Home brewing in Connecticut Discussions - CT Beer Trail

Friday, August 8, 2008

Oktoberfest inspired ale homebrew?

Tomorrow afternoon, Kenn, Dave and I will brew up an Oktoberfest inspired ale... We took an Oktoberfest recipe from the web, and then switched out the yeast to make it an Ale. I don't have the setup to make Lagers at the moment, so I hope this comes out OK... Either way, it should be fun, and I'll consider it a homebrewing learning experience.


.25 lbs. German Light Munich info
.15 lbs. Crystal Malt 90°L info
.35 lbs. German Vienna info
.25 lbs. CaraMalt info
8 lbs. Liquid Light Extract info
1 oz. Mt. Hood (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 60 min. info
1 oz. Saaz (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 20 min. info
1 tablespoons Irish moss (not included in calculations)

We are substituting White Labs WLP820 (Octoberfest/Märzen) with White Labs WLP003 (German Ale II)... Thoughts?

Thanks to Kenn for footing the bill and gathering the ingredients, in honor of my son's birth...

What do you think of faux Oktoberfests, or Lager inspired Ales in general? I'd love to read your thoughts, so please leave a comment.

More details on brew day coming tomorrow... And we'll be sampling and reviewing Spaten Oktoberfest while we brew, so stay tuned!

UPDATE! Based on some reading and some advice from the beer philosopher, I think the key here will be to do my best to keep the fermentation temp as low as possible within this particular yeast range to control the esters (fruity flavors) in the beer.

Description: This is the fruity character found in some ales. Certain yeasts will throw more esters than others. Acceptable in most ales, not acceptable in clean lagers. That banana aroma/flavor you get from a hefeweizen? That's an example of ester(s).

Cause: Higher fermentation temperature will usually produce more esters, as will certain yeast strains. Poor aeration of wort before pitching can also jack up the esters in your brew.

Remedy: Make sure to ferment your beer at the correct temperature according to style and yeast strain. Do your research on whatever yeast strain you are using. Make sure to aerate wort thoroughly before pitching yeast.

The wort is in the primary, moved to the home office, basement not cool enough... Swiped the AC from the baby's room to control temp. Relax, he still sleeps in our room! More to follow...


  1. Sounds Intriguing. Let me know if it works, I've been wanting an Oktoberfest, but also lack Lagering abilities.

    I haven't tried the Spaten, but only because the Paulaner Salvatore Octoberfest Marzen is so spectacular!

  2. Never tried the Paulaner Salvatore Oktoberfest, and I must admit, the Spaten was purchased because it was the only Marzen available at my local package store this week. It rates pretty poorly on Beer Advocate...

    Stay tuned and I'll let you know how it goes! (Both with the brewing and the sampling...)

  3. I like the idea, Bryon. If you think about it, the Marzen/Oktoberfest style lends itself to an "ale conversion" fairly well, being one of the more "ale-like" lager styles in terms of flavor profile and body. Will probably be something near an amber ale and if you can control the esthers a bit, you should have a pretty clean, Marzen-like ale I think. Definitely let us know how it turns out! I am a fan of the most lager-ish of ales - a kolsch, so this should be a nice experiment too. Heck, perhaps even a Kolsch yeast might help control the fruitiness you don't want in this beer. Food (or drink) for thought. Cheers!

  4. Well thanks for the confidence building comment and the advice...

    Too late on the yeast since my buddy Kenn already went shopping...

    I guess the key will be to keep the fermentation temp to the lower end of the spectrum for this particular yeast. I wish I had an extra air conditioner somewhere...

  5. The recipe looks good. Do you think you can cold-condition it once it is done fermenting?

  6. I was thinking of using a secondary on this batch, never did with any before this though. How cold would I need to keep it to "cold condition"?

  7. I live 30 miles NE of San Diego in the summer in the summer usually in mid 90's I run 2 fans on my fermenting beer.I have 2 pane windows and lots of trees and Spanish Tile roof so room stays mid 70's Ale no problem but Lager impossible

  8. Anon... You need a chiller for your carboy...

  9. I thought it was a great recipe. I wondered too how you kept it cold?

  10. Thanks Jennifer... If beerkits4homebrewing.com would like to provide me with a kit or two, I would be happy to try them and write reviews...


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