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Altbier: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes Paperback – Apr 1 1998


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Altbier: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes + Pale Ale, Revised: History, Brewing, Techniques, Recipes + Brown Ale: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (April 1 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381625
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.2 x 19.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #293,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

"Who says there's no such thing as a German ale? Eat your lederhosen! If you think the German beer land is just a lager land, think again, jawohl!"--from the preface

Brewed centuries ago by monks and nuns, this copper-colored, full-bodied ale has a proud and unbroken brewing tradition dating back to the beginning of civilization. Horst Dornbusch sheds light on the practices of commercial altbier makers, how the equipment and ingredients used affect its flavor, and how this full-bodied brew became one of Germany's most beloved beer styles. Recipes are included!

Brewers Publications Classic Beer Style Series is devoted to offering in-depth information on world-class beer styles by exploring their history, flavor profiles, brewing methods, recipes, and ingredients.

About the Author

Horst Dornbusch was born and raised in Dusseldorf, home of Germany's altbier. Following a twenty-year career in broadcasting and publishing in the United States and Canada, he decided to pursue his lifetime passion, beer. After apprenticing at a U.S. brewing company to learn how to make beer on a commercial scale, he started his own contract brewing company specializing in German-style beers. His company's flagship beer is--what else?--Dornbusch Alt, an authentic Dusseldorf-style brew.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Being a homebrewer for 4 years, I have found that Brewers Publications' Classic Beer Styles Series is an excellent resource for discovering and making numerous quality brews. In Altbier, Horst Dornbusch tackles a style that few people may have ever had. His approach is practical and to the point. The history section is thorough without being long-winded, as is sometimes the case with other books in the series. Mr. Dornbusch has done an excellent job applying his own brewing knowledge in explaining the ins and outs of altbier brewing. I have followed some of the recipes in the book, and I am extremely pleased with the results so far. The only downside to this book is that the section on style profile could have been more thorough and descriptive. However, this book is well worth the investment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Makes a mighty fine brew. June 13 2000
By G. Langowski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Being a homebrewer for 4 years, I have found that Brewers Publications' Classic Beer Styles Series is an excellent resource for discovering and making numerous quality brews. In Altbier, Horst Dornbusch tackles a style that few people may have ever had. His approach is practical and to the point. The history section is thorough without being long-winded, as is sometimes the case with other books in the series. Mr. Dornbusch has done an excellent job applying his own brewing knowledge in explaining the ins and outs of altbier brewing. I have followed some of the recipes in the book, and I am extremely pleased with the results so far. The only downside to this book is that the section on style profile could have been more thorough and descriptive. However, this book is well worth the investment.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Knows his stuff May 17 2010
By Cate Swan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm going to be brewing an alt and I got a recipe on line, and also have a couple of how-to-brew-beer books, BUT I had too many unanswered questions. This is relatively small, very concise, clearly written book on alts, by a man who hails from that part of Germany and learned how to brew them himself. Because it's a book specifically about altbier it covers territory that other brew books don't. An example: "If you prime your beer, avoid sugar, which can contribute a slightly sour aftertaste to the brew. Always use light dried malt extract (DME) istead." That statement, of course, refers to altbiers. He covers commercial, homebrew all-grain, and homebrew extract methods of brewing. This isn't a book for the first time brewer, however I've only got two batches under my belt and this book has clarified enough for me to proceed with confidence. Another bit of handy information included in the book: for those of us who have a regular old fridge, he points out that the temperature range of most of them falls between 40- 60 degrees fahrenheit. 60 degrees can be used for primary fermentation and 40 degrees is at the upper limit of the alt lagering temperature. Therefore, an unmodified refridgerator can be used for altbier making. Thanks Horst. Recipes in the back for one barrel, 5 gallons all-grain and 5 gallons extract.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
German ale you never heard of - Useful, if not 100% accurate Dec 12 2013
By David Siegfried - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This guide purports to tell you how to brew an authentic Altbier ("Old Beer"). The vast majority of beers brewed in Germany are Lagers. Altbier is one of the few German ales that still exists, but is only brewed in a small area in and around Dusseldorf. The style is pretty rare. I don't think you can get authentic German Altbier in the United States, so you have to brew it. I am a home brewer and have brewed this beer.

The book gives an interesting history of Altbier, description of the style, ingredients, equipment and methods of brewing. Altbier is an ale that is mashed using a 3 to as much as 5 step temperature mash, fermented at moderately low temperature (60-62F), and conditioned at lagering temperatures.

With most homebrewing books you can skip right to the recipes. Unfortunately, the recipes here are not fully developed. Instead of complete recipes the author calls them "guidelines". They are basically just ingredients and specifications. You must refer back to the text for specifics on mash schedule, boil time, hops addition timing, fermentation procedure, and conditioning instructions, as these are not included in the recipes. The author could have made it lot easier for the reader by simply including these in each recipe as most home brewing books do.

There are some inconsistencies in the book. For instance, under mashing the author states that "Total mash times for alt vary from a low of 150 to a high of 170 minutes." However, when he details the mash procedure, the mash times total no higher than 100 minutes, and the specific procedure he recommends for the home brewer is only 60 minutes total.

The biggest flaw is that most of the recipes include ingredients that would NOT be included in an authentic Altbier. In an effort to make things easier for the American home brewer, the author formulated the recipes using ingredients he thought would be easily accessible, rather than purely authentic. As a result, the recipes are a re-creation or simulation of an Altbier, but are not 100% true to the style. In particular, the majority of the recipes contain American crystal malt, primarily for color. However there is NO crystal malt used in an authentic Altbier.

The author revealed in an email that the color in the darker Dusseldorf Altbiers comes not from crystal but from the addition of a malt-essence coloring agent called SINAMAR, an extract made by the Weyermann Malting Company of Bamberg. It was invented in 1903. SINAMAR is made from dehusked Weyermann Carafa malt. Because the grain base of this product is dehusked, there is no bitterness associated with this liquid, just dark concentrated color.

When the author wrote the manuscript for the Alt book in 1997/8, SINAMAR was not available in North America, so he never mentioned it. He fudged and resorted to crystal malt for color in the book. To avoid roasty notes, he kept the color value to no more than 60 Lovibond. The results are simulations of Altbier but if you are a purist you should know that the addition of crystal malt is inaccurate. Now, SINAMAR is available in the United States, where it is imported and distributed by Crosby & Baker. Unfortunately the book never mentions it so we have to do our own formulating. As a guideline, 4 oz. will add 16 SRM units to 5 gallons. SINAMAR is used to add color only, it does not effect flavor or add roasted notes. If you are not a stickler for authenticity, go ahead and use the crystal. I used Weyermann Caramunich and Carafa malts to darken my altbier instead of American crystal malt, because these are German products and I believe truer to style. Another alternative might be to use a tiny amount of debittered black malt for color, or just leave out the crystal altogether.

The one completely authentic recipe in the book is the "Enderlein's Alt". This is actually a clone of Schumacher Alt, still brewed in the oldest altbier brewpub in Dusseldorf (and thus probably the world). It uses only one type of grain, a two-row Pils malt kilned to a pale Munich color rating of 6.5. It uses only German Hallertau hops. Any darkness in the color comes strictly from the Malliard Reaction that occurs in the long boiling time (up to 120 minutes). The formulation was supplied by Mr. Herbert Enderlein, the brewmaster at Brauerei Ferdinand Schumacher so this is the real deal.

Altbier is nearly a lost art and is mostly off the radar of today's hop-heavy craft beer seekers. Pick this book up if you want to explore some beer making history and try your hand at brewing a very traditional style with noble hops and a classic Old World taste.
Good read, not too lengthy July 25 2014
By Fish Tech - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have had this book for a while and just got around to reading it last weekend. I enjoyed the read. The author is obviously a subject matter expert. While I'm fairly technical regarding many things, this book was not written in such a manner that it was difficult to understand.

I am an experienced homebrewer who has been doing all-grain mashes for a few years. Other than the info about Altbier specifically, much of this information was not new to me. However, hearing the same info from different sources, in a slightly different way works for me. It serves to reinforce what I already know. The appendices in the back provide good reference material. I would buy this book again.
Excellent Book on Altbier April 2 2014
By P. Mulloy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dusseldorf native, home brewer, beer consultant and beer writer Horst Dornbusch provides an excellent review of his hometown beer. He is detailed enough for the home brewer interested in producing this style and winning awards for her labors, yet engaging enough to interest the beer enthusiast wanting to know more about this beer, its history, how it is brewed and how it is supposed to taste. I highly recommend it.


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