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Oktoberfest/Märzen recipe and yeast ideas?

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Sacred Knot Brewing

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Long time craft beer fan/craft brewery bartender and new home brewer. I am currently doing 1 gallon partial mash brews as I don’t have the space or equipment for AG brewing as of now.

I know it is early in the year to think about it, but I want to do an Oktoberfest bier this year. It is one of my all time favorite styles and I want to do it justice. I really prefer the maltier/bready versions as opposed to the very sweet, caramel like ones.

So two questions:

1. I don’t have the space or equipment to do a proper lagering. But I have been reading people using Saflager 34/70 and ale temps with good results. I can keep fermentation temps in the mid-high 60s. Is this a safe option or will there be too much of a risk of off flavors? Also was looking at k-97?

2. I skimmed and compiled to come up with a recipe and wanted to know if it was sound:

1 gallon target to fermenter

Grain bill
16 oz Munich DME
8 oz Vienna
6 oz Dark Munich
3 oz Aromatic malt
2 oz Caramunich I
1 oz Carapils

Hops
5g Saaz at 60 min
2.5g Saaz at 45 then 30 min

Yeast
(?)
Plan on mashing the grain at 160 for about an hour in about 1/2 gallon of water. “Sparge” with some water at 170 then a 60 min boil after adding DME. Primary about 3 weeks, rack to my mini corny keg for a few weeks secondary, then “lager” for another week or so before force carbing.


Brewers friend shows 20 IBU, 1.052 OG, 13 SRM
 
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TheMadKing

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Long time craft beer fan/craft brewery bartender and new home brewer. I am currently doing 1 gallon partial mash brews as I don’t have the space or equipment for AG brewing as of now.

I know it is early in the year to think about it, but I want to do an Oktoberfest bier this year. It is one of my all time favorite styles and I want to do it justice. I really prefer the maltier/bready versions as opposed to the very sweet, caramel like ones.

So two questions:

1. I don’t have the space or equipment to do a proper lagering. But I have been reading people using Saflager 34/70 and ale temps with good results. I can keep fermentation temps in the mid-high 60s. Is this a safe option or will there be too much of a risk of off flavors? Also was looking at k-97?

2. I skimmed and compiled to come up with a recipe and wanted to know if it was sound:

1 gallon target to fermenter

Grain bill
16 oz Munich DME
8 oz Vienna
6 oz Dark Munich
3 oz Aromatic malt
2 oz Caramunich I
1 oz Carapils

Hops
5g Saaz at 60 min
2.5g Saaz at 45 then 30 min

Yeast
(?)
Plan on mashing the grain at 160 for about an hour in about 1/2 gallon of water. “Sparge” with some water at 170 then a 60 min boil after adding DME. Primary about 3 weeks, rack to my mini corny keg for a few weeks secondary, then “lager” for another week or so before force carbing.


Brewers friend shows 20 IBU, 1.052 OG, 13 SRM
Here's my 2 cents:

The carapils isn't doing much for you here so I'd drop it

you want your munich to shine here, so I would and increase the dark munich proportionally. Doing a partial mash, you could even do a "decoction" whereby you boil your grains in a thick mash before separating them to get some extra color development.

Mash those grains lower around 150F. You have base malt in the vienna and munich, and can expect some conversion to occur and a good oktoberfest should smell like it's going to be sweet, taste very malty, and then finish very balanced crisp and dry. So you want a nice fermentable wort. You might even consider mashing the DME to ensure any lingering long-chain sugars are broken down. I like my FG around 1.008

I really love WLP833 for my oktoberfest, it has the best malt profile I've found so far.

I also prefer magnum for bittering and spalt or hallertau for my hops - Saaz is great in a pilsner but I find it distracting in a marzen.
 

TheMadKing

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For reference, my Marzen recipe (which I'm happy with) is:

35% Dark Munich
35% Pilsen
17.5% Vienna
8.5% Melanoiden (aromatic)
4% Caramunich
0.3% Carafa III (for color only)

14.5 IBU of magnum
5.8 IBU of Perle
2.7 IBU of Spalt

WLP833

Or I've use WLP2633 also

I pull off a thick decoction at about the 45 minute mark, stick it in a stainless pot in my oven and bake it at 400F for about 30 minutes, and then dump it right back into the main mash during the sparge. It adds some really nice melanoiden baking bread flavors (and smells amazing).
 
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Sacred Knot Brewing

Sacred Knot Brewing

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For reference, my Marzen recipe (which I'm happy with) is:

35% Dark Munich
35% Pilsen
17.5% Vienna
8.5% Melanoiden (aromatic)
4% Caramunich
0.3% Carafa III (for color only)

14.5 IBU of magnum
5.8 IBU of Perle
2.7 IBU of Spalt

WLP833

Or I've use WLP2633 also

I pull off a thick decoction at about the 45 minute mark, stick it in a stainless pot in my oven and bake it at 400F for about 30 minutes, and then dump it right back into the main mash during the sparge. It adds some really nice melanoiden baking bread flavors (and smells amazing).
I guess because I’m new to this I’m still struggling with not knowing what certain grains contribute to the wort. Since I’m looking for more of a bready festbier I thought Vienna was more apt to contribute that character thus why it was in higher proportion. And is aromatic comparable with melanoiden and would you recommend the swap? Your decoction idea sounds absolutely amazing and something I want to try. Will need to do some more research in that regard.

I was also hesitant on Saaz but included it because I was considering ordering some for a blonde I’m about to brew - but I may just switch the hops for that recipe and this one to hallertau after all.

Any thoughts about my fermentation temp and what yeast would be best?

thanks!!
 

TheMadKing

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I guess because I’m new to this I’m still struggling with not knowing what certain grains contribute to the wort. Since I’m looking for more of a bready festbier I thought Vienna was more apt to contribute that character thus why it was in higher proportion. And is aromatic comparable with melanoiden and would you recommend the swap? Your decoction idea sounds absolutely amazing and something I want to try. Will need to do some more research in that regard.

I was also hesitant on Saaz but included it because I was considering ordering some for a blonde I’m about to brew - but I may just switch the hops for that recipe and this one to hallertau after all.

Any thoughts about my fermentation temp and what yeast would be best?

thanks!!
So Vienna will give you some very light bready, grainy, more cracker-like malt flavor. I definitely like it as a malt, but I think of it as a slightly more flavorful Pilsen malt. Munich is where you really get that bread flavor from.

Aromatic and melanoidin are interchangeable IMO so no worries there

For either of the yeasts I recommended above, I would pitch at 48F and let it rise to 52F. Hold at 52F for 7-10 days, then start ramping the temp up by 4 degrees per day to 65F. Hold it there for a day or so, and then it's ready to get it off the yeast cake and lager it at 35 for a few weeks.
 
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