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NB - OKTOBERFEST (Extract Kit)

Just got the NB - Oktoberfest Extract with Specialty/Grains kit yesterday and am planning to brew next weekend. Probably will get a yeast starter going on Thursday and brew Sunday morning. This will be my 1st attempt at a lager and had a few questions. I have a chest freezer with a johnson a419 controller to use as the lagering chamber for the beer. Instructions show temp range for primary between 48-58 degrees. Any recommendations from the group for how I should configure the a419 for this? 2nd question is with regard to the secondary (lagering). Directions call for slowly lowering the temperature to between 35-40 degrees. So let’s say primary was set to around 53 degrees…should I just drop the settings on the a419 down to say 37 or do I need to slowly step the temp down over a few days? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Monitor the temp of your beer, not the ferment chamber. Tape the probe to the side of your carboy/bucket and insulate with a sock. Set the differential to 3, you don’t want your fridge to be turning on/off a lot. Set it to 50F.

Do as big of a starter as you can and then chill/decant the fermented wort. You need approximately twice the amount of yeast you normally would, maybe even three times.

Cool your wort to 48F. Pitch a lot of yeast (2 vial starter in 2.5L or step up starter). Let it go for 4 weeks at 48-50F. You probably will not need a diactyl rest fermenting at those temps, but you can taste a sample after 3 weeks. If you taste butterscotch, then raise your temp to 62F for a couple days. Then slowly drop your temp (3-5 degrees a day) to 32F.

I find following that protocol you really don’t need much lagering. However, let it go at 32F for 8-12 weeks. I usually carb it after a month of lagering. I’ve had great success following this. I like my lagers much better than my ales.

Alternatively, you can use a lot of dried yeast. I would use two or even three packets of properly rehydrated dried lager yaest. Saflager 34/70 is the one you would want.

You can also pitch a packet of Saflager 34/70 along with your starter. Again, be sure to rehydrate the dried yeast.

My lager ferment cycle is 10 days at 50F, then a 3-4 day diacetyl rest at 64, then SLOWLY cold crash by just one or two degrees per hour. If you cold crash lagers too quickly, they can release gross tasting things when they go into dormant mode. Take this schedule with a grain of salt and let your beer tell you when it’s ready, but that works well for me with WLP 833 (my “house” lager yeast).

Thanks for the information. The kit came with the Saflager 34/70 but only 1 packet. I can pickup another packet or 2 this week at my local HBS.

IME you will not need a D-rest with 34/70. I’ve also never had off flavors from a quick temp crash after fermentation is complete. Grab up that other packet and pitch both into the O-fest. Pitching enough yeast is essential to keeping a lager clean.

+1 to 50*F ferment temp.
+1 to taping probe to carboy and insulating. I use an ace bandage to hold it in place and insulate.

I’m brewing this soon as well. I’m worried about yeast amounts as Mr. Malty is calling for 400b+ cells! I have 1 packet of Wyeast 2633 that came with the kit. I was going to buy another pack and make 2 starters, but could I just get a pack of dry 34/70, rehydrate and pitch along with my 2633 starter? That would make my life easier. I’ve never combined yeasts, so not sure about the ramifications.

You’re better off making a starter with the liquid. If you do one step, you’ll need a container capable of holding more than a gallon of liquid. You could step up a 2L starter with another 2L and have plenty for pitching but you’ll have to wait a week or more before you brew.

It wouldn’t be stepping up if he went from 2L to a 2L starter. It wouldn’t grow much more yeast. You’d be better off doing a 1L starter and stepping up to a 3L if possible.

It wouldn’t be stepping up if he went from 2L to a 2L starter. It wouldn’t grow much more yeast. You’d be better off doing a 1L starter and stepping up to a 3L if possible.[/quote]
Unless I’m using this website wrong the first step should yield 275B cells and the second should yield 480B using continuous aeration.

I am going to be brewing this kit soon too. I have heard that using big starters or 2-3 packs of dry yeast Is a must. Well I have 2 LHBS within 30 miles both do not carry either yeast. And one said for thier personal recipe they only use one pack. Driving me nuts…

What would 1 pack do to “mess it up”?

Not that it would mess it up but you would get better results by pitching two packs of dry. You’re likely to not get fermentation or let an infection take hold if you pitch only 1 smack pack.

Okay so I took the plunge yesterday morning(so to speak).
Brewed up this batch and pitched yeast with the temp around 65-68 degrees. Only using one dry yeast pack that was only sprinkled on top. Within 9 hours I had action in the airlock and today I have a steady bubble flow. I think it will be fine in my Ferm Refrigerator.

so ended up brewing yesterday pitching with 2 packs of the dry 34/70…been about 26 hours and carboy has a really nice head of foamy krausen on top and slowly bubbling while at a steady 50 degrees.

Great job and good luck with your lagers, fellas.

Troy, you are fermenting lower than 65, correct? It can take a full 24 hours to get temps down into the butter zone for lagers (not diacetyl butter zone). If you pitch at 65-68 it’s possible your first day of fermentation was too high. Try and get the temps lower before pitching into lager wort.

You guys are going to love those lagers. If they don’t turn out perfect, keep it up. It’s worth the experience! Be patient and make sure you get full fermentation, which can take 4 weeks.


I also plan on brewing the extract Oktoberfest this weekend. I ordered it with dry yeast. Are you
telling me I need to get another package of yeast ?

Why wouldn’t NB suggest you buy 2 if that’s what’s needed ?

You can get away with pitching 1 pack of dry but the problem is that it will take awhile to get started, assuming you cool your wort to proper pitching temp. It’s suggested you use two. You’ll notice on the instructions for NB’s recipes that they will recommend a yeast starter for higher gravity ales and lagers. Brew and learn, my friend. Next time grab two packs or if you have an LHBS, drop by and pick up another pack of dry.


I am also trying to do a Oktoberfest for the the first time. It is 2 weeks in…been fermenting at 50, the bubbling has slowed and I was about to bring up the temp to do the diactyl rest? So I should not do that? I did a 1L starter with the Wyeast oktoberfest smack pack. Should I just leave it for a couple more weeks then rack to secondary or do the diactyl rest? How do I know when to move from primary fermentation to the next step?

I am a little bit cofused.

Thanks for the help!


My Oktoberfest has been fermenting for almost 2 weeks and will probably continue to stay in fermentation chamber at 50 degrees for another 2 weeks. My plan was to then bring this up to room temp for about 48 hours for diactyl rest and then start lowering to 32 to lager for 8-10 weeks (may end up being a Novemberfest). Wondering how I should be adjusting the Johnson controller to slowly bring down the temp…should I drop by 3-4 degrees like every other day until I reach my target temperature or can I just set the controller for 32 and let this come down faster. Again my first time with both the lager and using the a419 controller so looking for any advice you may have. Thanks.

Crash it…Just be sure fermentation is complete.

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