Prepping for Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is traditionally celebrated in September in Germany but we Americans love to do it in..well…October. Maybe just because it makes more sense. My family usually gets together sometime in October to celebrate with german cuisine, german wine and german beer. We are of Swiss descent (which is pretty close to german), our last name is Grob, my father was stationed in Germany during the Vietnam war and he also has some rad, authentic, ceramic german beer steins. So when you add all of those little facts together, it is our duty to celebrate, no? However this is the first year that I’ll be making a beer, actually two, for the occasion. This past Friday, I brewed up a mock marzen and next Friday it will be a hefeweizen. I brewed Solaris Hefeweizen last year and it was spot on, though I brewed it a little too late for Oktoberfest. The marzen, also known as Oktoberfest beer, is by nature a lager. But I’m not equipped to make lagers, so I’m taking a marzen recipe and using a german ale yeast and fermenting at ale temps.

Grobtoberfest (5 gallon BIAB)
Target OG: 1.054 (based on 60% efficiency)
Target IBU: 26.3
Target SRM (color): 13.59
Target ABV: 5.42%

43.4% Munich II (10L)
43.4% Vienna
8.5% Caramalt (originally was going use Dark Munich but had to substitute)
4.7% Caramunich II

Hallertau Mittelfrau, AA 2.7% (1.3oz @ 60min, 1.3oz @ 15min, 1.4oz @ 10min)

Yeast: Wyeast German Ale 1007 (no starter, pitch per instructions)

Strike Water: 5.2 gallons @ 161F
Mash: 152F for 75 min (stirred mash every 20 min)
Strike water/grain ratio: 1.61
Sparge: 2.1 gallons @ 170F
Boil: 60 min

Brew day was a smooth as could be. I usually ferment my ales at about 68F by using a one gallon frozen water bottle next to my fermentor and switching it out twice a day. I’m going to try to push the temp down a little bit more by using 2 bottles. This will ferment for two weeks and then go into the bottles.

The ingredients, adhering to the Reinheitsgebot

The Mash

The Wort (looks dark here, but it’s really an amber color)

The Boil

I’m hoping the end result will be a malt forward, bready, biscuity beer with a touch of that noble hop character.  By the way, I picked up some of this year’s Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest lager and it is pretty solid.  I highly recommend it.


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