Paige Latham Didora
adventures in altbier
The amber beer adventures continue with Altbier and the subcategory Dusseldorf Altibier.
Altbiers embody a powerful combination of german malts, noble hops, and subtle fruity notes. The beer is of medium body with some degree of a long and dry finish. Possible flavors include mild sulfur or nutty flavors as well as fruity esters and noble hop notes.
I enjoyed the Uber Alt, a beer that is part of Rush River’s small batch series.
Despite the uncharacteristically high alcohol content (8.5%), other aspects of a Dusseldorf Altbier are well-displayed here. The German malts are underscored by some unexpected spiciness. The finish isn’t as dry as I expected, but the Uber Alt is a good example of a strong Dusseldorf.
The next beer is a spin on the Dusseldorf Alt – the Sticke.
Sticke Alts are not an official category of the Beer Juding Certification Program, but they can be classified as a stronger version of Dusseldorf Altbier:
“A darker, stronger and hoppier version of the Düsseldorf Alt. ‘Sticke’ is sometimes said to mean secret in the local dialect, though Uerige states that the term comes from “stickum”, the local dialect term for “whispering”, based on the story that that when tasting the strong beer, the customers would whisper to each other that the brewmaster must have been a little too generous when weighing out the ingredients. Sticke Alts are often dry-hopped in the conditioning tank for four to six weeks.” – Greg Roe on the Missing BJCP Styles
Mankato Brewery’s Stickum is an intriguing beer full of rich malts with a dry finish. The malts offer caramel and toffee notes while the hops are unusual – grassy, spicy, earthy.
Both of these beers have something serious to offer. If you haven’t tried these varieties of altbier, I highly encourage them. They forced me to challenge my tastebuds and to pay attention to malt and hops simultaneously. Of course, if you are ever in Germany, try these brews in Altstadt, or Old Town.