As I have probably mentioned elsewhere, we used to have two parties a year when we would pull out all stops with food and beer: St Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest. We would entertain anywhere from 40 – 60 adults in our house with home-made food and home-made beer. It was a family event, so there were also usually a lot of kids that came with their parents. These parties were such a hit that, though we haven’t held one for four or five years, people still ask us every year if we are having another party.
Having reached two months past St Patrick’s Day, I actually considered it a little late to start brewing for Oktoberfest. After all, isn’t the traditional Oktoberfest Märzen so-named because it was brewed in March before the weather heated up in Bavaria? And isn’t South Carolina a little bit warmer in the summers than Munich?
But keeping in mind that we may just decide to have a smaller Oktoberfest party this year, I have done what I have usually done in previous years and brewed up some beer. Just in case we decide to have the party after all.
First up was the Festbier – another recipe I converted to all-grain. This recipe includes:
- 9.5 pounds of Pilsner Malt
- 1.0 pound Cara-Pils Malt
- 1.0 pound Munich Malt (10°)
- 0.5 pounds Honey Malt
- 2.0 ounces Hallertau Hops (3.8%)
- 1.0 ounce Saaz Hops (3.0% alpha acid)
- 2 packs SafLager W34/70 Yeast
My targets, based on Brew Pal, are:
- Original Gravity: 1062
- Final Gravity: 1014
- ABV: 6.3%
- 27 IBU
- 6.0 Lovibond
This was a fairly uneventful brew day. I’m still having trouble with keeping small bits of grain coming through when I sparge, and I’m still sparging too quickly, but I was pleased with the color of my first and final runnings.
Had some pretty good cold-break when I cooled it, as well…
After about two weeks of primary fermentation, I raised performed a diacetyl rest, then popped it into the chest freezer. This cold-crashed the beer and kept it cold while also giving me space to ferment my next batch (my first all-grain Hefeweizen). This led to a bit of a logistical balancing act, because I was starting my annual Hefeweizen-Dunkelweizen-Weizenbock experiment (this time brewing all-grain!) and planned on similar process of putting succeeding Oktoberfest beer on the previous yeast.
I transferred the beer to secondary fermentation about 10 days later so I would have a place where I could put my all-grain Märzen to ferment on the day I brewed that. I was right on-target with my original gravity when I put the beer up to ferment (1.062), and finished up well below the target final gravity of 1.014 with a reading of 1.008 (1.007 when adjusted for temperature). That brings this beer in at about 7.1 percent ABV.
Filtering, kegging and carbonating will be done in the few days before our tentative Oktoberfest party date (October 3).