Oktoberfest 2013

Hödekin’s Märzen was a success. I planned to repeat that recipe. The first catch was that the brew store didn’ have Hallertau hops or any Bavarian hop in leaf form, so I went with Saaz, a mild czech hop.

I did most of this beer on my own. Christine was invaluable as always with an extra set of hands, and Charlie joined me at the boil.

Grain Bill

  • 5 pounds pilsner malt (1.8 L)
  • 3.5 pounds Vienna malt  (3-4 L)
  • 1 pound Munich malt (8-11 L)
  • 8 ounces crystal malt (60 L)


  • 2 oz Saaz 2.5% alpha (should have bought another ounce but didn’t notice the low alphas until we were at the boil) (also, several months have gone by and I’m rereading this note. I think it was only 1 oz of hops that I bought, but now after the fact, I can’t be sure. Regardless, the sample was notably absent of hops).


I started the yeast the night before in 2 pints of malt extract. I make my starter with 3 pints of water, boiled, then add 1 1/2 cups of extract, low boil again and cool. The final amount in the jug is about 2 pints and I hope is about 1.050 in gravity.

Brew Day

February 23, 2013


  • 9:00 AM- began warming 13 quarts mash water
  • 9:20- mash in; strike temp 106F; mash temp 104F (was excepting something lower)
  • 9:45- 125F hold for 30′
  • 10:35- 158F with decoction 1; hold 20 ‘
  • 10:55- raise to boil
  • 11:05- slow boil
  • 11:30- recombine with rest mash, temp- 148F, hold 30′
  • Noon- decoction 2; remove 1/4 mash to second kettle, slowly raise to boil for 15’
  • 12:30 PM- recombine with rest mash, temp-162F; hold 1 hour
  • -mash out 170F; 10 minutes


  • 10 minute recirculate
  • 40 minute sparge
  • 5-ish gallons of water treated with acid
  • 6 1/2 gallons of wort

Sparging went well. I ran out of propane trying to mash out and there was a slight delay while I finished heating sparge water on the stove. I bought more propane and was back in 10 minutes for the boil.


  • 3:30 PM- 90 minutes
  • 60 minutes hops
  • 15 minutes heat exchanger

Cold Break

  • 20 minutes

Starting Gravity = 1.062. Sample tasted great and looked right. Gravity is on the high end of the range. If it ferments out, it should make a nice fest beer.

Pitched yeast and had a good bubble before going to bed.

Secondary Ferment-

2 weeks after brewing gravity checks 1.016

March 30-

Kegged beer and transported to fridge at farm for cold summer storage.


After spending the last month fiddling with pressure and temps for the Crawfish Boil, I realized that I need to bring the CO2 tank back up here and re-pressurize the Oktoberfest keg. Dropping the temp in the fridge, drops the pressure in the keg, which is why the fest was flat last fall. I re-pressurized to 15 psi.


We drank it all at Oktoberfest. It was good, but not up to my expectations over the last several years. This is typically my best brew, but the missing Hallertau Hops really hurt.

We’ll need at least 10 gallons for next year and I would love to have another 5 for the farm.

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