German Ales

Recognised as the world leaders in the production of lager beers, it is hard to imagine German brewers creating indigenous ale styles. Neither single yeast cell isolation nor artificial refrigeration were at anyone’s disposal in the early days of brewing, so brewers were left to work with what they had: top-fermenting yeast strains.

One of these ale styles is known as altbier,. the style is strongly associated with the city of Dusseldorf , though it also has lesser ties to Munster and Dortmund. The word “alt,” contrary to popular belief, does not mean ale, but rather “old,” a reference to Old World brewing styles.

As is common to ale styles, modern day altbiers are fermented warm, but they are aged cold like lager beer. The altbier profile is deep amber to copper in colour, light to medium-bodied, with an assertive palate and somewhat aggressive hop levels. The hop mix is complex and differs varieties such as Hallertau, Tettnang and Spalt are usual.

The second and even lesser known German ale is Kolschbier, pronounced “kelsh.” The name is a controlled appellation. Kolsch is a derivation of the city of Koln ( in French, :cologne” ). The name is only used commercially for beers of this style brewed in Cologne by members of the Koln Brewer’s Union. This ensures that only members of the Koln Brewer’s Union may produce and market Kolschbier.

The appearance of the beer is noticeably pale and slightly hazy, due partly to the addition of wheat, but mostly to the fact that the beer is unfiltered. Kolschbier is clean on the palate, with a slightly hazy, due partly to the fact that the beer is unfiltered. Kolschbier is clean on the palate, with a slight lactic character. It is low in gravity and alcohol content. Hop bitterness is fairly high, and the overall profile is that of a refreshing summer-type beer. Citizens of Koln proudly swear by it’s qualities as a digestive aid.

Recipes

  • 1.5kg NFP Superfine Malt
  • 300g Cracked Crystal Malt
  • 500g Spray Dried Malt
  • 500g Glucose
  • 50g Halletau Hop Pellets
  • 20g Southern Brewer Hop Pellets
  • 1 x Safale Beer Yeast
  • 1 x Beer Yeast Nutrient
  • 1 x Brewing Salts
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 x Finings

Start S.G approximately 1046
Final S.G 1009

Take the crushed crystal malt place in a stocking & simmer on the stove for 30 minutes in 3-4 liters of water and then remove. Place your hops in a stocking & add to the crystal malt water simmer 10 minutes. Leaving the stocking in the water add the superfine malt, spray dried malt, pinch of salt, beer yeast nutrient, brewing salts, salt & simmer 15 minutes. Remove the hop stocking and squeeze thoroughly. Put the glucose in the brewing bucket, pour the wort into the brewing bucket & mix thoroughly with the wort. Fill up to 22 liters with cold tap water. Wait until temperature drops to 22 degrees Celsius and take S.G reading. Add yeast and leave to ferment. When final S.G reading is reached boil finings with 150ml water and pour gently over the brew. Leave 48 hours and bottle.


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