Sunday, December 30, 2007

Final analysis: F5 Altbier

One of the things I'd like to start doing on this site is posting final tasting notes each brew, along with a picture. Anyway, first up is my F5 Altbier:

Style: Düsseldorf-style Altbier. Original gravity: 1052. Final gravity: 1011. ABV: 5.4%

Appearance: Slightly hazy, deep chestnut color; moderate beige head that quickly dissipates to about a quarter inch.

Smell: Sweet, bready malt smell up front, with a hint of grassy, herbal noble hops.

Taste: The malt hits up front, with flavors of molasses and honey. Very clean, no noticeable esters or phenols. As the malt dissipates, moderate hop bitterness takes over. The finish is herbal and grassy with the bitterness of grapefruit rind. A muddy bitterness lingers, with just a slight mineral bite.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied but not too heavy. Moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Very refreshing... bitter enough that you want another sip, but not overly so.

Final thoughts: I initially thought this was way overhopped, but after visiting Düsseldorf, I think the bitterness is right on. I tried this side-by-side with a bottle of Schlüssel Alt and I found this one to be heavier and less "bright" than Schlüssel. (I have this notion of "brightness" and "muddiness" that I've yet to translate into a vernacular anybody else can understand, but it's a distinction I also notice between porters I like and ones I don't.) I've started reading Horst Dornbusch's book on Altbier, and he says the yeast is essential. With that in mind, I'm thinking of trying the White Labs American Hefeweizen yeast next time. It may sound somewhat counterintuitive, but the rumor is that the yeast originally came from Uerige via Widmer, and after drinking their beer on tap I can kind of see it. The beer isn't really estery, but neither are American Hefes, and it could provide that "brightness" I'm not getting from the White Labs German Ale/Kölsch yeast. The other thing I might do is re-examine the grain bill. I might cut out the specialty grains, lightening up the color and simplifying things for now. Overall, I think I brewed a good beer, but it's not even close to a true Düsseldorf Alt, which is what I'm going for.


Blogger Ted Danyluk said...

Can't wait to read about them. And see what they look like.

It feels like we live a world apart. I too will be posting final results and photos. So if we cant get together, then at least we can get a good idea of what each other is

12:21 PM, December 31, 2007  
Blogger Adam said...

Tasting notes for homebrew is such a slippery slope for me. I'm usually too influenced by the taste of the raw ingredients to judge well. That doesn't mean I won't keep trying. Usually it takes a while for me to get enough distance from it to feel like I'm objective enough.

Looking forward to reading your tasting notes!


8:57 AM, January 02, 2008  

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