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Märzen

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Märzen is a full-flavored German lager derived from Vienna Lager. Märzen was one of the beer styles traditionally served at Oktoberfest in Munich,

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[edit] History of Märzen

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[edit] Types of Märzen

[edit] Märzen

Before becoming associated with Oktoberfest, Märzen referred to a lager brewed in March, at the end of the traditional brewing season, but robust enough to be stored until the following fall. This style is similar to a Vienna Lager, but with the addition of some characteristic Munich malt to the Vienna malt for a distinct melanoidin-rich flavor profile.

[edit] Oktoberfest

Märzen beers were traditionally served at Oktoberfest, and as a result the style became known internationally as the Oktoberfest or Wiesen style. Most American brewers still brew Märzen under this name; American Oktoberfest beers tend to be slightly hoppier but otherwise similar to the German originals. Traditionally, Oktoberfest or Festbier versions of Märzen were brewed with a higher gravity and correspondingly stronger flavor. However, these beers are now difficult to find at Oktoberfest itself.

[edit] Oktoberfest Ale

Rather than brewing traditional lagers, some American brewers have begun using Munich and Vienna malts to brew a top-fermented version of an Oktoberfest beer, often marketed as an Oktoberfest ale. Other than the American ale yeast character, these have a similar character to other American Oktoberfest beers.

[edit] Wiesen

In recent years, while they still brew traditional Märzens, most of the beer actually served at Oktoberfest has been in a new, lighter (in color and flavor) style more similar to a strong Munich Helles than to a Märzen. Sometimes referred to as Wiesen or Festbier (both terms that have also been used to describe the traditional Oktoberfest), this Light Oktoberfest or Pale Oktoberfest now makes up the bulk of beer served in the Oktoberfest tents. American versions are typically marketed as Wiesen.

[edit] Rauchbier Märzen

See the description of this distinctive Bamberg style in the Rauchbier article.

[edit] Brewing Märzen

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[edit] Competition Styles

The BJCP recognizes a single style encompassing all Märzen/Oktoberfest styles, while the GABF makes a few distinctions between them.

[edit] BJCP Style Guidelines

[edit] Oktoberfest/Märzen

3B. Oktoberfest/Märzen Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 20-28 SRM: 7-14 OG: 1.050-1.056 FG: 1.012-1.016 ABV: 4.8-5.7
Aroma: Rich German malt aroma (of Vienna and/or Munich malt). A light to moderate toasted malt aroma is often present. Clean lager aroma with no fruity esters or diacetyl. No hop aroma. Caramel aroma is inappropriate.
Appearance: Dark gold to deep orange-red color. Bright clarity, with solid foam stand.
Flavor: Rich German malt aroma (of Vienna and/or Munich malt). A light to moderate toasted malt aroma is often present. Clean lager aroma with no fruity esters or diacetyl. No hop aroma. Caramel aroma is inappropriate.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, with a creamy texture and medium carbonation. Smooth. Fully fermented, without a cloying finish.
Overall Impression: Rich German malt aroma (of Vienna and/or Munich malt). A light to moderate toasted malt aroma is often present. Clean lager aroma with no fruity esters or diacetyl. No hop aroma. Caramel aroma is inappropriate.
History: Origin is credited to Gabriel Sedlmayr, based on an adaptation of the Vienna style developed by Anton Dreher around 1840, shortly after lager yeast was first isolated. Typically brewed in the spring, signaling the end of the traditional brewing season and stored in cold caves or cellars during the warm summer months. Served in autumn amidst traditional celebrations.
Comments: Domestic German versions tend to be golden, like a strong Helles. Export German versions are typically orange-amber in color, and have a distinctive toasty malt character. German beer tax law limits the OG of the style at 14°P since it is a vollbier, although American versions can be stronger. "Fest" type beers are special occasion beers that are usually stronger than their everyday counterparts.
Ingredients: Grist varies, although German Vienna malt is often the backbone of the grain bill, with some Munich malt, Pils malt, and possibly some crystal malt. All malt should derive from the finest quality two-row barley. Continental hops, especially noble varieties, are most authentic. Somewhat alkaline water (up to 300 PPM), with significant carbonate content is welcome. A decoction mash can help develop the rich malt profile.
Commercial Examples: Paulaner Oktoberfest, Hacker-Pschorr Original Oktoberfest, Ayinger Oktoberfest-Märzen, Hofbräu Oktoberfest, Spaten Oktoberfest, Eggenberger Märzen, Goose Island Oktoberfest, Capital Oktoberfest, Gordon Biersch Märzen, Samuel Adams Oktoberfest (a bit unusual in its late hopping)

[edit] GABF Style Listings

[edit] German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesen (Meadow)

24B. German-Style Oktoberfest/Wiesen (Meadow)
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Oktoberfest beers are characterized by a medium body and golden, light color. Sweet maltiness is mild with an equalizing balance of clean, hop bitterness. Hop aroma and flavor should be low but notable. Fruity esters, diacetyl and chill haze should not be perceived. Similar or equal to Dortmunder/European-Style Export.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.048-1.056 (12-14 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.010-1.014 (2.5-3.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 4-4.8% (5-6%)
Bitterness (IBU): 23-29
Color SRM (EBC): 3-5 (6-10 EBC)


[edit] German Style Märzen

29. German Style Märzen
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Märzens are characterized by a medium body and broad range of color. They can range from golden to reddish orange. Sweet maltiness should dominate slightly over a clean, hop bitterness. Malt character should be light-toasted rather than strongly caramel (though a low level of light caramel character is acceptable). Bread or biscuit-like malt character is acceptable in aroma and flavor. Hop aroma and flavor should be low but notable. Fruity esters should not be perceived. Diacetyl and chill haze should not be perceived.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.050-1.060 (12.5-15 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.020 (3-5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 4-4.7% (5.3-5.9%)
Bitterness (IBU): 18-25
Color SRM (EBC): 4-15 (8-30 EBC)


[edit] American Style Märzen/Oktoberfest

30C. American Style Märzen/Oktoberfest
GABF Style Listing (2007)
The American style of these classic German beers is distinguished by a comparatively greater degree of hop character. In general the style is characterized by a medium body and broad range of color. These can range from golden to reddish brown. Sweet maltiness should dominate over a clean hop bitterness. The bitterness should not be aggressive or harsh. Malt character should be light-toasted rather than strongly caramel (though a low level of light caramel character is acceptable). Bread or biscuit like malt character is acceptable in aroma and flavor. Hop aroma and flavor should be notable but at low to medium levels. Fruity esters should not be perceived. Diacetyl and chill haze should not be perceived.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.050-1.060 (12.5-15 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.012-1.020 (3-5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 4-4.7% (5. 3-5.9%)
Bitterness (IBU): 18-25
Color SRM (EBC): 4-15 (8-30 EBC)

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