Any killer Octoberfest recipes?

I have been asked to brew an Octoberfest for a community O’Fest party in the fall. I have brewed one each of the last two years based very closely on the NB recipe.

Anyone got some great recipes to share? I am well set up for ferm temp control and plan to use Wyeast O’fest yeast, huge starter finishing up now.

I feel that a good Oktoberfest lager should have a Vienna malt base, with Munich and Pilsner malt playing supporting roles. Oktoberfest and Vienna lager are almost exactly the same style. So…

Following is actually a link to my favorite Vienna lager recipe, which I would brew up just like an Oktoberfest if I wanted, except perhaps to cut the chocolate malt in half, and maybe substitute a pound of the Vienna malt for Pilsner malt to lighten it up a little and add more of a crackery character, as I designed my Vienna lager recipe to be a little too dark on purpose. For what it’s worth, in my opinion, the different malts taste like:

Pilsner = crackers, biscuits, and honey
Vienna = lightly toasted bread
Munich = dark bread crust, dark toast

So you basically just want to figure out a blend of those flavors that you think you would like, and roll with that, adding a little CaraMunich for just a touch of sweetness and body. So anyway… I think my recipe that follows is spot on as a good example of a VMO (Vienna/Maerzen/Oktoberfest), with or without any adjustments. The biscuit malt is entirely optional and non-traditional but will guarantee a little more complexity if desired.




I agree completely with Dave, although when it comes to Octoberfests I’m too much of a purist (most of the time) to add crystal or other specialty malts. Dark malts for color are ok, but I’m not a fan of things like biscuit or crystal malts in my ofest. Think german ofest v. Sam Adams ofest. Nothing wrong with SA, it’s very good, but I just prefer the german varieties that don’t have a pronounced crystal malt flavor.

So, when I’m making an ofest, I usually limit myself to pilsner, vienna, light munich, or dark munich. If I want an ofest that falls on the more robust end of the spectrum, I may go for something like 85% Vienna and 15% dark munich. If I’m more in the mood for a lighter ofest, I may do something like 70% Vienna and 30% pilsner, or 70/20/10 vienna/pilsner/light munich. If necessary, I may add a touch of carafa to adjust the color.

That’s some good info right there, sl8w. I too prefer the German Oktoberfest biers over the “American Oktoberfest” style so prevalent these days. However I also don’t mind using just a little bit of crystal or non-traditional ingredients. Just keep them at low levels – no need to generate the thick syrupy body of Sam Adams Oktoberfests – I hate that. In my own Vienna lager, I experienced a somewhat thin, watery body, even with the crystal in there, and I think that is because of an extensive protein rest. From that point on, I vowed never to do a protein rest anymore. I suppose then I could probably cut back or eliminate the crystal (CaraMunich) as you suggest.


I think the main difference between an ofest and a vienna is that ofests have slightly higher starting and ending gravities, and thicker mouthfeel. I think getting that part right, without crystal malts, is the trick for making a good ofest. I’m not there completely, but worked on it while experimenting with several batches last summer.

To me, a slightly thinner vienna is OK, especially when compared to the mexican-style viennas made with adjuncts. For comparison, my last Vienna recipe was 85/14/1 of vienna, pilsner, and carafa.

I made an Octoberfest last year that was a huge hit. My original intent was to make it Vienna, Munich, and some dark Munich, but when I got to my LHBS to buy ingredients, I found that they were completely out of regular Munich, so I had to go with plan B 8) .

It ended up as:

72% Best Malz Vienna
28% Best Malz Dark Munich

25IBU’s of Spalt at 60 min
0.5oz Spalt at 15 min

2 packs of Fermentis 34/70 yeast, fermented at ~52F.

OG 1.057
IBUs: 27
~10 SRM

The use of flavor hops is atypical (Sam Adams does it, but it wasn’t my intent to mimic them), but it seemed quite subtle. It might have been more pronounced without the grainbill that was extra heavy on the dark Munich in an attempt to get color and flavor where I wanted. I think this was my first time using Best Malz, and I’ve seen overwhelmingly positive reviews of their malts.

Whatever it was, it rreally did work well. I’ll be making it again this year and probably for many more.

A friend of mine who did his brewing internship in Munich gave me this one which is very good:

-85% Vienna
-remainder balanced between pils, munich, and caramunich I.
-Use a good malty yeast like 2206 and hop with Tradition

Ken Lenard posted this a while ago.


In my personal opinion, when talking about German beers there really aren’t all that many surprises when it comes to recipe formulation. Generally, the difference comes down to execution because if you start making brewing mistakes it can be tasted. I think all the recipes presented on this thread will make a very good tasting beer, it just depends on brewing technique. I always tell anybody who will listen that fermentation control and good attenuation are key to making a good example. The good stuff is malty but fairly dry. I wouldn’t call this style a session beer but it is for sure a quaffing beer and to do that it can’t be too heavy or sweet. I never let the O.G. get any bigger than 1.055 and I don’t mash too hot because I want attenuation. Also to that end I make sure to pitch alot of healty yeast and do everything I can to make sure that yeast is in very good shape then I ferment the whole thing at 48F with a diacetyl rest just to make sure if finished out completely. Finally, a decent lagering period is also helpful as it allows the flavors to meld together and I think also attenuates just a tad more while sitting around. The problem I get into is that I have trouble leaving it alone for that long, I really should just throw out all my cobra taps. :smiley:

I’ve made this O’fest a few times now. Usually use hallertau but ended up using hersbrucker for late addition on this one. Very good. A little more spicy taste from the hersbrucker but it’s still young.

Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.052 SG
Estimated Color: 10.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.7 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs 4.0 oz BestMalz Munich Malt (15.0 SRM) Grain 1 39.3 %
4 lbs 4.0 oz Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 39.3 %
2 lbs 4.0 oz BestMalzVienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 3 20.8 %
1.0 oz Carafa Special II (Weyermann) (415.0 SRM Grain 4 0.6 %
1.10 oz Hallertau Tradition [5.30 %] - Boil 60.0 Hop 5 19.4 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6 -
1.30 oz Hersbrucker [2.80 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 7 4.4 IBUs
2.3 pkg Octoberfest Lager Blend (Wyeast Labs #26 Yeast 8 -

Mash Schedule: BIAB - Danny’s
Total Grain Weight: 10 lbs 13.0 oz

Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash in Kettle Add 22.96 qt of water at 158.7 F 151.0 F 60 min
Sparge Add 12.00 qt of water at 203.7 F 168.0 F 10 min

Sparge: If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

No hallertau so I used hersbrucker for late add this time.

recirc’d mash and used burner to keep temp at 152 per inline thermo. Temp kept dropping due to no sleeping bag wrap, 4 degrees outside. turned on burner 3-4 times but not for long.

fr 1.041 119= 1.051
pbk 1.031 144= 1.048 pH >5.6

chilled to 54 decanted and pitched 2L2S starter, temp dropped to 50
2/15 - kegged put on gas for lagering

One of my favorites: ... iii-marzen

I don’t have lager capability (yet) so I did an Oktoberfest-style ale instead:

It was ready in six weeks, and everybody who tried it liked it very much…

Here’s one I did last year. Needed a little more sweetness from what I recall so might need to adjust something accordingly.

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
7 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 60.9 %
3 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 26.1 %
1 lbs Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 3 8.7 %
8.0 oz Melanoiden Malt (20.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.3 %
2.00 oz Tettnang [6.10 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 39.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Bavarian Lager (Wyeast Labs #2206) [124.21 ml] Yeast 6 -

Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.1 %
Bitterness: 39.0 IBUs
Est Color: 9.9 SRM

Mash In Add 14.38 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F 60 min

1/3 pils
1/3 Munich
1/3 dark Munich
Halletauer 17 IBU boil, 5IBU flavor
WL 833
I will let you know in September.