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True Brew Oktoberfest Kit Help

When I received my MB kit for Christmas my mother in law also purchased the True Brew Oktoberfest Kit as well. I’ve hung on this in hopes of having it ready for the proper season. Now that I’m in the ballpark of prepping an Oktoberfest, I am looking for a little help on their recipe and on any possible additions. The kit includes:

Amber UME - 1 Can
Light DME - 2 lbs.
Melanoidin Grain - 8 oz.
“Hop” Pellets - 2 oz.
Ale Yeast

OG: 1.041
FG: 1.011
IBU: 6.0

First, any idea what type of “hops” they use for this kit? It’s unspecific which has me a little concerned. Secondly, has anyone made this kit that could recommend improvements? Or does anyone just have a recommendation to add to this? I’m assuming some sort of Noble Hops would be beneficial. I’m a little hesitant to add hops without more knowledge of what the hops are that they include in the kit. I also notice the IBU as 6.0 which I’m assuming is a typo. I would think this would be at least 16.0. Finally, 3.93% Alcohol is a little on the low side, would adding more light DME be advisable?

Thanks in advance!

No idea what hops they might have used. How much (#) is in the can of amber?

3.93% is a little light for the style per BJCP (4.8-5.7% ABV). Also, I don’t think melanoidin malt is all that different from vienna/munich, but the percentage seems a little light. You may want to consider increasing the steeping grains or including some munich. Not sure if you need to do a minimash with those or if they will convert. I would agree on getting yourself some decent hallertauer/mittelfruh to replace the generic ‘hops’ that have been sitting in a box since before xmas as well.

To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what the weight is on the UME. So in reality, should I look at adding more light DME to help increase the ABV%? Should I scrap the generic hops all together and replace them with Halletaur or just add to the generic hops? I’m not all that familiar with an Oktoberfest so I appreciate the help. I can look at adding to the steeping grains, that’ll be easy.

I thought that was a type-o…what is “UME”? DME?

Google up Jamil’s Oktoberfest and look at percentages. There should be an extract recipe out there readily available. That will give you an idea of where you should be getting your fermentables from. My SWAG is 40% pilsner (light L/DME), 50-55% munich (“Amber” L/DME), 5-10% crystal 40-60*L. Also check Ken Lenard’s page (link on his signature/profile) on this forum. My understanding is that his Fest recipe is pretty rad.

Yes, I would throw the generic hops in the garbage. Or open them and save for a year for lambics :cheers:

Almost any mostly extract beer can be improved by adding some base grain to the grains being steeped. (Although you would need to “steep” them in the temperature range and liquor-to-grist ratio used by all-grain brewers, making the “steep” a small partial mash.) Adding 1-2 pounds of Vienna or Munich malt would add the aroma of Vienna or Munich malt to your beer, which would be appropriate for an Octoberfest, and also help get the specific gravity into a reasonable range.

http://beerandwinejournal.com/add-base- ... act-beers/

Chris Colby
Editor

I thought that was a type-o…what is “UME”? DME?

Google up Jamil’s Oktoberfest and look at percentages. There should be an extract recipe out there readily available. That will give you an idea of where you should be getting your fermentables from. My SWAG is 40% pilsner (light L/DME), 50-55% munich (“Amber” L/DME), 5-10% crystal 40-60*L. Also check Ken Lenard’s page (link on his signature/profile) on this forum. My understanding is that his Fest recipe is pretty rad.

Yes, I would throw the generic hops in the garbage. Or open them and save for a year for lambics :cheers: [/quote]

DME - Dried Malt Extract
UME - Unhopped Malt Extract

I should’ve referred to it as Unhopped LME to be exact.

Thanks for the info, I’ll toss the hops and replace them with something fresh. I’ve steeped grains but never mashed anything. I’m a little hesitant to t ry the Munich or Crystal but I’ve read its nothing much more than a controlled steep. Am I correct?

I checked out some of the Oktoberfest Recipes online and have looked at tweaking what I already have and adding in fresh hops plus Crystal 60L. Again, I’m a new extract homebrewer so I have not mashed before. Please let me know your thoughts on this updated recipe and any help with the mashing:

3 lbs. Munich Light DME
2 lbs. Light DME
1 lb. Carmal/Crystal Malt 60L
.8 oz of Melanoidin
1.5 oz Hallartauer Hops 4.8% @ 60 min.
.5 oz Hallartauer Hops 4.8% @ 20 min.

Basically I ditched the 1 can of UME and Generic Hops, while adding 3 lbs. of Munich, adding 1 lbs of Pislner DME, and updating the Hops. According to QBrew, that puts me at 4.9% ABV which is a nice range.

In regards to the grain, can I just steep the grains in 1.5 gallons at 160 for 30 min.? Can it be that simple or is it more complex? I can then boil the DME and Hops.

Personally I think the hops will be fine. You don’t need a lot of hop character in a festbier anyway, just enough bitterness for balance.

The can is most likely 3.3lb of what we refer to as LME, liquid malt extract.

I agree that the ABV is a little light for a festbier, I’d add a pound of sugar. Thatd bring the 5gal batch up to 1.050 and about 5% ABV. It will also help the beer to finish a little more dry, which can be a problem with extract brews.

I wouldn’t increase the melanoidin, it has a distinctive flavor and is pretty powerful. Its meant to simulate the effect of traditional German decoction mashing where you boil part of your grist to bring mash temps up.

I’d ferment pretty cool at first and bring it someplace a little warmer towards the end of active fermentation so you get the best attenuation possible.

You’d better get busy too, Ofest starts in mid-September and this style benefits from some aging.

It’s interesting to hear the options that others give. Either way I go I’ll be taking on something that I’ve never done in homebrewing. I have yet to steep Crystal or add sugar to a homebrew.

Is everyone in conscensus that I’m at least good on using the grains and LME that came in the kit? I simply need to consider switching out the hops and adding something to boost the ABV%?

Found this;
Kit Contains:
1 can Unhopped Amber Malt Extract
2- 1 lb. bags Muntons Unhopped Light Dry Malt
1 bag Bottle Caps
1 Muslin bag for Steeping Grain
1 bag Priming Sugar
1 packet Muntons Ale Yeast
1 oz.Liberty Hop Pellets (difference in amount of hops than OPs)
1- .5 lb.(8 oz.) Weyermann® Melanoiden Grain

http://www.beerandwinebrewing.com/true- ... dient-kit/

Some reviews which may help;

http://www.amazon.com/True-Brew-Oktober ... B003SSFG7I

Also that packet of yeast must be more than a little stressed sitting at room temp. Oktoberfest beer is really a Lager but since the kit went with an ale yeast try to get to you LHBS and pick up a packet of US-05 and keep it cold till you use it. And best of luck.

The Truebrew Oktoberfest kit was my very 1st brew back about a year and half ago. Followed the recipe exactly. It was pretty good, especially for a 1st attempt. Couple months later I tweaked it by adding 1lb. Munich malt( by then I was doing partial mashes) And really, if you have been steeping crystal grains, you can partial mash, just pay attention to your temperature(try 150* for an hour). I also switched out the Liberty hops that the kit came with with Hallertau Hersbruker. Plus, instead of the generic Munton’s yeast that the kit comes with, I used S-23 lager yeast, fermented cold, and lagered it for a month when fermentation was done. This turned out really great. Last winter I did an allgrain Oktoberfest with all Munich and Vienna malts, Spalt and Hersbruker hops, and Wyeast Oktoberfest blend yeast. This took awhile to meld, but is wonderful now. I may submit it to a competition for evaluation. Although I’m not sure I want to part with even two bottles.
So, long story shortened- go ahead and tweak the kit. Adding Munich either malt or DME/LME is a more authentic addition, and using german hops is also great. Lager if you have the ability to do things cold(and have lots of patience), but if not, try a german ale yeast or even US-05 would be OK. Just stay away from any yeast that tends to give you fruity flavors( not a place to use up a Belgian yeast, and IMO not an English yeast either).
I think that experimentation with a recipe is one of the most fun parts of this hobby, so HAVE FUN!

Yes I’m sure the components of the kit are fine to use. I do agree with the idea of finding yourself a packet of US05 for a drier finish and clean flavor.

[quote=“James Rausch”]The Truebrew Oktoberfest kit was my very 1st brew back about a year and half ago. Followed the recipe exactly. It was pretty good, especially for a 1st attempt. Couple months later I tweaked it by adding 1lb. Munich malt( by then I was doing partial mashes) And really, if you have been steeping crystal grains, you can partial mash, just pay attention to your temperature(try 150* for an hour). I also switched out the Liberty hops that the kit came with with Hallertau Hersbruker. Plus, instead of the generic Munton’s yeast that the kit comes with, I used S-23 lager yeast, fermented cold, and lagered it for a month when fermentation was done. This turned out really great. Last winter I did an allgrain Oktoberfest with all Munich and Vienna malts, Spalt and Hersbruker hops, and Wyeast Oktoberfest blend yeast. This took awhile to meld, but is wonderful now. I may submit it to a competition for evaluation. Although I’m not sure I want to part with even two bottles.
So, long story shortened- go ahead and tweak the kit. Adding Munich either malt or DME/LME is a more authentic addition, and using german hops is also great. Lager if you have the ability to do things cold(and have lots of patience), but if not, try a german ale yeast or even US-05 would be OK. Just stay away from any yeast that tends to give you fruity flavors( not a place to use up a Belgian yeast, and IMO not an English yeast either).
I think that experimentation with a recipe is one of the most fun parts of this hobby, so HAVE FUN![/quote]

Last night I confirmed that the hops included are actually 2 oz. of Liberty Hops Pellets. They are still sealed in their original packaging but were stored at room temps. I’m not sure if they’ll still hold up or should be replaced.

I was recommended recently to add Caramunich Malt, and now Munich Malt, but I have never done a mash before. I could easily add Munich DME as you mentioned. In reality, if I add 1 lb. of Munich Malt do I essentially just steep the grains at 150 for a specific period of time? I’m assuming I can steep the other grains at the same time. Then proceed with my boil as normal?

Where I stand currently I know that I need to replace the yeast as it has sat for an extended period of time. I’m thinking US-05 as I’m not able to lager. It’s an ale yeast but should be clean. If the hops are still viable, I’ll use them. If everyone feels that sitting for 6+ months at room temp is too long, I can replace them with some fresh Hallertauer. I’m still needing to pick a nice malt addition that will bump my ABV a little without costing me overall in the beer.

My current kit updated includes:

3.3 lbs Muntons Amber LME
2 lbs. Muntons Light DME
8 oz. Melanoidin Malt
2 oz. Liberty Hops 5.2%AA
US-05 Ale Yeast

Thanks for all of the insight. Last night I completed this Oktoberfest which was my first ever full 5 gallon batch. I tweaked the grains, replaced the hops, and went with US-05 Ale Yeast. I simply don’t have the ability to lager at this time. Here was the recipe I went with:

Recipe Name: Oktoberfest
Recipe Volume: 5 Gallons

Malts:
Amber Light LME 3.3 lbs.
Light DME 2 lbs.
Melanoidin Malt .8 oz
Caramunich 1 lb.
Hops:
Hallartauer 1.5 oz @ 60 min. 4.4%AA
Hallartauer .5 oz @ 20 min. 4.4%AA

US-05 Yeast
Original Gravity: 1.048

I predict you’re really going to like this batch!
Now do your best to keep the fermenting temps in the low 60s, at least for the 1st 2-3 days.
Let us know how it turns out.

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