I've been talking with a Twitter friend about Single Malt Single Hop beers. I've done a few before and he seems excited too about the concept. Anti-Hero V, as he is called (Hey, check out Vinny's Smashing story here .) is a brewer, blogger, Twitterer and all around great guy. You may recall our mutual reviews of the W00tstout a few months back.
Anyway, my recipe is similar to his recipe with 100% Munich Malt and a single Nobel type hop. Upon review of the BJCP Style Categories, I've come up with Altbier (either Northern or Dusseldorf) for the underlying style. He is calling his a Marzen/Oktoberfest. The differences can be somewhat subtle in some ways, and I don't want to get into it too much here. Historically a Marzen is a lager and an Altbier is an ale. Alt, not as alternate, rather as old...as in the old style of brewing. Ales were brewed first, before the lagers became so popular in the German region. The flavor profiles both feature malty sweetness. The lager will tend to be crisper, smooth, and clearer overeall. The Alt will have more bitterness, with little hop flavor or aroma. A Marzen likewise should have little to no hop aroma. All fairly similar. By using all Munich Malt solely, it will take it away from the true style, probably more for my Alt than for his Marzen, by the way.
Nobel hops are appropriate for both styles. He selected Hallertau (which I've use before too) and I wanted to do something different with Spaltz (traditional especially with a Dusseldoft Altbier). The German Ale yeast was desired, only the Homebrew shop were all out of that variety. Ugh. The next closest yeast is the Kolsch yeast, which is what I now have for it.
I'm not sure if I've had a Kolsch, and really only had a few beers you cal call Altbier. Either will have a smooth malty German style quality, which seems fitting for the holidays.
Single malt and single hop. Munich Malt and Spaltz hops (one addition only). And then the Kolsch yeast. An Altbier Kolsch Smash. Sounds good, right?