After a week of bottle conditioning, I decided to throw a bottle of my Alt Things Reconsidered in the fridge for a taste. I have to say, it’s pretty tasty, though it’s a little estery. It’s also a bit cloudier than I would have liked. Now all this could be because of 2 things.
The first is that I should have waited another week. I was told it should be carbonated after a week. Being my first batch, I had to try it early. It’s definitely carbonated, though it could probably use a bit more (another week may help).
The second thing is that I didn’t want to “waste” one of the cleaner bottles if it ended up not being ready. I opened one of the last 3 bottles we filled. It had a huge layer of sediment on the bottom that wasn’t nicely packed and mixed in. That could definitely explain the cloudiness. I’m not sure if it could also explain some of the estery flavors.
Now that I’m about halfway through the glass and the beer has warmed up a bit more, it’s actually tasting a bit more like an Altbier. I’m really enjoying this. It’s not top notch, but it’s certainly drinkable. I’m just glad it’s not infected.
So, my question to the brewers out there… Most Altbiers are generally fermented at cooler temperatures (closer to a lager, but not quite as cool). The White Labs website suggests that the temps for their Altbier Yeast (WLP036) should still be about the same as most ale yeasts (about 68°F). Should I have fermented it at a lower temperature (say closer to 60°F)? Should I have kept the primary fermentation at 68°F and done the secondary lower? Will it benefit from a cooler conditioning for an extended period of time (my beer cellar is currently between 55° and 60°F)? I’m just looking to make a really tasty Altbier. It’s one of my absolute favorite styles. This is a beer I will be brewing again and will want to perfect.
Regardless of whether or not it’s really close to a true Alt or not, it’s tasty. I’m very happy and proud of my accomplishment. I don’t plan on opening anymore until next weekend. I’m bringing a 4 pack to my mother to share with my family and a 4 pack to bring to my step-father-in-law (who is probably more excited about it than me).