Dusseldorfer Altbier

I just realized I hadn’t written about a major brew day.  I did an Altbier a while back.  A while as in it’s packaged and ready to go.

Okay first impressions, I got the beer too dark.  3.3 ounces of Black Malt yielded a dark coppery red beer.  I was looking for old penny.  It has a persistent off-white head, is clear and bright.  Aroma is hop-forward, noble hop with a light, fruity note of malt esters.  I’d go with tropical fruit.  Maybe if I knew what a lychee smelled like….  This is a bitter beer with good fruits, almost apple or pear with just enough dark undertones to let you know you aren’t drinking a German lager.  Mouthfeel is moderately light.  I like this beer!  About the only flaw I can find is the color.  And I love the hops.  This is a bitter, flavorful beer.  It’s also very clean – I controlled the fermentation temperature very closely and the result was very pleasant.  No off flavors.

I’m happy with it.  I’ll take it to another beer geek colleague and see how close it is to the genuine Altbiers he was drinking a few weeks ago.  Best drinking temp is in the high 40’s or low 50’s.

Berliner Weisse Follow Up

If you brew and use open (bucket) fermentation, don’t worry if you aren’t getting bubbles out of the airlock.  My Berliner Weisse is going quite nicely but not a bit of gas is passing through the blow-off tube.  The bucket is too leaky, the gas gets out around the rim.  But the good news is it’s fermenting away happily at 65 degrees.  It will be ready to bottle by this weekend.


The Berliner Weisse hasn’t started fermentation just yet.  Reading about the European Ale yeast from White Labs, it’s a notorious slow starter.  Nothing to worry about yet.  Meanwhile, I forgot to report on the Riesling!  Last weekend my wife and I went to Palisade and got six gallons of Riesling juice, pitched it with winemaker’s yeast Ba11 and it’s perking away in the fridge downstairs at 55 degrees.  We took a gravity sample today, about half the sugar is gone and the Federweisser – Mosel German for new wine – tastes wonderful!  If this wine keeps developing as it is, we’ll have a magnificent Mosel-style Riesling and I may have to drink wine for a while.

A bit more on the planned fermentation of the Weisse.  I pitched the lactobacillus brevis at about 100 degrees.  Now it’s in the wort and the wort is at 65 degrees.  The European Ale yeast is in as well and lagging considerably – it’s been 24 hours and I still don’t have noticeable fermentation, something very unusual for my beers.  But I generally pitch starters, not recommended for the dual fermentation regime I’m working.  So if I have nothing tomorrow evening I’ll start to worry but not yet. 

Brew Day – Berliner Weisse

Berliner Weisse.  Sour, refreshing, called by Napoleon’s soldiers the Champagne of the North.  Commonly served with raspberry or woodruff syrup, it’s a complex, light beer.  At 3% – 4% ABV, it’s very light, perfect for hot summer days in the capitol.  And it’s nearly extinct, replaced by German pilsners that ever more resemble a Coors.  Brew day today.

Mash went  well, 90 minutes at around 150 degrees.  I tempered the mash three times to get 75% conversion efficency.  Boil time was 15 minutes with 8 IBUs of Perle hops.  Result was a 1.032 wort, very light.

I then chilled the wort to 105 degrees and pitched my lacto.  Not the normal lactobacillus Delbruckii, but lactobacillus brevis, the lacto found in Berlin.


Pitch was at 105 degrees and to let the lacto get a hold on the wort, I ran errands for a few hours as the wort cooled naturally.  When I got back, I forced the wort down to 68 degrees, then pitched my European Ale yeast.  It’s now in a water bath to hold it at 66 degrees through fermentation.

Don’t know where I’m going to get Woodruff syrup here in the States but World Market may be a place to try.  That’s my former bottling bucket you see – time to replace it so I’ll use it for open fermentations of soured ales from now on.

American Brown Ale

My BIAB Brown is conditioned and ready to drink.  It’s cloudy, expected because I forgot my kettle finings, but that’s merely an aesthetic flaw.  One that sets my teeth on edge, but merely aesthetic.  The beer itself is quite good – I’ll mod the recipe for all-grain full batches in the future.  It’s a 5% beer sessionable, 50 IU, finished with Willamette, bitter and malty and quite fruity-floral, a direction I believe might be called tropical fruit.  Browns are the “boring” category – this one isn’t.  I’m happy and quite proud of this beer, even cloudy.


Edgewater Brewing, Grand Junction, CO

With a view like this, how can a brewery go wrong?


And yes, that’s a bat  caught in the foreground.  The background is Colorado’s Grand Mesa.  On our trip we drove over it, a glorious place.

Edgewater is Kannah Creek’s newest venture.  As mentioned the view is nice but the beers, well, they’re much better than you can get from a mass-market brewer.  I had the 8-beer sampler:


Two of their beers, the Amber and the Pale Ale, were GABF winners and they are solid beers.  The remainder….  Blonde was unremarkable.  Hefeweizen tasted like clove, IPA was harshly bitter, the Stout and the Brown were solid beers but unremarkable but then there was this melange of beer, peach, prickly pear, allspice and eucalyptus.  Tell me what caused a brewer to create that?  It tasted like washing a Halls down with an ESB.  Bad idea, guys!  But hey, it was worth a shot.

All in all, not a bad brewery.  I missed the Palisade Brewery this time, it was a short trip.  If you’re in downtown Grand Junction, Kannah is worth a shot but I’d skip Edgewater, unfortunately, because the view is fantastic.

Beers, Bottling, First Taste of Sauerkraut

I’m sitting here with my Nosy Bear Kolle – it was on tap this summer at the Dillon Dam Brewery.  It took a gold medal in its class last year at their homebrew competition.  It’s still good but I need to be done with it.

Bottled the Altbier this evening.  Hoppy but not much malt flavor at 70 degrees green.  I’m hoping chilled and carbonated it is better.

The Sauerkraut is great on hot dogs.