Oktoberfest/Marzen Water Profile

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Homebrew Enthusiast
Dec 19, 2011
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La Crosse
Curious what others are using for this style as far as water profiles go.

Thanks in advance!
Where should I aim to have my mash pH? Or is that not a big deal with this style?

The lower the mash pH in lighter beers the crisper the flavor. Always aim for at least 50 ppm's of calcium in the mash. I go no lower then 75 ppm's.
For my beers I typically choose soft water and a balanced water profile. As you increase gravity, color, and hopping it's a good idea adjusting the brewing salts in the mash accordingly. 50-100ppm calcium salts, tops. Helps yeast flocculate and prevents beerstone deposits.
I find no real need for epsom salts (MgSO4) in mildly hopped beers because the grain malt supplies lots of magnesium, so gypsum can account for the majority of your added sulfates. Some people may argue against a protein rest but I do it depending on the source and type of grain in the mash. Some under-modified Continental Pilsner malts and wheats contain more starch and proteins so getting a good rest can promote a more highly fermentable wort, better mash efficiency, and higher sugar extraction.
Here are the water specs for my recent Märzen, which is on tap and delicious:

Ca - 66 ppm
SO4 - 37 ppm
Cl - 89 ppm
Na - 11 ppm
Mg - 0
Mash pH 5.4
I have going with Amber Full for my Marzen beers the last year or so. Working out fine.
Thanks for the input everyone, very helpful info and I appreciate it. Brewing this up on Friday, so we will see how it goes!
I'll be brewing my first one marzen this weekend and foolishly forgot to check my stock of gypsum, baking soda etc. What issues/if any do you guys forsee with straight spring water (geyser)? Keep in mind I don't have a LHBS within a 2hr drive so a reorder isn't an option.
What are the analyticals for your chosen spring water? The one I would be most concerned about is alkalinity.
According to the analysis I found:
Alkalinity: 45-57
pH: 7.2-7.3
Calcium: 6.3-6.4
Magnesium: 2.8-5.5
Sulfate: 1.2
Sodium: 10-12
Chloride: not detected
Total Hardness: 26-38

All measurements are based on mg/L which I believe would be equivalent to ppm values but correct me if I'm wrong. I plugged the values into John Palmer's app and for the most part are in range, however on the low side, for the style.
If I remember right I used Amber full on Brun Water as well . Been lagering since April 2nd . I tried it about 2 weeks ago . I will try it again beginning of August to see if the beer is starting to change for the worst . If it seems like it's going downhill I'll brew another 5 gallons for my Oktoberfest party Sept 21st. I think it will be fine though.
The low mineralization depicted in the Munich profile is a good guide for Ofest. You want the malt to dominate and the water to stay in the background.

Low calcium is not really a concern in brewing. However, having a decent Ca content is desirable in the mash. I have continuing success in brewing lagers by targeting modest mineralization in the final wort by adding all my minerals to the mashing water and none in the sparge.
For those who don't have a LHBS what is the typical age of liquid yeast by the time it arrives at your doorstep? For my recent purchase the yeast was 66 days old. Meaning, depending on the source you trust, it lost 50-60% of its viability. I made a starter and provided yeast nutrient and oxygen but still would like to find a source of fresher yeast.
3 - 4 weeks. The odd time I get some that is 2 weeks old. No problem to build it back up.
Before my LHBS opened up I went through morebeer . They were really fast , tbo I never ever looked at the date . Never had any issues but I always made starters.
Before my LHBS opened up I went through morebeer . They were really fast , tbo I never ever looked at the date . Never had any issues but I always made starters.
That's who I normally use but they were out of the yeast I wanted to use at the time of my order. Next time I'll just wait until they are back in stock. I grew up a starter as well but rather than being able to overbuild my 2L starter was just enough for my current batch.

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