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August 2005

  • BJCP Category 6C Kölsch, 7A Northern German Altbier

or 7C Düsseldorf Altbier.

  • Kegs only.

  • Teams: min 2 brewers, max 4 brewers. Each individual

brewer may be on one team only.

  • Each team may have one entry.

  • If a team is made up of members from both states,

the team must choose which state to represent.

  • As usual, ribbons will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd


  • Points will be calculated for the first five places overall

on a descending scale: 5 pts for 1st, 4 pts for 2nd, 3 pts for 3rd, 2 pts for 4th, 1 pt for 5th. The state with the highest total number of points is the winner. The highest placing team for that state will be awarded the trophy on behalf of the state represented and keep the trophy until the competition the following year.

???????? RYDler

Q. What is the connection between beer, matchbooks, and eBay?


German Altbier - the Beer Steeped in Tradition

By Mark Hogenmiller, Co-Minister of Culture

When bottom-fermenting, or lager, styles developed in Vienna, Budweis, Pilsen and Munich in the 1800’s, they were not embraced by every city in the German- speaking world. Some cities farther west and north, especially Düsseldorf, stuck to the old (Alt, in German) method of top-fermentation. Although one brewpub in Münster produces a golden Altbier, the style is usually taken to be bronze or copper-brown. A typical German Alt has quite big malt and hop flavors, tightly combined, in a smooth, easy-drinking beer. (Original gravity is around 12 ˚ Plato). Top-fermentation brings some fruity, estery flavors, but these are restrained by a period of cold maturation.

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Many taverns in Düsseldorf feature Altbier as the everyday beer. Several brew their own. These taverns and brewpubs frequently pour Altbier direct from the barrel. With a good but not huge head, the beer is traditionally served in short, cylindrical glasses. Several breweries in North America and Japan have in recent years introduced their own styles of Altbier. Altbier is Germany's closest style to the ales of Belgium, Britain and North America. It is, however, rounder and cleaner than many of those products. Belgium's ales tend toward a spicier yeast character, Britain’s to more complexity and fruitiness, and North America's to more assertive, flowery hop aromas.

Typical recipe formulation would include two or more malts, the predominant being a Pilsner type, with one or two variations of Munich malt, and a small addition of black malt. Some homebrewer’s recipes will also add small additions of caramel (crystal), wheat malt, and other specialty malts. Some breweries favor a single infusion mash, but the decoction mash would also bring out the malt flavor of the grains. Hops used are traditional noble hops of Spalt, Hallertau, Tettanger and Perle, with a hoppy bitterness of high 20's to an occasional 50 IBU. Fermentation is characterized by the use of top fermenting ale yeasts with a period of cold conditioning or lagering after the primary fermentation. Cold maturation leads to a smooth palate and an overall balanced beer of malt and hops.

Commercial examples include: Diebels, Zum Uerige, Zum Schluessel, & Im Fuchschen (Germany), Widmer UR-Alt (Oregon), St Stan’s (California), Schmaltz Alt (Minnesota), and Alaskan Amber (Alaska). Pinkus Mueller is the blond alt beer that uses Wheat. Grolsch Amber is considered a Northern German or Münster style Altbier. These variations are generally less highly hopped than the Düsseldorf recipes. Zum Uerige is excessively hopped and is on the high range of IBUs for even the Düsseldorf styles. Diebels is the largest selling Altbier in Germany with about 60% of the market. It has a nice copper color and is balanced with malt and hoppiness. Some of the more popular Altbiers in Germany are only available at the local brewpubs and unfortunately unavailable to us. Sounds like a good reason to brew your own at home.

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