Big Brew Day Alt

20 gallons of Alt

May 14, 2016- We brewed for the first time at an offsite location taking our show on the road to St. Louis Wine & Beer Making for Big Brew Day at the store. We were two of several brewers, as Andy also brewed 10g og English IPA. It was a cold, breezy May morning, but the sun came out in the afternoon and made for another good brew day. We hit all our numbers quite well except total volume, which was a little short at 19g in the Fermenter.

Brewing away from home added a few challenges. It was much like camping; we needed to make sure we had everything we needed before hand.


  • Mash tun w/ silicon hoses and false bottom
  • Truck- to set the mash tun on
  • Joist from Rig- to set sparge on
  • Large sparge kettle w/ valve
  • Boil kettle with hop screen
  • Large burner w/ propane for boil
  • Small burner w/ propane for decoction
  • Extra burner for sparge
  • Extra kettle for hot liquor
  • Mash paddle
  • Tripod for gooseneck
  • Jugs for recirculation
  • Large coiling coil
  • Garden hoses
  • Barrel fermenter w/ lid
    • and 30g of liquor
  • Pump
    • extension cord
  • Thermonator- need silicon hoses for wort transfer
  • Bucket & spray bottle of Star San
  • Leveling blocks & wedges
  • Brew board w/ tripod
  • Canopy

Grain Bill- 37 pounds total

  • 28# Pilsner malt- DE
  • 4# Vienna malt- DE
  • 4# Munich malt- DE
  • 1# Carafa- DE

Hop Bill- 12 oz Hallertau 4.5% 60′

Yeast- WLP036, White Labs Dusseldorf Alt

Brew Schedule-

  • Strike 12 g @ 158F
  • Mash in @ 148F 30′
  • Decoct and boil 4 g 15′
  • Recombine @ 156F 30′
  • Decoct and boil 4 g 15′
  • Recombine @ 170F 10′
    • add up to 8 g 180F for bump
  • Sparge 11g

Calculated Stats-

  • Original Gravity = 1.052
  • Final Gravity – 1.016
  • IBU = 37
  • SRM = 14
  • ABV = 5%

Brewers- Tom V, Kyle L, Dickie S, Charles U, Rob S, Kevin P, Andy D, Alan B, and two new recruits joined us, Tom H and his daughter Tommy H.

Brew day- The store and brewing opened at 10 AM, but with a double decoction and a new, away location, we arrived on site around 8:30 AM to begin set up and heat water.

  • 9:54- Mash in at 142 F
    • Strike water was 158 F but I added a gallon of cool liquor when it appeared we were coming in too hot. The result was we came in too low.
  • 10:24- First decoction
    • I bumped the decoction amount from 4 to 5 gallons to give extra heat to the low Rest Mash, which held at 142F during the decoction
    • Reached a boil at 10:40, boiled 15 minutes
  • 11:00- Recombined at 156 F, which was right on target, and held for 30′
  • 11:30- Decoction 2
    • Rest Mash had lowered to about 150F, so we added some bump water during the decoction to bring it back up to 156F
  • Noon- Recombine
    • The Mash was about 165F so we added the remainder of the bump to bring it to 170F and held for 10′
  • 12:15- Vorlauf- 15′ and the wort cleared nicely, though we still saw some grains slipping through
  • 12:30- Lauter went well as did sparge
    • We brought 30g of liquor with us and somehow lost 11 of it during the brew day. More liquor!
  • 2:45- Boil 23g
  • 2:30- Irish moss and cooling coil
  • 3:45- Flame out

Overall a good brewing day. We did a cold break with the a second pre-chiller on ice. We transferred the wort to a fermenter in the back of the truck using Rob’s pump. Charles and I drove it to my place where we backed up the truck to the basement window and transferred into a fermenter waiting in the basement. Charles oxygenated and we pitched yeast.


Fermentation started quickly; we had a bubble in the airlock before going to bed, and the following morning it had settled into a steady long exhale. Temps in the basement are perfect for this Alt yeast in the 60’s.

1 week later- Racked to secondary. Gravity = 1.014. Managed to only rack over about 16 gallons. Sample is a little sweet and a little sour. It’s an odd combo that I’m not used to. I guess the sweetness is coming from the Munich and Vienna malt with a bitterness from all the hops.It’s kinda like a dark IPA though there’s no hop aroma. It’s also very cloudy still looking brown rather than the copper I would have liked to have seen. We’ll see what another couple of weeks of secondary does and then a long lager.

June 14, 2016- Kegged three full kegs of Alt. Gravity is firm at 1.014. All three kegs went into the fridge. Sample was fair at best. It seemed skunky to me, maybe sulfur flavors. I’m hoping the long lager fixes these off flavors.

The Final Analysis- October 2016

We tapped one of these kegs at Oktoberfest but it was never quite right. It was way too foamy in the glass. I felt like it was too warm and we needed to get it colder, which would drop the pressure and help fix the  foam. It wasn’t a smash at the Fest and so we have two kegs left. After letting those two kegs settle in the fridge for a couple of weeks, I decided to see if it helped. This Alt is as good as any of the beers we do. It’s way better cold, which holds the bubble in a little and gives a good mouthfeel. I can taste both the hops and the malts and they balance each other quite well. It is also a pretty beer with a deep copper hue. I’m gonna enjoy drinking this as my fall beer.


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