True Brew Oktoberfest Kit

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SlickRick

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When I received my MB kit for Christmas my mother in law also purchased the True Brew Oktoberfest Kit as well. I've hung on this in hopes of having it ready for the proper season. Now that I'm in the ballpark of prepping an Oktoberfest, I am looking for a little help on their recipe and on any possible additions. The kit includes:

Amber UME - 1 Can
Light DME - 2 lbs.
Melanoidin Grain - 8 oz.
"Hop" Pellets - 2 oz.
Ale Yeast

OG: 1.041
FG: 1.011
IBU: 6.0

First, any idea what type of "hops" they use for this kit? It's unspecific which has me a little concerned. Secondly, has anyone made this kit that could recommend improvements? Or does anyone just have a recommendation to add to this? I'm assuming some sort of Noble Hops would be beneficial. I'm a little hesitant to add hops without more knowledge of what the hops are that they include in the kit. I also notice the IBU as 6.0 which I'm assuming is a typo. I would think this would be at least 16.0. Finally, 3.93% Alcohol is a little on the low side, would adding more light DME be advisable?

Thanks in advance!
 
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SlickRick

SlickRick

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I've been recommended on another site to look at add 1 lb. of Crystal 60L to help bump the ABV and overall flavor. That should put me at around 4.3% ABV but also keep the beer similar to a traditional Oktoberfest. I'm assuming that I need to replace the "Generic" hops in the kit and use something similar to a Hallertauer?
 

Bramstoker17

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If you want to stick to what is usually in an Oktoberfest, maybe use Caramunich malt instead of the crystal 60. I don't believe you see typical crystal malt in Oktoberfests. And yea Hallertauer would be a good hop to go with, so would Tettnang. Maybe go with the Tettnang for bittering at 60 min then do the Hallertauer for flavor at 15 or 20 min. You don't need an aroma addition for the Oktoberfest since it should be malt forward.

What yeast did the kit come with? If you are going to be adding things anyway, might want to look into some fresher yeast. Its been sitting since Christmas, and who knows how long before that. You'll want a nice clean fermenting ale yeast. I assume you won't be doing this as a true lager, so getting a clean fermenting ale yeast will be better so you taste the malt and not fruity yeast esters. Hope this helps!
 
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SlickRick

SlickRick

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Last night I verified that the hops are Liberty hops with an AA of 5.2%. Do you believe these need replaced after sitting so long? They are still sealed in their packaging but have been a room temps.

I agree on the yeast, I was thinking of going with US-05. Until I am more comfortable with Lagering, I'll stick with the Ale yeast.

In regards to the Caramunich Malt, does it need to be mashed? The one benefit of the Crystal 60L is that it can be steeped as I have yet to do a partial mash of any kind.

Thanks for your help!
 

Bramstoker17

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I believe anything with cara- or crystal- gets steeped.
+1. To my knowledge it can be steeped. I've never used Liberty hops so I can't tell you how they'd be in an Oktoberfest, but I can't imagine them being at room temp that long has done them any favors. I'm sure they're still usable, but for the little amount of hops you need for this recipe, I'd spent the extra few bucks on fresher hops.

Not sure how many brews you've got under your belt, but if/when you feel you want to step up to partial mash, this thread was an enormous help! You can create a more complex malt profile, and a mash, even a small one, isn't much different that a longer steep at a steady temp.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy-partial-mash-brewing-pics-75231/

I'm sure the Safale 05 would work well. So would 04 if you can keep the temps down a bit.

Good luck with the Oktoberfest!
 

jonnyp1980

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This style of beer should be lagered if I'm not mistaken. Beware your ferm temps.
 
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SlickRick

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Thanks for all of the insight. Last night I completed this Oktoberfest which was my first ever full 5 gallon batch. I tweaked the grains, replaced the hops, and went with US-05 Ale Yeast. I simply don't have the ability to lager at this time. Here was the recipe I went with:

Recipe Name: Oktoberfest
Recipe Volume: 5 Gallons

Malts:
Amber Light LME 3.3 lbs.
Light DME 2.5 lbs.
Melanoidin Malt .8 oz
Caramunich 1 lb.

Hops:
Hallartauer 1.5 oz @ 60 min. 4.4%AA
Hallartauer .5 oz @ 20 min. 4.4%AA

US-05 Yeast
Original Gravity: 1.048
 

freisste

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Looks good. I'm sure it will be delicious. Did you use a calculator to make your recipe or just base this on a similar recipe you found? I'm curious if you have a target FG. Based on the extracts and percent of cara malt, I wouldn't expect this to get below 1.020. Maybe 1.022-1.024, but I'm kinda guessing now - I could be wrong. If that's the case (big 'if' because again, I'm guessing) you may have a pretty low ABV Oktoberfest. Likely out of style, just so you know.

Not trying to be critical or anything. You weren't going to win an award for being "to style" anyway because of the yeast/non-lager points. Just wanted you to know what to expect. Again, I'm sure it will be delicious.
 
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SlickRick

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My goal for the OG was 1.048 so I did hit what I was anicipating. Based on QBrew I was hoping to hit an OG of 1.012 which would put me at 4.7%. Now I'm new to brewing as well so if that doesn't turn out quite the way I anticipated, I wouldn't be shocked. The base recipe was from the kit I received but I added the Caramunich, swapped hops, changed the yeast.
 

freisste

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What temp is it at? I know you can't lager, but keeping it cool would be beneficial. From memory, I think the ideal range of your yeast goes down into the 50's. if you can keep it at least in the low 60's it would be good. Too warm and you will get unwanted esters.
 
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SlickRick

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freisste, being an experienced brewer, your first thought was that this FG would be in the 1.22. What reasoning was behind that, just so I can understand what might cause this to finish off at a higher FG than I anticipated. I'm trying to keep those temps down by tubs, water, and ice. I'll certainly look for the low 60's to help this any way I can.
 

jonnyp1980

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Fermenting at 65 or so should be good. Won't get that lager taste but more of a wheat flavor. Should be tasty.
 

freisste

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SlickRick said:
freisste, being an experienced brewer, your first thought was that this FG would be in the 1.22. What reasoning was behind that, just so I can understand what might cause this to finish off at a higher FG than I anticipated. I'm trying to keep those temps down by tubs, water, and ice. I'll certainly look for the low 60's to help this any way I can.
"Experienced" is a strong word. As far as my reasoning, it is very common for extracts to end at 1.020. Google it - people are surprised all the time when calculators suggest an FG of 1.012 and it stops at 1.020. The reason I suggested just over that is that you have a lot of cara for that recipe. Lots of people suggest no more than 6-8% of the grain bill. You're a little over that. Again - I'm not sure.
 
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SlickRick

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"Experienced" is a strong word. As far as my reasoning, it is very common for extracts to end at 1.020. Google it - people are surprised all the time when calculators suggest an FG of 1.012 and it stops at 1.020. The reason I suggested just over that is that you have a lot of cara for that recipe. Lots of people suggest no more than 6-8% of the grain bill. You're a little over that. Again - I'm not sure.
That makes perfect sense. This is only my 8th batch as a homebrewer so I'm definitely still learning the ropes. In fact, this is really my first recipe that I altered a decent amount, plus its my first 5 gallon batch. I was pleased that I actually hit my OG as intended. I will say this, my FG's have consistently been in the 1.012 range so I'm optimistic I can take this one down to that mark. What does make sense is that I haven't used this much grain in my previous batches. If I did my math correctly the Cara makes up roughly 13% of the grain bill which could be a real issue. If all else, this is an experience I'll learn from. I'll be interested to see where I get that ABV% to fall. I was hoping for 4.7% - 5%.
 

Bramstoker17

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It'll be a tasty beer regardless. In the future though, just keep in mind the amber extract will already probably have some crystal malt in it. So adding a pound more of crystal or cara malt might be a bit much. Again though, I'm sure the beer will still be tasty.
 
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SlickRick

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Using ice bombs and tubs of water I've kept the fermentation temps in the low 60's. I've had a strong Krausen for the past 7 days straight. I've been expecting it to subside but it's still pretty heavy at this point. I'm hopeful that means this US-05 is really breaking down all of the fermentables. I'm still crossing my fingers for that FG number os 1.012.
 

jonnyp1980

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I'm sure it's fine. You might even be at fg already at 7 days. I've had krausen for 12 days A few times and it was finished. Check gravity levels for a few days and see where you're at.
 

freisste

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Occasionally krausen will not fall. Happened to me on a wheat recently. Not sure what causes it to fall or not and why it would on some beers but not others (even identical recipes and fermentation schedules), but it is just one of the mysteries of homebrewing.
 
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As a follow up, the US05 did a great job on this beer. I bottled it recently hitting 4.9% ABV. I was able to get the FG down to 1.012 as I was hoping. It appears this is a much more clean beer than other yeasts I've used. Keeping it down to temps wasn't easy but the finished product looks nice.
 

Bramstoker17

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As a follow up, the US05 did a great job on this beer. I bottled it recently hitting 4.9% ABV. I was able to get the FG down to 1.012 as I was hoping. It appears this is a much more clean beer than other yeasts I've used. Keeping it down to temps wasn't easy but the finished product looks nice.
Awesome! Glad to hear it turned out well.
 
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