Thursday, April 26, 2012

“Red Baron" German Alt [Bottled]

Bottle date: April 14, 2012 (3 weeks since brew date)

Having done considerable more research on priming sugar (my God that sounds lame) I approached bottling with a new attitude (lame-r). Although I checked out multiple sources, two of the most helpful were John Palmer's How to Brew ( and information posted on Northern Brewer's website.

Using the bottle priming calculator from (, I attempted to carbonate within style guidelines:

Northern German Altbier (2.16-3.09)

Perhaps since my triple landed so flat – more on that later – I aimed on the high side:

Volume of CO2 = 2.80
DME 70% Apparent Attenuation (AA)

That calculation called for 9.2 oz Light DME.

However, since I had always measured DME by volume rather than weight, I can honestly say I got a little nervous with the amount. It looks to be a lot more than 1¼ c. I ended up only adding 8.175 oz. That still within style, but now that I've tried the final product (10 days after bottling) there was nothing to be worried about. As it continues to condition in the bottle it will have a nice amount of carbonation, but adding that extra 1 oz of DME wouldn't have hurt the final product.

Bottling went fairly quickly. I'm still having issues with slow siphoning. Racking the beer from the secondary fermentor into my new bottling bucket took FOREVER. However, once that was complete, filling the bottles was a breeze. I love having a bottling bucket. Best $12 I've spent in awhile.

A few observations on the altbier:

Color: Deep brown, clear
Smell: Toasty
Taste: Rich, earthy, semi-bitter chocolate, a faint nuttiness.

Even before bottling, the beer in the secondary fermentor had a decent residual CO2. I'm very excited to share this batch with family and friends. I really do hope my parents go through with the German dinner. This would be the perfect addition.

In keeping with this beer's name, we capped with bright red caps. Would von Richthofen approve? Who cares. Snoopy would. Billy Cobham too.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Update: “[Triple] Button Hand Me Down" aka “Triple Jump"

Tried the first bottle from my triple tonight. Not at all what I was expecting or hoping for. We'll have to see how they turn out over time, but for now, they are largely a complete disappointment. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Taste: Sweet, alcohol, citrus, coriander
Color: Amber-orange with slight golden hue at edge, cloudy, murky
Smell: Sweet, alcohol
Body: Very little carbonation, heavy

Just way too sweet and too heavy. The prominent alcohol flavor and smell is the final strike. BOO!

Update: “Red Baron" German Alt [Secondary Fermentor]

Transfer Date: March 31, 2012

Transferred my now fermented German Alt to a secondary fermentor to condition for a week or two before bottling. Siphoning took forever again. I'm seriously considering a bottling bucket if this keeps up.

Final Gravity = 1.014 (1.010 @ 74 'F)

Color: Deep brown, clear
Smell: Bitter baking chocolate, earthy, soy sauce
Taste: Bitter, moderately malty, soy, bitter chocolate
Body: Medium