Beer Types – Stick Alt

Pronounced “Shtick-uh ullt”; is a darker and stronger, seasonal, variation of the traditional Düsseldorf Altbier. Invented by the Uerige brewpub of Düsseldorf, it is brewed only twice a year and is ready for tapping on the third Tuesday in January and the third Tuesday in October, respectively.Another Düsseldorf brewpub, Schumacher, serves a similar brew, also twice a year, which it calls Latzenbier. At Schumacher, the Latzenbier dates are usually around the middle to end of September 19 as well as towards the end of November.

“Sticke” is local vernacular for “secret,” which means the brewery does not reveal the recipe. This much however can be acertained by tasting this rare beer style: The brew is full-bodied and well-hopped, with a surprising balance between bitterness and nutty-malty sweetness, overlaid by strong notes of chocolate and roasted, but not acrid, malt. A Sticke Alt is usually dark-copper in color, has the flavor complexity of an ale, the noble hop bouquet and creamy head of a Pils, and the clean, mellow-smooth finish of an Oktoberfest. Its typical alcohol level by volume is about 5.5%—sometimes higher—compared to the 4.7 to 4.8% of a regular Altbier. The Uerige brewpub also makes an even stronger Sticke, called a Doppelsticke, at about 8.5% alcohol by volume. Uerige Sticke Alt is imported into the United States in 0.3-liter, wire-baled pop-top bottles and is seasonally available in many specialty beer outlets. Serve Sticke Alt at around 45 to 50°F (7 to 10°C).

Outside of Germany, Canadian & American breweries do offer their versions of Stick Alt; the above picture is of Festivale Plus Sticke Altbier from Beau’s Brewery in Ottawa, Canada.

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