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I really enjoy German Alts as a favorite purchase brew, and as I live in Florida with the lowest ambient temp 72 deg F under Air cond., I can't possibly lager without inconvenence. I have a question for you serious brewers about style and your experience with hops for this brew.

I have on order some Alsacian hops striesspalt, sp? that I think would fit the bill nicely with a Kolsch yeast and 1 lb or so caramunich plus belgian aromatic malt. I would typically blend German hops for this ale but have found them lacking in consistency of quality in the past, plus the spicy versus green funky for lack of a better description of aroma , varies so much per year and vendor. Is there a better measure of hop suitibility for the style and do you have some succes stories related per your experience that could help.

Thanks, Mike

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Spalt is a great choice for either an Alt or a Kolsch. If you want more depth of hop flavors then blending german origin hops would be the way to go, but experiments are necessary to find what you are looking for. I don't think anyone can really help with that, its your pallate.

As far as maybe some of the green funky flavors you are getting. If you focus more on some slightly higher alpha hops, you'll be able to use less of them. The green flavors can be related to the vegetal nature of hops. I know last year there were some Saaz hops floating around that were at <2% alpha. You would need to use so much of them that you'd start tasting the hop cone (green) and not enough of the hop oils. So keep alpha acid levels in mind when getting these hops too.

Lastly, if you fear quality issues are why some of the hops you've been using are no good, then I'd find another vendor. I know everybody wants to support their local shop. But if your local can't provide top notch ingredients, move on. Or at least discuss it with them.

My local shop has some nice folks in it and their fairly well stocked, but the charge about 30% more than everywhere else. So I tend to shop else where.

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Thanks Brewchez. I've not used the spalt hop, and I really want to nail down the style. I'm using a very broad range of pale spectrum specialty malts and need a good match. Mike –  Mike in FL May 7 '10 at 12:19

IMO, kolsch yeast will not make a good and and vice versa. Strisslespalt is a great hop, but not for alt. I prefer Spalt, but Hallertauer and Mt. Hood also make great altbier.

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I suggest you try it first. Or I could show you the ribbons I've won for alts hopped with Mt. Hood. –  Denny Conn Jun 10 '11 at 15:06

Based on my experience with Wyeast: either kolsch on German Ale or altbier on Kolsch yeast comes out fine, and both on European Ale, providing the fermentation temperature is kept below 68F.

As for hops: most of popular German hops will do. I used Hallertau, Hersbrucker, Spalter and German Northern Brewer and while different, both was at least satisfactory because these beers are not oriented towards hop aroma.

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An alt bier made with WY2565 kolsch yeast will not taste like an alt bier. –  Denny Conn Jun 9 '11 at 16:18

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