Festbier Recipe Critique

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rtstrider

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Hey all! I can't remember if this is a recipe I came up with earlier this year or if it was pulled from another site. Either way I'll be putting in the grain order for this and the Marzen on Friday. I have almost all the accessible White Labs homebrew lager strains (outside of wlp820 and wlp833) and Omega Bayern (Augustiner). I have not used wlp838 yet and thought that may be a touch too malty for this batch. I've never knowingly had Festbier and have read the guidelines. I'd prefer to not decoct and do not mind step mashes. I also build water profiles using RO water and Bruin Water. Was thinking of using the Pilsen profile but am open to a profile that may better fit this style. Anywho here's the recipe. Any input, or pointers, would be greatly appreciated!

Title: Festbier 2022

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Festbier
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.057
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV (standard): 5.92%
IBU (tinseth): 24.75
SRM (morey): 4.07
Mash pH: 0

FERMENTABLES:
9.7 lb - BEST Heidelberg (81.5%)
1.1 lb - BEST Munich (9.2%)
1.1 lb - BEST Vienna (9.2%)

HOPS:
1 oz - Spalt, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: First Wort, IBU: 17.89
0.85 oz - Tettnanger, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 6.86

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Strike, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 4.16 gal
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.5 qt/lb

YEAST:
White Labs - German Lager Yeast WLP830
Starter: No
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 76.5%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Temp: 50 - 55 F
Pitch Rate: 0.35 (M cells / ml / deg P)

PRIMING:
CO2 Level: 2.47 Volumes
 

cyberbackpacker

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Looks pretty good...

I might suggest going with 10.8 pounds of pils and then 1.1lbs of Munich (or Vienna). Or if you wanted, go 10.8 lbs pils, and .55lbs each of Vienna and Munich.

For hopping, the 15min addition would not be typical in Germany... I would move all of your hopping to no closer than 40 minutes left in the boil.

That said, if you brew as is, it will be good, just outside of what you would find in the Wiesn.
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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Looks pretty good...

I might suggest going with 10.8 pounds of pils and then 1.1lbs of Munich (or Vienna). Or if you wanted, go 10.8 lbs pils, and .55lbs each of Vienna and Munich.

For hopping, the 15min addition would not be typical in Germany... I would move all of your hopping to no closer than 40 minutes left in the boil.

That said, if you brew as is, it will be good, just outside of what you would find in the Wiesn.

Would you suggest just shooting for 24-25 ibus at fwh? I can do that. Still a noob with lagers and learning :)
 

monkeymath

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First off, I've never brewed a Festbier myself, but I've had my fair share of them, given that I grew up and currently live in Munich.

I sort of like the idea of using "all three" base malts, but I think that'll make it harder to make adjustments to the recipe afterwards.

As @cyberbackpacker pointed out, those beers don't have any hop aroma to speak of, so the aroma addition is a bit out of place - but if you like a bit of hoppiness (and who doesn't?), then you might as well keep it in. Same goes for the IBUs: I find Festbiers way too sweet and unbalanced, and I'd probably prefer them at 35-40 IBUs. If you brew for yourself and not some competition, you might as well just brew to your own taste.

Final words of generic internet wisdom: Soft water and a cold fermentation with lots of healthy yeast are probably much more important than the exact grain bill.
 

dmtaylor

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Looks pretty good...

I might suggest going with 10.8 pounds of pils and then 1.1lbs of Munich (or Vienna). Or if you wanted, go 10.8 lbs pils, and .55lbs each of Vienna and Munich.

For hopping, the 15min addition would not be typical in Germany... I would move all of your hopping to no closer than 40 minutes left in the boil.

That said, if you brew as is, it will be good, just outside of what you would find in the Wiesn.
+1 I agree with all of this. Recipe looks great, and a couple of optional tweaks like these might make it slightly better.
 

JohnDBrewer

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No issues with the recipe. If you want more malt flavor go with wlp820. My second choice would be 838 then 830. You will not be disappointed with any of these though. Pitch a big starter, ferment it cold (50-52) and be patient, at least 2 weeks at this temp. Then store it cold (32) for as many months as you can stand it.
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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Thank you so much for the input! That actually gives me a ton to work with! Will use WLP838 for this batch. WLP820 is on the to do list (aka when it cools off outside due to needing it shipped)
 

z-bob

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I subscribed to this thread about 5 minutes after you posted, just didn't reply because I'm not really qualified to critique the recipe. Now that you've gotten some good advice (Festbier is one of my favorite styles but I've never tried to brew it) here's my opinion. It looks wonderful just like it is, but it has too much late hops for a proper Festbier. I *think* the Germans use low-alpha hops but use enough of them that some of the flavor persists even though they add them all early in the boil. Should be little or no hops aroma. FWH is an interesting idea.

Good luck with it. :)
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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I subscribed to this thread about 5 minutes after you posted, just didn't reply because I'm not really qualified to critique the recipe. Now that you've gotten some good advice (Festbier is one of my favorite styles but I've never tried to brew it) here's my opinion. It looks wonderful just like it is, but it has too much late hops for a proper Festbier. I *think* the Germans use low-alpha hops but use enough of them that some of the flavor persists even though they add them all early in the boil. Should be little or no hops aroma. FWH is an interesting idea.

Good luck with it. :)

Welp FWH only it is! Will use a combo of noble hops (Hallertau MF/Tettnang) and a pinch of Magnum I have on hand to get in the 24-25 ibu area.
 
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I've update the recipe to the following. How does this look? I'd like to stick with Spalt as a bittering hop and WLP838 as I haven't used either of these in a brew yet

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Festbier
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.057
Final Gravity: 1.015
ABV (standard): 5.58%
IBU (tinseth): 24.87
SRM (morey): 4.07
Mash pH: 5.87

FERMENTABLES:
9.7 lb - BEST Heidelberg (81.5%)
1.1 lb - BEST Munich (9.2%)
1.1 lb - BEST Vienna (9.2%)

HOPS:
1.39 oz - Spalt, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: First Wort, IBU: 24.87

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Strike, Temp: 150 F, Time: 60 min, Amount: 4.16 gal
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.5 qt/lb

YEAST:
White Labs - Southern German Lager Yeast WLP838
 

Oleson M.D.

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Here is our recipe that won a Gold.

10 gallons
16 lbs Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner
8 lbs Ireks Munich
2.5 oz Mt. Hood Hops
18 gallons filtered tap water
Diamond Lager Yeast
3 step infusion mash -
120* 40 min
146* 40 min
160* 30 min
170 mash out
OG 1.060
FG 1.033
5.3% ABV

Here is a copied recipe from a commercial brewery that won a Gold at the GABF

16 lbs Ireks Pilsner
4 lbs Ireks Vienna
4 lbs Ireks Munich
2.5 oz Tettnanger Hops
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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That is good stuff! Thank you so much! Do you feel the infusion mash was beneficial? If so I can add the 3 step infusion to my brew day
 

dmtaylor

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Here is our recipe that won a Gold.

10 gallons
16 lbs Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner
8 lbs Ireks Munich
2.5 oz Mt. Hood Hops
18 gallons filtered tap water
Diamond Lager Yeast
3 step infusion mash -
120* 40 min
146* 40 min
160* 30 min
170 mash out
OG 1.060
FG 1.033
5.3% ABV

Here is a copied recipe from a commercial brewery that won a Gold at the GABF

16 lbs Ireks Pilsner
4 lbs Ireks Vienna
4 lbs Ireks Munich
2.5 oz Tettnanger Hops

That seems like a lot of Munich and Vienna for a festbier style which is supposed to be pale gold in color. Perhaps your recipes are for the related amber Marzen style? Do you have the SRM numbers on these recipes? People didn't always differentiate the two as different styles, but by & large, we do today.
 

Oleson M.D.

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That seems like a lot of Munich and Vienna for a festbier style which is supposed to be pale gold in color. Perhaps your recipes are for the related amber Marzen style? Do you have the SRM numbers on these recipes? People didn't always differentiate the two as different styles, but by & large, we do today.

I agree, as you might think it would be too dark. But this was entered in the Festbier category. The beer was actually within the SRM guidelines. And it tasted very good! We actually entered two Festbiers, with both the above recipes. I fully expected the 2nd recipe to do well, and the 1st recipe to not do well, partly because of the 5.3% ABV, vs 6.7% for the other one.

My Ireks Munich is 7 Lovibond.

But the 1st recipe posted was the winner. It was not dark at all.

That second recipe was from a brewery that won a Gold at the GABF. Looking for the name of the brewery in my notes now...
 
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Oleson M.D.

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Found it!
 

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rtstrider

rtstrider

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Here is our recipe that won a Gold.

10 gallons
16 lbs Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pilsner
8 lbs Ireks Munich
2.5 oz Mt. Hood Hops
18 gallons filtered tap water
Diamond Lager Yeast
3 step infusion mash -
120* 40 min
146* 40 min
160* 30 min
170 mash out
OG 1.060
FG 1.033
5.3% ABV

Here is a copied recipe from a commercial brewery that won a Gold at the GABF

16 lbs Ireks Pilsner
4 lbs Ireks Vienna
4 lbs Ireks Munich
2.5 oz Tettnanger Hops
I actually like the idea of the step mash as that should help the wlp838 dry this out a bit more than brewers friend says it should. I've updated the recipe to the following

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Festbier
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.057
Final Gravity: 1.015
ABV (standard): 5.54%
IBU (tinseth): 24.87
SRM (morey): 4.07
Mash pH: 5.87

FERMENTABLES:
9.7 lb - BEST Heidelberg (81.5%)
1.1 lb - BEST Munich (9.2%)
1.1 lb - BEST Vienna (9.2%)

HOPS:
1.39 oz - Spalt, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: First Wort, IBU: 24.87

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Strike, Temp: 120 F, Time: 40 min, Amount: 11.07 qt
2) Infusion, Temp: 146 F, Time: 40 min, Amount: 5.3 qt
3) Infusion, Temp: 160 F, Time: 30 min, Amount: 5 qt
4) Fly Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Amount: 3.78 gal
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.5 qt/lb

YEAST:
White Labs - Southern German Lager Yeast WLP838
 

Oleson M.D.

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I actually like the idea of the step mash as that should help the wlp838 dry this out a bit more than brewers friend says it should. I've updated the recipe to the following

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Festbier
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.045
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)

Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.057
Final Gravity: 1.015
ABV (standard): 5.54%
IBU (tinseth): 24.87
SRM (morey): 4.07
Mash pH: 5.87

FERMENTABLES:
9.7 lb - BEST Heidelberg (81.5%)
1.1 lb - BEST Munich (9.2%)
1.1 lb - BEST Vienna (9.2%)

HOPS:
1.39 oz - Spalt, Type: Pellet, AA: 4.5, Use: First Wort, IBU: 24.87

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Strike, Temp: 120 F, Time: 40 min, Amount: 11.07 qt
2) Infusion, Temp: 146 F, Time: 40 min, Amount: 5.3 qt
3) Infusion, Temp: 160 F, Time: 30 min, Amount: 5 qt
4) Fly Sparge, Temp: 170 F, Amount: 3.78 gal
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.5 qt/lb

YEAST:
White Labs - Southern German Lager Yeast WLP838

Looks good! We normally do 90 minute boils, and single hop additions.

Direct from the source who sent me a couple recipes - Weyermann.
This should help answer your questions:

Mash (Infusion):
Mash in at 62°C (145°F), hold this temperature, 63°C (145°F) and rest for 30 min, hold another break at 68°C (154°F) for 10 minutes, rise up the temperature to 72°C (162°F) and rest for 15 min. Mash out by 78°C (172°F)
 

monkeymath

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That seems like a lot of Munich and Vienna for a festbier style which is supposed to be pale gold in color. Perhaps your recipes are for the related amber Marzen style? Do you have the SRM numbers on these recipes? People didn't always differentiate the two as different styles, but by & large, we do today.

I agree. And it's not just about colour, but flavour, too: this is probably subjective and I don't have the most refined palate, but Festbiers never came across as very Munich-y to me.

Maybe some US versions are more refined, I don't know, I've never had one, but my impression was that a Festbier was mostly a beefed up - or, one might say: exaggerated - Helles.

Still, they're usually darker than a Maibock in spite of their lower ABV, so they'd probably add a bit of Vienna or Munich (or just colorant, who knows), but in general the main objective is that people still manage to binge four to six Maß before the tents close at eleven, so the aim is to keep it light.

Edit: just to reiterate a point from my previous post, I'm not saying 33% Munich wasn't going to make an awesome beer, just that I'd expect it to differ from what you'd be served here in Munich at the Wiesn.
If the covid situation allows it, I'll be able to perform some more in-depth research this fall ;)
 
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Oleson M.D.

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All we can say is the Festbier won a Gold, and it tasted very, very good. In spite of the high degree of Munich malt.

It was not close to a Marzen at all. Like you say, more like a Pils or a Helles on steroids.
 

z-bob

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I have used 15% or 20% dark munich (I don't remember, let's say 15%. And it was the really dark 20L American kind) and the rest Belgian pilsner malt, and the beer was light colored and not overly-malty. It was darker than all pilsner, but not by much. Certainly nothing like a Marzen or a bock -- but part of that might be because it was 5% ABV, not 6+.
 

jcfontario

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This thread is very timely, since I plan on starting a Festbier this weekend. For my malts, I was going to use Pilsner with about 10 % Munich and 3 % Aromatic. I am debating as whether to use a bit of maltodextrin or wheat for head retention. After reading the comments above, I am thinking about using 20 IBU's of Hallertau Mittelfruh at 60 minutes for hops, with no aroma hops. Yeast will be 34/70 (just because I have some saved in the fridge). Any thoughts or comments?
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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Just crushed the grains for this over my lunch break. Have everything weighed out now. Really excited for this brew for 2 reasons. I've never knowingly had this style or wlp838. Really curious to see what, if anything, that strain brings to the table.
 

dmtaylor

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Just crushed the grains for this over my lunch break. Have everything weighed out now. Really excited for this brew for 2 reasons. I've never knowingly had this style or wlp838. Really curious to see what, if anything, that strain brings to the table.

I've wanted to try WLP838, haven't had the chance quite yet. Should be good, at least I sure hope so. :)
 

Oleson M.D.

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I've wanted to try WLP838, haven't had the chance quite yet. Should be good, at least I sure hope so. :)

Not sure why, but White Labs has been my "avoid" yeast. Wyeast, and a couple dry yeast brands are all we use. And we use Wyeast rarely.

Brewed with WL a number of years (decades?) ago. Never went back.
 
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rtstrider

rtstrider

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Not sure why, but White Labs has been my "avoid" yeast. Wyeast, and a couple dry yeast brands are all we use. And we use Wyeast rarely.

Brewed with WL a number of years (decades?) ago. Never went back.
I've heard there may have been some qc issues with White Labs awhile back. Now this had to have been before I started home brewing (5 years ago). The main reason I use them is because they're on the cheaper end and the yeast is getting banked in the freezer as soon as it's received anyways. Might as well save a few bucks there lol I'll venture out to another vendor for strains White Labs does not offer if needed but tend to keep it cheap since I'm not looking for an immediate pitchable volume. Definitely not against dry strains either! Have an IPA fermented with Verdant IPA in the kegerator at the moment. Bry-97, K-97, and the various dry lager strains are definitely on the to do list! Now to go back to the topic of the thread...The Festbier was rasied from 50F to 60F yesterday evening for a D-Rest. Going to let it sit there for a week then either keg it or move the fermenter out to room temp until a keg frees up.
 

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Just crushed the grains for this over my lunch break. Have everything weighed out now. Really excited for this brew for 2 reasons. I've never knowingly had this style or wlp838. Really curious to see what, if anything, that strain brings to the table.

I don't know if they all do or not, but my local Costco gets cases of German festbier every September, usually Hofbräuhaus and Paulaner and maybe another one. Hofbräu is my favorite, and it's the one farthest removed from Märzen style.
 

Oleson M.D.

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Total Wine & More gets cases of Weihenstephaner Festbier every fall. Good stuff! Light years different from a Marzen.
 

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I had a Spaten Festbier last year at a Hofbrau tent at a theme park. It was on the menu at an Oktoberfest but was light in color and delicious. Oddly we went back this year and it was still listed on the menu as an Oktoberfest beer but it was not the same beer. This year it was a Marzen but still delicious. Not sure what the deal is whit that. Both are worth a try if you could get your hands on them.
 

Oleson M.D.

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My recent introduction to genuine Festbier was in Frankfurt, Germany. Went to a local Paulaner restaurant (in Old Town), and they had Festbier on the menu.

I was expecting an Oktoberfest style beer, the caramel colored sweet beer that is so prevalent in the USA.

Much to my surprise, the beer was golden, not much different from a standard Pilsner, but was a slightly higher gravity. This is the beer served at the Oktoberfest in Munich.
 

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I'm currently at the Biergarten at Kloster Andechs. Decided to give their festbier "Spezial Hell" a try.

Jesus Christ is that beer overcarbonated. All I get is carbonic bite and then a little bit of malt after I swallow. Seriously, that'd be high even for a Weißbier or Saison. In a lager, I find it completely out of place.
Only the few last sips offer some light, bready malt and a touch of herbal hops. Quite disappointing imho.

Maybe it's a good thing they're not represented at the Oktoberfest :p
 

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