Oktoberfest recipe--Inspired by Sierra Nevada

Looking to put together a clone for a pale malty festbier.

I really like what Sierra Nevada put together for their American customers this year, it really breaks with the viscous, caramalized and sweet examples we’re used to (Sam Adams comes to mind…)

I had the Paulaner Weisn years ago, and have read some articles on real Oktoberfest being basically a suped-up Helles, yet the recipe’s aren’t really there with specifics on SRM, FG, Mash Schedule, etc. to pull something like this off. (well, with the exception of this article: http://beerandbrewing.com/VJmmmSsAACgA3 … rfest-beer)

So, I figured going with Best Malz Pilsner at about 75%, with Weyermann Munich (5-7L) at 25% bringing the color up a bit. Maybe a little melanoidin too?

Two-Step mash perhaps? (only because decoctions are a lot of work) – And Hallertau at 60, 15, and 0 for 30-35 IBUs.

Any other ideas?

Check out the 2015 buck guidelines. There’s a new section for festbier.


Looks like Loopie was a victim of spellcheck – “buck” should read “BJCP”. Here’s the link:


He’s right – you’ll want to decide whether you want the newer “souped up helles” version which is 4B Festbier, or whether you want the hundreds of years old 6A Marzen Oktoberfest style. They are in fact completely different styles but you’ll see both styles tossed around and referred to as “Oktoberfest”. Trouble is, they both really are beers served at Oktoberfests, but one is new and the other is the old way. What most Americans think of as “Oktoberfest” beer is the amber 6A Marzen version. The Germans think more of the fizzy yellow 4B Festbier.

All that being said, I do have suggestions that will apply to either version:

  1. Single infusion, 148 F for 90 minutes. Done. No need to dork around with step mashing or decoctions – the key thing is…

  2. Use real German ingredients if you want this to taste like real German beer. But I’m sure you knew that already.

  3. Only use hops at 60 minutes. Any later hops is just a waste, and not to style IMHO, and may contribute undesirable grassy flavors.

  4. Pitch a buttload of yeast. Make at least 3 quarts yeast starter for 5 gallons several days in advance. Wyeast 2206 is the best German lager yeast in the universe. However 2308 will also work in a pinch.

  5. Pitch cold, mid to upper 40s, and keep it there at least for the first ~3 days. After that, you can slowly bring temperature up to keep fermentation moving. But a nice long conditioning for about a month will be helpful.

  6. If making a 6A Marzen, this beer will age well. It will taste great young, but will taste even better ~6 months later. The 4B Festbier wouldn’t need so much age.

Here check this out: http://lmgtfy.com

Just jokin’. Dave is correct that spell check got the better of me! He also provides very good insight. I do perform a hochkurz mash schedule but avoid the decotion. I find this provides me with a very fermentable wort and body. YMMV.

Could be a combo of munich, Vienna and pils malt, I believe traditionally would be Munich and pils. Not much if any late hops. I have only made one and prob not traditional…mix of light and dark Munich, hallertau at 60 for 25 IBU and I used 34/70. I did lager for 10 weeks. Very smooth and I thought representative of the style.

From Sierra Nevada’s Website:

Alcohol Content 6.0% by volume
Beginning gravity 14.6° plato
Ending Gravity 3.5° plato
Bitterness Units 30

Yeast Lager yeast
Bittering Hops German Magnum
Finishing Hops German Select, Tettnanger, Spalter
Malts Two-row Pale, Steffi, Pilsner, Munich

I love 2206 and agree with Dave it’s a great yeast. I use it for almost all my lagers with the exception of oktoberfest in which I use 2633 and they turn out great.

Recipe below. I lagered the last one for 6 months and it was sooo gooood. All due respect to Dave but there were no grassy flavors from the late addition. I like a little carafa special in there for color and on the last batch just added it to the mash for the last 10 minutes or so.

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs 4.0 oz Munich Malt - 20L (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 Vienna 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 -