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Please critique my 1st recipe attempt

As the title says, I’m dipping my toe into the deep end and trying my hand at creating a Oktoberfest style recipe. I do not have any brew software and what I have come up with so far is only from my observations on the style of beer. Please feel free to rip into or correct my mistakes. I feel with help from the experienced brewers I can avoid many newbie pitfalls and maybe get a good festbier the 1st time out. I do have a modified freezer so laggering at cool temps is no problem.

Fermentables: 3.15lbs Maillard Munich LME, 3.15lbs Maillard Pilsen LME, 1lb Briess Carapils (to steep), 1lb Weyermann Caramunich (to steep)

Hops: 1oz Hallertau pellets (60 min boil)

Yeast: Wyeast Oktoberfest lager (thinking about 1qt starter)

I thought about pitching at 50 and reducing to the upper 40’s for primary ferment, then transfer to secondary to lager in the mid 30’s for a couple of months maybe 3.

Like I said, let’s pick this apart and let me know if I’m in the right direction or if I need to add or subtract something. Thanks everyone.

I plugged your recipe into ProMash, and it fits within the parameters for an Octoberfest, but I would recommend some changes.

Between the LME, the carapils and the caramunich, that’s going to leave a lot of body, perhaps too much. You might want to replace the carapils with a pound of DME or even plain table sugar to keep the gravity in the same range but make the finished beer a bit less thick.

The hops are on the lower end of what you need to balance the malt sweetness. Consider using about 1.25 oz, especially if you keep the carapils.

A starter is not only recommended, but pretty much essential for getting a good population of lager yeast from a smack pack - but 1 qt won’t cut it. A gallon is what you should be doing. Let the starter ferment out, cold crash it to get the yeast to settle out, then decant the clear liquid before pitching. That will give you the proper cell count for a five gallon batch with an OG around 1.050.

The fermentation schedule looks OK, but you should pitch your yeast at fermentation temperature or slightly below, not above.

Rebuilt is exactly right. Follow his advice and you will make a very tasty Oktoberfest.

Thanks for the tips, I’m happy that I’m in the ballpark. I will take your advice about the carapils and the hops. I’ve never made a starter before and a 1gal starter seems a little intimidating. Can you point me in the direction of where to find a proper vessel for that and maybe a good link on starters? Is using some DME that best way to propagate a starter of that size?

I use a gal. glass jug from apple juice for my starters. You can also use a bog Mason jar or something similar. For a lager starter, I make a 3 qt. starter, let it ferment out, crash it in the fridge and decant the spent wort. Then I add 2 qt. of fresh wort, let that ferment out, crash, decant and pitch. Your pitching and fermenting temps seem good. See for starter advice and calculations.

Also, once you have that healthy yeast supply, it makes sense harvest the yeast and then plan another brew to use that same strain. Easy and cheap way to ensure a really good lager fermentation for a second beer.

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