Note that this is a beer you can age, especially if you brew it on the high side for bitterness; it will remain style-accurate even as the IBUs fall off and the malt comes forward. The pale chocolate should keep it from becoming overly sweet or toffee-like, even if it’s not as bitter as it once was.
For more on brewing a great version of this style, see Make Your Best Altbier.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
5 lb (2.3 kg) Maris Otter
4 lb (1.8 kg) German pilsner
1 lb (454 g) Munich
4 oz (113 g) Carafa II
4 oz (113 g) Caramunich
4 oz (113 g) pale chocolate malt
0.75 oz (21 g) Hallertauer Magnum at 60 minutes [35 IBUs]
1 oz (28 g) Hallertauer Mittelfrüh at 5 minutes [2 IBUs]
Wyeast 1007 German Ale
Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 75 minutes. Recirculate until the runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. After the boil, chill to about 60°F (16°C), aerate well, and pitch the yeast. Ferment at 60°F (16°C) for about 3 weeks. Crash, package, and carbonate to about 2.25 volumes of CO2.
Patience: This isn’t a lager, but it ferments like one. Give it plenty of time in primary, even if it seems like you’re “done.” There’s no rush in getting this into the fermentor, and when you do, you want to have left behind most of the yeast and proteins—you might even consider a gelatin hit on this before packaging.
Hops: For a fun experiment, try subbing in Brewer’s Gold or Northern Brewer at 5 minutes for some interesting woody-spicy flavors that complement the profile.