Oktoberfest Ale Recipe - Assistance Needed

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JayInJersey

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Preface: Yes I know Oktoberfest beer is suppose to be a lager. But I don't have the lagering storage area to pull this off. So I want to make an Ale version that is comparable with the lager version...enough for me and my beer drinking buddies to be happy. The past years I've ordered Oktoberfest kits, but they all seemed like they were lacking something...something I'm hoping to correct by futzing around some

And that where I need some guidance.


So here is the recipie I came up with by looking at the kits I've bought in the past and adjusting some things using BeerSmith, BrewPal and Brewmaster's Brew Builder

Code:
Target Style 		Oktoberfest
Volume 		        5.5 Gallons
Efficiency 		        70%

Recipe Statistics (Cat/StyleRange/Est)
OG		1.050 - 1.057		1.057
FG		1.012 - 1.016		1.014
IBU		20 - 28			24.8
SRM		7 - 14			8.46
ABV		4.80 - 5.70		5.63

Ingredient Name		        Amount		%
Weyermann Vienna		6 lbs, 8 oz	54.2%
Weyermann Pilsner		4 lbs		33.3%
Weyermann Cara Munich I	        8 oz		4.2%
Gambrinus Dark Munich	        1 lbs		8.3%

Tettnang, German Pellets	2.0 oz @ 60 mins
Hallertau Pellets, German	0.5 oz @ 30 mins
Hallertau Pellets, German	0.5 oz @ 15 mins

White Labs German Ale		1 ea




So my questions are:

1) Is that too much Vienna:pilsner? The guides I've read say the Vienna is the main, but I'm not sure if I have too much.

2) The hops...some software says the IBU will be ok, others say it will be too high. I don't want it too bitter, but I'd like some hop character too...but not too far off style. SO too much?

3) The yeast. Now the kits always came with a dry yeast, like Saflager S-23 or worse (think one came with a pack of Muntons) but I'd like to use a liquid as I really like building a starter (just makes me happy to "brew" during the week). I've looked on some others recipes and found the WLP029...and the writeup on it sounds great. But I've never used it so suggestions are welcome.


Thanks for the assist on this to all that stop by :mug:
-Jay
 

Hophazard

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I don't think that the Vienna:pilsner will be too much - I like a healthy dose of Vienna in my Ofests, although I believe the recipe I like uses 40% Vienna, 30% Munich, 20% Pilsner, 5% Biscuit and 5% Carapils.

The last batch I brewed clocked in at around 29 IBUs, but it definitely still let the malt shine through (although I did FWH the bittering hops and only added one addition at 30 mins).

As far as the yeast, I also don't have lagering capabilities, but used WLP810 (SF Lager Yeast) and dropped the fermenter in a large plastic bucket filled with water. After rotating frozen liter water bottles twice a day (which kept the temp around 62*), the final product was lager-like smooth. As close as I think you can get without actually lagering.

Good luck :mug:
 

uwjester

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Care to comment a little more on what was missing in previous batches?

I like a little more munich malt in an Okto, but I maybe you are trying to move away from that. How about maybe taking Jamil's Okto and using a clean ale yeast. Most people suggest kolsch or steam, but I prefer cal-ale.

5# pils
4# vienna
3# munich (10L)
1# crystal 60

1.5oz hallertau @60
.5oz hallertau @20
 

uncleozzy

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Have you looked at BierMuncher's OktoberFAST and EdWort's Bee Cave Oktoberfest? Both ales in the general Oktoberfest style. Both have some Munich in addition to the Vienna and Pilsner, with Pilsner malt making up less than half of the grain bill.

Ed calls for WLP029, and I just used it in an Alt and found it really tasty, but fairly hop-forward. You can probably adjust that with your mash temperature, but you might want to look toward something more malt-forward (I'm sure somebody here can point you in the right direction).
 
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JayInJersey

JayInJersey

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Care to comment a little more on what was missing in previous batches?

I can't put my finger on it...but they tasted rather..."kit-esque" or rather like they lacked the personality of a non-kit beer.
Might just be me, but most basic style kits I've done (like an "Oktoberfest" or a "Hefewiezen") seem to lack the panache of a good recipe.

Almost as if they were making the base style with no imagination to it.

That make sense?


As for the increasing the Munich...yeah I can do that.

Maybe
6 Vienna 50%
3.5 Pilsner 30%
2.5 Munich 20%

That will nix the CaraMunich though...but I'm not sure how much 8oz was going to impact anyway.
Of course I could swap the CaraMunich for the Dark Munich and use the CaraMunich III and go:

6 Vienna 50%
4 Pilsner 33%
2 CaraMunich III 17%


I kind of like that idea.
 

Pivovar_Koucky

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I've got "Brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. Their Oktoberfest recipe "Munich Madness" calls for:

5 lbs. Pilsener,
4 lbs. Munich,
3 lbs Vienna, and
1 lb CaraMunich

1.5 oz. Hallertau 4%AA - 60 min
0.5 oz. Hallertau 4%AA - 20 min

Of course that's a whole extra pound of malt and an oz. less hops, so it will be a different beer from your recipe. Also, I haven't brewed it, but I've liked all of the brews I've done from the book.
 

doobliebop

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I buy a keg of Sam Adams Octoberfest each year around my birthday. On the lid it says it's a lager except in TX, where it is brewed as an ale. Any ideas why they'd do that?
 

Beerrific

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I've got "Brewing Classic Styles" by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer. Their Oktoberfest recipe "Munich Madness" calls for:

5 lbs. Pilsener,
4 lbs. Munich,
3 lbs Vienna, and
1 lb CaraMunich

1.5 oz. Hallertau 4%AA - 60 min
0.5 oz. Hallertau 4%AA - 20 min

Of course that's a whole extra pound of malt and an oz. less hops, so it will be a different beer from your recipe. Also, I haven't brewed it, but I've liked all of the brews I've done from the book.
I have brewed this recipe. Came out great. Highly recommend as at least a starting point.

WLP029 is a good yeast for a 'fake' lager. I mean, I know of people that have used that yeast a brewed a 'fake' lager that have taken gold in the Oktoberfest category at big comps. Make a nice big yeast starter: http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html Use the 'hybrid' fermentation type. Try to do all this well in advance and chill and decant the spent beer. Pitch and try to keep the temp in the low to mid 60s. This and a nice cold conditioning period will make a nice Oktoberfest.
 

Wayne1

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I buy a keg of Sam Adams Octoberfest each year around my birthday. On the lid it says it's a lager except in TX, where it is brewed as an ale. Any ideas why they'd do that?
The Texas Alcohol Beverage Code has some rather odd definitions.

(12) "Ale" or "malt liquor" means a malt beverage containing more than four percent of alcohol by weight.
 

JLem

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I buy a keg of Sam Adams Octoberfest each year around my birthday. On the lid it says it's a lager except in TX, where it is brewed as an ale. Any ideas why they'd do that?
It's not brewed differently, just labeled differently because of Texas beer tax laws - here's a thread I started when I noticed that this past fall - https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/ale-tx-144517/
 
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