatch has to do with Altbier. It is a loose association, but when I think of Altbier, I think of deep, dark old German forests. I picture fabled woodcutters such as Hansel and Gretel's father drinking Albier by a fireplace a after a hard day's work. Sasquatch hunting takes place in heavily forested areas as well. When I think of Sasquatch, I am brought back to my days as a kid living and camping in deep green forests of Washington State.

Additionally, the Altbier that sticks out for me is Alaskan Amber. Again, Alaska makes me think wilderness where Bigfoots (if they exist) would live. Early in my brewing history, I thought incorporating Sasquatch into the name of a beer would be a cool idea. I came across an Alaskan Amber clone, and put it into my brewing software at the time (before I owned BeerSmith). I decided to call it Sasquatch ale or something like that. I never brewed this recipe, and never even transferred it onto or into BeerSmith, but I guess you could say the name is a nod to my early brewing days.

Like I say on the Sasquatch Hunter Düsseldorf Altbier recipe page, if you don't like the name, you can name your German Altbier something else.

I used Jamil's "Cowboy Alt" recipe from Brewing Classic Styles as a starting point for my recipe. If you look closely, you will see my recipe isn't quite the same as his, but it is pretty close. I am adding some White Labs' "Clarity-Ferm", which makes this beer Gluten Reduced. This means I will have something our friend "Gretchen" can drink on tap.

So, there you go. I am starting my 2013 brewing as early as I can this year. Everyone have a Hoppy Brew Year.