Two bears Märzen (East branch)


A beer of duality on a day of duality. Brew day alternated between periods of pleasant sun and whiteout snow squalls (usually timed when i had to go outside to heat the mash). An appropriate day for brewing the traditional beer of the spring threshold that is consumed on the threshold of winter.

I am looking forward to this one. Last year, I found that all of the so-called Octoberfests that I tried were way too sweet. I could not find one that I thought was a good example of the style as I see it. I try to brew mine in the traditional Vienna style, malty and amber and a little higher octane than a standard lager, but still on the dry side.

4 March, 2012 – Ash moon 12

Grain Bill

  • 10 pounds Weyerman pilsner malt
  • 1/2 pound cara hell (10 L)
  • 1/2 pound cara Bohemian (75-80 L)
  • 1/2 pound caramel malt (150 L)

Hop Bill

  • 1 ounce Hallertau pellets (4.3% alpha)  minutes
  • 1 ounce Saaz pellets (4.9%)


  • White labs German Lager yeast

Mash Schedule-

Grains were in the back of the Jeep overnight, and cold, so I shot high on the strike temp. It was a little over, so I gave the protein rest a bit longer after it hit the right range.

    • 16 quarts Adirondack spring water
    • Mash in: Strike temp = 140 F
    • Protein rest: Started at 129 F; hold 45‘; end temp about 124F
    • Decoction 1: Remove about 30% of mash into second kettle
      • Raise second kettle to 158 F; hold saccharification for 20’
      • Keep rest mash 122 F
      • Bring second kettle to boil; boil 15’
    • Beta amylase rest: Recombine with rest mash; raise temp to 148 F & hold for 30’
    • Decoction 2: Remove 1/3 mash into second kettle, slowly raise to boil for 15’
    • Alpha amylase Rest: Recombine with rest mash; raise temp to 158F; hold for 1 hour
    • Mash out: Raise to 170 F


  • 5 gallons (4 Adirondack Spring, 1 filtered well water)
  • Sparged indoors with water at 170F
  • I treated my sparge arm with CLR earlier in the day to try to open some of the holes. Last batch, it would not even spin because it was clogged. Spun like a Tasmanian Devil today
  • Had a close shave with minor catastrophe when the hose on the upper sparge bucket, the one filled with boiling water, started to pull out (never a good thing to pull out too soon). I grabbed it just in time. The end was already halfway out and spurting water, but because it was so hot and soft, I was able to push it back into the hole and deeper into the bucket. If it pulled out all the way, that would have been quite a scene.


  • Gravity before boil 1.042
  • 1.5 hr boil.
  • Hallertau added for 01:15
  • Saaz added for 00:15

O.G. for fermentation:  1.065 Right about where I wanted it for a festbier

18:00, the wort is cooling, most of the equipment cleaned, and a carboy sanitized and ready to go. Yeast starter is bubbling and eager.

20:00 Beer is in the carboy. Low on volume. I assume this is due to the water boiling off during the decoctions. But the color is lovely and gravity is where I want it. Now, the yeasties can go to work.

2 thoughts on “Two bears Märzen (East branch)

  1. Racked on 3/31/2012:
    s.g. 1.013
    Just below the target of 1.014 – 1.016 for the style according to the Fix Marzen book. Color is a lovely red, slightly darker than the picture on the cover of the book, which is what I wanted. Tastes nice and malty. Looking forward to the leaves changing.

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