Sunday, March 15, 2009

Oktoberfest/Märzen 2009

The Story

Well, I finally got around to brewing a traditional Oktoberfest beer today in hopes to have it ready for an Oktoberfest party this coming autumn. Traditionally, Oktoberfests are a Vienna/Märzen style lager, which means they are brewed in March and have a very long lagering period (6 months) before being ceremoniously tapped for the Oktoberfest celebtration in late September. These beers were originally stored in caves, which were cool, to keep them from warming and give them a long time to mature. The word lager can loosley be translated to "cold storage" in English and lager beers are fermented cold(45-50F) and stored cold(30-40F) for a period to allow the beer to "mature" or loose some of the off flavors that can develop in the young beer from fermentation. This removal of flavors developed by the yeast is why the malty and hoppy flavors are so noticable in lager beers, and why they are sometimes described as tasting clean. A 2-4 week lagering period is common for most pale lagers, while some Bock beers are lagered for several months to a year traditionally. The higher the alcohol content the longer a lagering period is required to rid the beer of off flavors generated by the yeast due to the greater strain on the yeast in a higher alcohol beer, which causes them to produce esters(flavor compounds). I'm not sure an Oktoberfest style really needs the long lagering period, but it is the tradition and I would like to try it out so we'll see how it goes. It will be hard not to sample this beer through the summer, but I'll have to be good and leave it alone until first cool days of next fall!

The Recipe

I devloped this recipe myself after reading up on the style from various sources. I like to keep things simple if possible and the more I read and hear from other brewers the more I think this is really the way to go. Some recipes seem to call for a little bit if everything with many ingredients in quantities so small that you could barely taste it or be able to discern it from the other ingredients. So I've been keeping my recipes as simple as possible lately and have been happy with the results. I was originally going to use Pilsner malt as the base, but afer reading some comments on the style I decided to go with Vienna as the base which makes sense since this style eveolved from the Vienna/Marzen style of lager. The Vienna Malt was about 85% of the grain bill and it will be nice to really get a taste for that malt in the finished product which should give it a biscuty flavor and an orange color. German Dark Munich Malt was used for the remainder of the barley which will give it some more maltiness and darken it into the proper color range. German Hallertau hops were added to the first wort to add flavor and bitterness. Hopefully just enougth to balance the sweetness of the malt and come through a bit in the beers taste. Czech Saaz hops were added in the final minute to give the beer a little bit of a spicy hop aroma, but hopfully just enough, with malt being the dominant aroma. Bavarian Lager Yeast (WY2206) was used to ferment the batch which was built up with a 2 liter starter. Basically, the barley malt, hops and yeast are all of German origin, or Czech for the Saaz hops to give this beer the most authentic taste possible. The water used was a 50/50 mix of my harder Dry Wolf spring water with soft Reverse Osmosis Culligan water to get the water into the proper "moderate" hardness/alkalinity range required for this style. The hydrometer sample in the picture below shows the original gravity at about 1.054 with the color right where I wanted! The full recipe is found below the picture.


3-B Oktoberfest/Märzen
Author: Bob Hoenisch
Date: 3/15/2009

BeerTools Pro Color Graphic

Size: 5.55 gal
Efficiency: 83.38%
Attenuation: 77.8%
Calories: 178.9 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.054 (1.050 - 1.057)

Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.012 - 1.016)

Color: 10.73 (7.0 - 14.0)

Alcohol: 5.51% (4.8% - 5.7%)

Bitterness: 21.8 (20.0 - 28.0)


9.0 lb Vienna Malt
1.5 lb German Dark Munich
47.0 g Hallertau Tradition (3.9%) - added first wort, boiled 60 min
1.0 oz Czech Saaz (2.5%) - added during boil, boiled 0.0 min


Ambient Air: 45.0 °F
Source Water: 55.0 °F
Elevation: 3500.0 ft

00:03:00 Mash in - Liquor: 3.49 gal; Strike: 162.97 °F; Target: 150.1 °F
01:03:00 Saccrification rest - Rest: 60.0 min; Final: 145.6 °F
02:03:00 Sparge - Sparge Volume: 6.25 gal; Sparge Temperature: 180.0 °F; Runoff: 6.65 gal
Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.2


Chuck said...

What yeast did you use, and how did you lager it?
Merritt Island, Florida

Chuck said...

Sorry, I found it in your story.
Merritt Island, Florida

I'm going to brew this in a few weeks, and it will be my first attempt with a lager yeast.