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Altbier: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Style Series, 12) Paperback – April 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

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 D Dornbusch
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Product Details

  • Series: Classic Beer Style Series, 12 (Book 12)
  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Brewers Publications (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937381624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937381625
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Horst Dornbusch is a well-known consultant in the international brewing industry as well as a leading author and speaker about beer. He writes in English and German and has contributed hundreds of articles to North American and European periodicals for beer lovers and brewing professionals alike. Horst Dornbusch is the Associate Editor of the The Oxford Companion to Beer (Sept. 2011) and the author of The Ultimate Almanac of World Beer Recipes (2010), Bavarian Helles (2000), Altbier (1999), PROST! The Story of German Beer (1997), and a forthcoming beer recipe book for homebrewers in German (Sept. 2012). He is interviewed frequently on the history, styles, technology, and marketing of beer by broadcast media from Austrian TV to the BBC, New Zealand National Radio, and NPR, and has been the script consultant to two Discovery Channel programs. In the 1990s, he founded an award-winning microbrewery in Massachusetts. Before he made a career change to the world of beer, he worked for two decades as a writer, editor, and publications manager at The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Reader's Digest, and Siemens Medical Electronics. He was born and raised in Germany, was a Fulbright Scholar, and holds a B.A. from Reed College and an M.A. from Brandeis University.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By G. Langowski on June 13, 2000
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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cate Swan on May 17, 2010
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Siegfried on December 12, 2013
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Prior to getting this book, I had never even heard of the style. The book gives an excellent overview of the style's history (which goes into why it's so rare outside of a small region in Germany) and the methods used to create it's unique profile. While reading this, I have had the opportunity to try two Alts available in SoCal, including Alaskan Amber which is one of the American Alts mentioned in the book. I have also tried Hangar 24's Alt which is not listed in the book (I think the book predates its release).

Long story short, this book showed me a beer style that was new to me and one I now thoroughly enjoy. I cannot speak to the recipes as I don't have the ability to lager beers yet but based on the quality in the rest of the text, I would expect them to be pretty tasty. I hope to try my hand at making a few of them soon.
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This the first book from the series for me. There is a glossary, index, references are plentiful, a unit conversion chart, plus more appendixes on hops, color, commercial examples, mash ph and hardness.

Then the text of the past history, brewing methods, equipment and more. Enough to cure any insomnia as bedside reading yet this is a small book, right to the point, and I enjoy reading this book.

Recipes
There are 8 plus a 9th that is a very old style. Careful reading shows all grain and extract recipes as well as a huge batch (1bbl).

ASAP I'll brew from extract a 5 gal batch. Pils malt extract usually marked unhopped is the only extract listed and I assume it is liquid.
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Altbier: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Style Series, 12)
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