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An oktoberfest clone

A local brewing company makes an awesome Oktoberfest and I am looking to replicate it as best I can.
This is the info from their website any assistance would be appreciated:
Oktoberfest uses seven different malts and three varieties of imported and domestic hops, as well as authentic Bavarian lager yeast. Light in copper color, this beer is full-bodied with a nice malt sweetness.

Malts: 2 Row Barley, Caramel, Munich 60, Cara-Pils, Vienna, Wheat, Cara-Munich

Hops: Hersbucker, Tettnang, Cluster

OG: 13.2

ABV: 5.2%

IBU: 24

That may be a good drinking beer but you can make something a lot better IMO. The German beer lover in me says that recipe is not only too complicated but domestic 2-row and Cluster hops just have no place in an Oktoberfest. Please check out this recent thread and see what you think:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=117733

:cheers:

What brewery is this? I would love to see their reasoning behind adding in each grain into their grist.

Seems very complicated.

The brewery is Lancaster Brewing Company. It’s good stuff and I would like to try to replicate it despite others opinions. :slight_smile:

I just jumped onto the breweries website to learn more but the original poster got most of it although the website says the beer has an O.G. of about 1.058 and bitterness of 20 IBU’s. Anyway, I suspect that they are using a bunch of character malts to cover the fact that the base malt being used just won’t stand up to a beer brewed using good quality German pils, Munich malt etc. Generally speaking though, when brewing most styles there is more than one way to skin that cat so if it works, it works and hey, this hobby is just a little subjective, right?

What the original poster is trying to do though is make a beer that tastes more or less the same as the commerical example. I don’t know that I would get all hung up using exactly the same ingredients as the commerical example however. My advice would be to sit down and seriously taste a couple liters of the commercial stuff. Make a note of how dry the beer is, how bitter, is the bitterness smooth or a bit course. Is there hop flavor and aroma and what is it like? How is the malt character? Is it sweeter, caramally, any toasted notes etc. Once you have done your homework you can then think about formulating something that has the same major characteristics of the commercial beer. I think Octoberfests are somewhat difficult to make well however it is a worthy quest, brew on. :smiley:

Btw, I don’t think there is a Munich 60. Caramel 60 could be one grain and “Munich” but not Munich 60. I have to agree, using Cluster hops, domestic 2-row, crystal/caramel in a festbier is not to style and most style-Nazis would have an issue with it. OTOH, good beer is good beer and if they made a nice beer with those ingredients, who’s to say it’s not good? If you wanted to make a beer and use these ingredients, I would use the base malt and Munich in equal percentages (let’s say 40% of each or maybe even 45% each) and then use the wheat, crystal, caramunich and carapils in small percentages (2.5 to 5% each). Then mix the hops Hersbrucker, Tettnanger and Cluster and make one 60-minute addition and that’s it. It might only be 1/3 oz per hop depending on their AA%. Bavarian lager yeast suggests Wyeast 2206 (which does happen to make a nice festbier) but it’s only a guess. Good luck.

Your suggestions are of great help. Thanks!

For giggles (Yes, this is giggle material for me), I put a recipe together based on the information on their site. This is just what I might do if someone threw these ingredients at me and told me to make a festbier.

[b]MurphDog’s Festbier

4.50 lbs 2-row Base Malt
2.25 lbs German Munich
2.25 lbs German Vienna
4 oz CaraPils
4 oz Wheat Malt
2 oz Crystal 60L
2 oz CaraMunich
½ oz Hersbrucker pellets @ 3.2% +
½ oz Tettnanger pellets @ 4.5% +
.3 oz Cluster pellets @ 7.2% for 60 minutes
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager Yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.014, IBU: 25, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.2%[/b]

In a beer like this, the yeast plays an important role and 2206, 2308 and 2633 are often used for festbier. I happen to like 2124 in mine but if they referred to the yeast as “Bavarian”, I would probably start with 2206. It has a very distinct character and creates malty, deep-tasting beers. I might mash it around 151-152° so that is doesn’t come off as sweet. If you like it drier, 150° or lower could be okay. Most American breweries make Oktoberfest too sweet and/or dark and it doesn’t need to be that way. Here, you have a copper/light amber beer with good balance and the IBUs and ABV are in sync with the brewer’s site. I could see this beer coming out nicely although I think the grain bill is too busy. I’m a sucker for a simple recipe and the Crystal, CaraPils, Wheat and possibly even the Vienna are not necessary here. Most people would say the CaraMunich is not necessary either but I do add 2-3 ounces per 5 gallons to mine. Cheers.

+1 That does look like a tasty beer KL. Well done incorporating the out of style ingredients.

If I personnaly were going to the trouble of doing a festbier I probably would simplify it a bit though. I would remove the crystal 60 altogether. Caramunich should suffice (not saying it won’t work though).

I would probably only use one of the wheat or Carapils not both. I usually go wheat, but that can be a last minute decision.

If I were to add something I might go with a little dark munich (20l) or melanoiden malt. I like my Bavarian beer to taste like liquid bread.

I would usually use German Pilsner malt, but I don’t see the 2-row throwing anything off - as long as the munich and Vienna dominate.

Of course, if you still want to stick with your game plan, Ken’s recipe get’s you a good ballance of being within the style and using the ingredients you have listed.

The German beer lover in me says that recipe is not only too complicated but domestic 2-row and Cluster hops just have no place in an Oktoberfest.


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best wishes

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