I have usually used a vienna lager to grow up enough yeast for my oktoberfest lager. The 100% vienna lager is great as a stand-alone beer but was thinking about something lighter for the summer. I usually use the Wyeast oktoberfest blend. I am concerned that this may not be dry enough to do a pils and would be more appropriate for a helles. I am open to trying another yeast strain, but my primary goal is a great oktoberfest. Am I asking too much from the yeast?
I think it’s possible to eek a German pils out of the Oktoberfest yeast, especially if the yeast is fresh and you pitch plenty of it (i.e., make a nice big gallon sized starter if you don’t already have a fresh cake). If you’re concerned about dryness, mash low at like 147-148 F for 90 minutes. Also be sure to check on your water profile – if you don’t have a lot of sulfate in your water, add a bit of gypsum which will help your beer taste drier. And if all else fails, consider adding a pound of cane, beet, or corn sugar in there. That will certainly thin it and dry it out. Not sure if that’s where you’re going with this or if you’re concerned about Reinheitsgebot at all, but it could be done, and without any off-flavors.
Here’s my advice, and you may not hear any arguments for or against, because I never see anyone else recommend or even talk about this yeast, but I love it. White Labs Old Bavarian Lager. Good luck.