Hoppy Oktoberfest Beer Specialty Beer 34-C Brew-Medal-Blog-Repeat

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Mar 10, 2017
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Freshly milled grains as fine as oatmeal. Allows for great conversion and efficiency

I first encountered a Harvest Ale after trying 51st Ward Brewing Company’s “East Clintwood.” For years I searched for recipes, looked on the BJCP website and app, tried to figure out when style was created. I loved this beer and thought that I needed to make it as soon as possible. Time went by and I never found the time to brew it, but I never forgot the idea of one day brewing my own Harvest Ale. One day during the summer while driving home from the gym, I was listening to the radio. There was a segment on either 97.1 The River or 97.9 The Loop and they were talking about the infamous WKRP in Cincinnati episode when Les Nessman is on air talking about turkeys being dropped from an airplane. Since that day, “As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” became the name for this beer. Since I wanted this beer to have a nice balance between malty and hoppy, I decided to use my basic Oktoberfest Ale recipe. For the past three years, I crafted an Oktoberfest Ale with a Kölsch WLP029 yeast strain (due to the lack of temp. control at the time). The way this beer differed from my traditional Fall time staple is the hop additions and yeast. I hopped the hell out of this beer; 12 ounces to be exact. I wanted this beer to have a nice malt backbone and nice hope aroma and flavor. I took a break from my usual German yeasts and relied on an old favorite, California Ale WLP001. I wanted to use this particular yeast because I wanted to the hops to really shine here. My wife, ironically enough, asked me how I could make a beer with a good balance of malt and hops. I feel like I was able to answer her question with this beer. Overall, I really think I achieved my goal with this beer. This will be a reoccurring beer for my Fall/Thanksgiving line-up.

Since Amarillo hops are showcased with this beer so much, here’s some info on these wonderful hops. Amarillo hops have grown in popularity of the last few years. They have been appearing in many beers from quite reputable breweries such as: Founders Brewing Company, Dogfish Head Brewing Company, Rogue Brewing Company, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, and Revolution Brewing Company to only name a few. Virgil Gamache found Amarillo hop bines growing along side Liberty hops on his farm, Virgil Gamache Farms in Washington. Unfortunately, eager homebrewers looking to grow their own Amarillo hops will find this to be an impossibility. Gamache owns the rights to these hops with a rather pleasant aroma and high alpha content. You can read more about Amarillo hops here.

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Source: Amarillo: The Hop Chronicles on Brulosophy.com

Harvest Ale Recipe

Malt Weight Percentage

Vienna 5lbs 45%

Pilsner 5lbs 45%

Munich 0.5lb. 5%

CaraMunich II 0.5 lb. 5%


Hops Oz Type Time Alpha Acids IBU

Amarillo 1oz Pellet 60 min 9.0 26.3

Amarillo 1oz Pellet 20 min 9.0 15.9

Amarillo 1oz Pellet 10 min 9.0 9.5

Amarillo 1oz Pellet 2 min 9.0 6.7

Amarillo 1oz Pellet 1 min 9.0 3.4

Amarillo 4oz Pellet Flame Out 9.0

Amarillo 3oz Pellet Dry Hop7 Days 9.0

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Yeast Attenuation

White Labs California Ale WLP001 75%

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Check out the reviews for brew in a bag here.

Batch Size: 5 gallons

Boil Size: 8 gallons

OG: 1.071

FG: 1.021

Color: 10.9

Efficiency: 75%

Bitterness: 67

ABV: 6.4%


Wrapping the brew kettle helps to maintain mash temps. No need to light the burner and scorch my brew bag.


Brew day would not be complete without the visit from my BrewDog, Pinot.

Here’s what the BJCP Style Guidelines say about Specialty Beers:


Full Disclosure, I actually brewed this beer once under the name "Sempre Fi." I renamed the beer because the beer was brewed for a good friend of mine, who is a retired Marine. I entered this beer in the Drunk Monk Homebrew Competition in 2017 and took 3rd Place in Specialty Beer Category 34-C.