German-Style Altbier – German Origin Ale Styles

German-Style Altbier Style

  • Color: Copper to dark brown
  • Clarity: Clear to slightly hazy. Chill haze should not be present
  • Perceived Malt Aroma & Flavor: A variety of malts contributes to medium-low to medium malt aroma and flavor. Toast aroma typical of Munich malts should be present. Slight nuttiness is acceptable. Roast malt character should be present at low levels and well-integrated with the overall malt profile. Smoke character should not be present.
  • Perceived Hop Aroma & Flavor: Low to medium with hop flavor more perceptible than aroma, with attributes typical of traditional German noble hops.
  • Perceived Bitterness: Medium to high, producing a clean dry finish. Forty-plus IBU is typical for Altbiers originating in Dusseldorf.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Fruity esters are absent to low, with attributes expressed subtly as citrus, pear, dark cherry or plum. A slight sulphur aroma is acceptable. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Body: Medium-low to medium.
  • Additional notes: The Altbier style is originally from the Dusseldorf area. The overall impression is clean, crisp and flavorful with a dry finish.

German-Style Altbier Vital Statistics

  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.044-1.052 (11-12.9 °Plato)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.008-1.014 (2.1-3.6 °Plato)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.6%-4.4% (4.6%-5.6%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) 25-52
  • Color SRM (EBC) 11-19(22-38 EBC)

2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines used with permission of Brewers Association.

Credit: 2020 Brewers Association Beer Style Guidelines – Ale Styles – German Origin Ale Styles – German-Style Altbier