Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Anyone mind sharing an authentic october fest recipe?

If anyone does not mind sharing, Im looking for an authentic octoberfest recipe so i can get crackn and lager over the summer

Check out my site… link below and go to RECIPES. Then scroll down to Therese’s Weisn Festbier. I’m about to make it myself for the umpteenth time. I’m not sure how authentic it is but it’s delicious if you make it right. Cheers.

Thanks bro

Ken-

How would you compare your fest to Jamil’s? His was the first proper lager I made and I liked it, but didn’t love it. It had amazing malt character, but honestly, it was almost too much. It almost had the color of a bock, and the melanoidin/bordering caramel character to match, which is not really what a festbier should be.

I have had some festbiers that are much more tame in color and caramel malts, but still rich in melanoidins, more in line with the style guidelines. I can’t imagine it was a process issue, as I hit mash temps and had a great fermentation…more likely in my mind that Mr. Malty lived up to his name…

[quote=“Pietro”]Ken-

How would you compare your fest to Jamil’s? His was the first proper lager I made and I liked it, but didn’t love it. It had amazing malt character, but honestly, it was almost too much. It almost had the color of a bock, and the melanoidin/bordering caramel character to match, which is not really what a festbier should be.

I have had some festbiers that are much more tame in color and caramel malts, but still rich in melanoidins, more in line with the style guidelines. I can’t imagine it was a process issue, as I hit mash temps and had a great fermentation…more likely in my mind that Mr. Malty lived up to his name…[/quote]

Well, I love the idea of a Festbier made with Pilsner malt, German Munich and little else. I won’t say anything about Jamil’s Festbier because I don’t know it. Equal parts pilsner and Weyermann Dark Munich (10L) and then small amounts of either aromatic, melanoidin or caramunich is fine. Do something like this for a 5 gallon batch…

5 lbs of good pilsner like Best Malz or Durst
5 lbs Weyermann Munich 10L
2 ounces Aromatic
2 ounces Melanoidin
6.0 to 6.5 AAU of a good, clean German hop like Hallertau, Tettnannger, Spalt, Mittelfruh, Tradition, etc. for 60 minutes and that’s it for the hops.
Wyeast 2124, 2206, 2308 or 2366… they all give off a different character and 2124 is my favorite followed closely by 2308 and 2206.

Use soft water that has at least 50ppm of Ca and more chlorides than sulfates. Mash around 151-152°, watch your mash pH and your primary fermentation temps. Do a d-rest and then try like hell to lager the beer around 35° for 2-3 months and I guarantee the angels will sing… if you do everything right. Cheers.

I was just brainstorming an octoberfest recipe…How does this sound?

4lbs munich
3lbs pilsner
3lbs vienna
.5 lbs carapils
.5 lbs caramunich

1.25oz tettnager

wyeast2633

Im probably gonna go with kens recipe this go around( thanks ken btw) but just wanted to see if the recipe i thought up is sound…cheers

[quote=“mattbrew83”]I was just brainstorming an octoberfest recipe…How does this sound?

4lbs munich
3lbs pilsner
3lbs vienna
.5 lbs carapils
.5 lbs caramunich

1.25oz tettnager

wyeast2633

Im probably gonna go with kens recipe this go around( thanks ken btw) but just wanted to see if the recipe i thought up is sound…cheers[/quote]
I like it but you could probably get away without that much CaraMunich. When I first started making festbiers, I thought you had to have it a little darker with crystal or CaraMunich (which is crystal) and I think I started with 12oz in 5 gallons, then cut that to 6 and then to 3. When you use a good percentage of a good dark Munich (10L), you get a great color with excellent, malty character which (to me) suggests that the CaraMunich could be skipped or lowered. Also, the Munich I’m talking about should be high quality, German Dark Munich which runs between 8°L and 11°L. Sometimes you’ll see “Dark Munich” that is more like 20-25L and this is more like a specialty grain that should be used in smaller percentages. A good dark Munich is a base malt and can be used for 100% of the grist, if desired. Overall, this beer should be made as simply as possible. Some of the best Festbiers might be good more because of the processes used (decoction)… and the quality ingredients. Cheers.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“mattbrew83”]I was just brainstorming an octoberfest recipe…How does this sound?

4lbs munich
3lbs pilsner
3lbs vienna
.5 lbs carapils
.5 lbs caramunich

1.25oz tettnager

wyeast2633

Im probably gonna go with kens recipe this go around( thanks ken btw) but just wanted to see if the recipe i thought up is sound…cheers[/quote]
I like it but you could probably get away without that much CaraMunich. When I first started making festbiers, I thought you had to have it a little darker with crystal or CaraMunich (which is crystal) and I think I started with 12oz in 5 gallons, then cut that to 6 and then to 3. When you use a good percentage of a good dark Munich (10L), you get a great color with excellent, malty character which (to me) suggests that the CaraMunich could be skipped or lowered. Also, the Munich I’m talking about should be high quality, German Dark Munich which runs between 8°L and 11°L. Sometimes you’ll see “Dark Munich” that is more like 20-25L and this is more like a specialty grain that should be used in smaller percentages. A good dark Munich is a base malt and can be used for 100% of the grist, if desired. Overall, this beer should be made as simply as possible. Some of the best Festbiers might be good more because of the processes used (decoction)… and the quality ingredients. Cheers.[/quote]

Cool man…thanks for the input…cheers

I personally think that Octoberfests are very difficult to get right. The older I get, the more I like most beers I make fairly dry and therefore I tend to cut back or completely cut out the crystal malts in many beers. Also, many brewers/drinkers confuse malty with sweet. My goal is usually to make a very malty beer but sweet…not so much. Also, crystal malts will tend to boost the ending gravity making the beer relatively heavy. Remember our buddies the Germans drink the stuff out of liter steins so the beer must be quaffable. A couple of ounces of Melonodin malt is a great idea, that stuff works wonders in my opinion. I never worry too much about the color but if you want it darker just use a little Carafa II; it will darken the beer but won’t add any roast flavors if you use just an ounce or two.

Besiders recipe formulation, fermentation is critical to sucess as all the usual cavets apply. You want the end result to be “rounded” but not “flabby” if you get where I’m going. Anyhow, good luck. My next project will be a “baby Octoberfest” (better known as a Vienna lager). I suspect that I’ll end up going with almost 100% Vienna malt, maybe a little Melonoidin malt and a touch of Carafa II for color.

Absolutely agree. While a few American commercial beers get close (Victory Pils, Stoudt Pils, Sam Adams Black Lager come to mind) I have yet to taste one that hits the same bulls-eye as a good German beer. IMO they all commit one or more of the following brewing sins: too much crystal malt, mashing too high, using cheap domestic malt.

As far as the Oktoberfest bier goes “traditional” is pretty much how ever you want to describe it. For me that’s heavy on the dark Munich malt, how I envision the beer might have been made 150 years ago before the Munich brewers figured out how to make yellow beer.

Here is a five gallon recipe based on my preferences:

8 lbs Munich TYPE II; Weyermann
3 lbs Pilsner Malt; Weyermann
1 oz Spalt Spalter (Pellets, 4.00 %AA) 60 min.
.5 oz Spalt Spalter (Pellets, 4.00 %AA) 20 min.
Yeast : WYeast 2308 Munich Lager

I’ll add one more “brewing sin” to those enumerated by BryanH and that would be not pitching enough yeast and ending up with under-attenuated beer. Perhaps the commercial brewers don’t commit this particular sin however homebrewers are frequently quilty (and I don’t exclude myself as I did it many times before seeing the light so to speak). If you read any of the stuff the Great Jamil writes, he always harps on fermentation; he didn’t win all those metals for nothing. Most German beers have fairly simple recipes, greatness is generally found in the process with those styles.

As far as using inferior ingredients goes I believe that is one area where homebrewers have a gigantic advantage over our commercial breathern. It matters little to me if I spend two or three bucks more on the ingredients for a batch where as for a commerical brewer it may make the difference between making a profit or not. We can also indulge in less than efficient processes (like decoction mashing for instance) which just don’t make economic sense for the commercial guys. When making my swill I always try to exploit those advantagess because after all, out goal should be to make beer which is actually better than the commercial stuff or absent that, at least as good. :smiley:

[quote=“BryanH”]
… mashing too high… [/quote]
I see a lot of this. I think a number of brewers think that you get that deep maltiness with a higher mash temp. I see quite a few recipes where people use a mash temp between 154° and 160° and I don’t think I’ve ever mashed that high on purpose. I know that some thermometers are not that accurate and I eventually got fed up with that and picked up a Thermapen… which has given me more confidence in my mash temps. Good ingredients (I love Weyermann Munich II) and good processes combined with simple recipes is a key. Cheers.

Yeah, what many don’t seem to realize is that the dextrans produced at higher mash temperatures are pretty much inert as far as flavor contribution is concerned. They will however tend to jack up the final gravity because they are not fermentable by regular beer yeasts and so you end up with heavy beer. This is one area where I think contests tend to incent brewers to try and increase so called mouthfeel at the expense of drinkability. Sure a judge is only going to taste the beer and I think many don’t consider what drinking a pint or two will really be like. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes contest winning beer is really not the same as what I quess I’d call great quaffing beer (which Octoberfest should be). I one time several years ago mashed a Heffe really hot and it really didn’t work out too well; very heavy beer.

The only time I mash really hot is when I am making a very small beer. Generally in that case, I am trying to trick the drinker into thinking the beer is bigger than it really is (think Milds, Bitters etc).

There is always talk about “digestability”. Does that imply a lighter-bodied beer that is easy to drink (as opposed to a heavy beer) or is it something else entirely? I have been on a crusade to lower my bicarbonate and my guess is that the bicarb has quite a few drawbacks (harsh flavors, lack of head formation and stability, etc) but it also tends to make the beer harder to drink (and digest?) after having a couple. Ah, the things we do for beer. :expressionless:

I have been using the high temp mash for about a year now. I start at 150 for 15 minutes and then go up to 160 for 45 minutes-1 hr. My beers have definitely been maltier, and I have had no problems with my beers finishing sweet.

I cut the bicarbonate by diluting with Reverse Osmosis water. I add minerals back in depending on the style I am making.

I made a nice Vienna this year by using 100% Best Vienna malt. It was really tasty, but it was not the correct color for a BJCP competition if that is important to you. I would probably add 1/4-1/2 Lb of cara-Munich in a 10 gallon batch. I have added a couple of ounces of cara-fa II in the last 10 minutes of the mash in some alt biers and it give a nice color without the roast character. I would probably mix pils and Munich and boost the gravity for an O-Fest beer. I like a lower gravity for just drinking around the house though.

I have all ingredients recommended by Ken on hand to make this beer. Plugging into BeerSmith gives me a color at the extreme low end for style (7.1 SRM). I suppose the significance of this is questionable, but I wanted to shoot for mid-range of the major style parameters for an O-fest.

Based on what I happen to have on hand, would it be objectionable to add 2 oz chocolate malt? That would bump the color up to middle of the range, at 10 SRM.

I would rather make the trip to the LHBS for a little carafa if the chocolate malt is a bad idea.

Thanks in advance.

Personally, I wouldn’t do that but that doesn’t mean you can’t. I don’t happen to care for the flavor of chocolate, roasted barley or larger doses of carafa. You could add some CaraMunich if you wanted a little extra color and you could also add a very small amount (an ounce?) of Midnight Wheat which is very dark but lends very little in the way of roasty flavor. Are you using a Munich malt that is considered “dark” or 10L? If so, you should get some decent color. A small amount of crystal malt (60, 80) is not a sin (by my standards) but is probably not necessary either. Many German Festbiers are in that 7-8 SRM range. Good luck with it.

+1, it’ll look darker in a one liter Mass!

Ok thanks. I have never used carafa before. To stay away from “larger doses of carafa”, would I be safe to just use 2-4 oz of carafa II?

2 to 4 ounces of Carafa can be enough to come through as “roasty”. It’s a funny thing because when the beer is young, the flavor from the Carafa will be more noticeable and as the beer ages and smooths out, the Carafa just becomes a part of the overall flavor of the beer. You can add Carafa if you think the flavor of Carafa is what you want in your Festbier. When I’m interested in giving a beer “color” without a lot of the roasty flavor that often comes along with it, I use either debittered black malt (my original standby) or Midnight Wheat (my new weapon of choice) which will add the color. Generally speaking, Festbiers aren’t meant to have that flavor or too much of that color.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com