Altbier / American Amber
Home Brewing Recipes
Brooks Brewery Associate Brewer
Arny Lands
Beer Nexus
the crossroads of the beer world
First let me thank all of the readers who stopped in to say hello to me
at my new position at the
Brooks Brewery in the Northside Lounge in
Manville, NJ.  Although we don't do it for the general public if you write
me here at BeerNexus we can set up an appointment for a private tour.
Our head brewer Art Hanneman and I invite you to come in and enjoy
some of our beers.  I may be prejudiced a bit, but they're the best
around.  Okay, now for this month's article.  The first recipe I have for
you is for a a genuine
Altbier.   The style began in Northern Germany
and while you don't see it too often it nonetheless is an excellent beer. .
One way of looking at this style is that altbier is the opposite of steam
beer. While steam beers are lagers fermented at ale temperatures,
an altbier is most often an ale fermented at low temperatures and
then cold conditioned like a lager.

  12 oz. (336 grams) Caramunich malt
  4 oz. (112 grams) chocolate malt
  4 oz. (112 grams) black patent malt
  4 lbs. (1.8 kg) Munich liquid
  malt extract
  2 lbs. (0.9 kg) pale liquid malt extract
  1 lb. (0.45 kg) wheat liquid malt extract
  1 oz. (28 grams) Perle hops
  1 oz. (28 grams) Spalt hops
  1 tsp. Irish Moss or one
  Whirlfloc tablet
  Use one of the following yeasts based on your preference:
  Wyeast 1007 (German Ale), White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch)
or White Labs WLP036 (Düsseldorf Alt)

Step by step
Place the grains in a grain bag and steep in 155 ºF (68 ºC) water for 15
minutes. Remove the bag and allow to drain, then discard the grains.
Bring water to boil, turn off heat and add the extracts, stirring until
dissolved. Bring to a boil and add 1 oz. (28 grams) Perle bittering hops.
After 45 minutes add 1/2 oz. (14 grams) Spalt hops for flavor and the
Irish moss or a Whirlfloc tablet. After 55 minutes have elapsed, add 1/2
oz. (14 grams) Spalt hops for aroma.

Wyeast 1007 (German Ale) yeast will ferment at temperatures as low as
55 ºF (13 ºC), producing an exceptionally clean beer normally only found
with lagers. White Labs WLP029 (German Ale/Kölsch) ferments down to
62 ºF (17 ºC), finishes clean and brings out hop flavors. For a sweeter
finish with less hop flavor try WLP036 (Düsseldorf Alt).

After primary fermentation is complete, drop the temperature down to
32–40 ºF (0–4 ºC) and cold condition for 2–6 weeks. Bottle or keg with a
goal of medium-high carbonation and enjoy!you it was quick and easy!


Here's my take on an
American Amber Ale.  Although a relative to the
American pale ale, amber ales should not have a high level of hop
aroma. Rather, they should be hopped in a way that balances and
compliments the malty profile. Most of the bitterness levels for this style
of beer are achieved in the early hop additions.

  3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Coopers light malt extract
  3 lbs. (1.4 kg) amber dry malt extract
  8oz. (224 grams) crystal 40 ºL
  2oz. (56 grams) crystal 135–165 ºL
  1/2. oz. (14 grams) Chinook hops (60 minutes)
  1 oz. (28 grams) Willamette hops (30 minutes)
  1 oz. (28 grams) Willamette hops (5 minutes)
  White Labs WLP001 (California Ale) yeast
  1 tsp. Irish moss at 45 minutes
  3/4 cup priming sugar

Step by step

Fill brew pot with at least 3 gallons (11.4 L) of cold fresh water. Bring
water temperature up to 150 ºF (66 ºC). Add steeping grains to a muslin
bag. Tie up the end of the bag and add to the brewing pot. Steep grains
for 15–20 minutes then remove. Stir in the liquid and dry malt extracts
until completely dissolved. Bring the wort to a boil making sure to watch
carefully to prevent a boil over. Once a nice gentle rolling boil is
achieved, add the first addition of Chinook hops. The total boiling time
will be 60 minutes. At 30 minutes into the boil, add the first addition of
Willamette Hops. At 45 minutes into the boil, add the Irish Moss. At 55
minutes into the boil, add the second addition of Willamette Hops. After
60 minutes, turn off stove and remove brewing pot from heat. Remove
hops. Cool the wort down as quickly as possible by using a wort chiller or
by placing brewing pot into a cold water bath in your sink. Once wort has
reached 75–80 ºF (~25 ºC), add it to your fermenter. Top the fermenter
up to 5 gallons (19 L) with fresh cold water. Mix well to aerate the wort
and add the yeast. Allow the beer to ferment at 65–70 ºF (~19 ºC) until
complete (typically 7–10 days) and then either rack to a secondary, keg
or bottle the beer. Wait 10–14 days and enjoy your beer!

hat's it for this month.  Hope to see you next time!

Good Brewing and Cheers!

Arny Lands
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