Hödekin’s Märzen, überarbeitet

Hödekin’s Märzen, überarbeitet- Little-hat’s March-beer, reworked

20 gallons

With the 2020 Oktoberfest in the books, it’s time to brew for the Crawfish Boil…

That’s how this post started. There was gonna be a brew party for the Boil. There was gonna be a Boil. Then Corona Virus (COVID ’19) hit. And now the parties are over. If the zombie apocalypse is short, we’ll have some lager to have a party with. And if it’s long, I’ll have some beer for Bartertown.

Here are some pre-Corona Virus notes:

Normally, I would shy away from another lager this late in the season, but Dickie’s success with his Pilsners make me think I can fit in a Märzen before the season ends.

The original Hödekin’s Märzen heavily influenced my Oktoberfest, which in turn has standardized my grain bill for these style beers. I’ve deleted any crystal malt from my German lager styles and replaced it with wheat. I’ve bumped the Vienna a touch in this recipe.

Same hallertau hops. I even think I’ll stay with the Wyeast Oktoberfest yeast blend because I haven’t found any other lager strains I’m impressed with. I may go right on top of the O’Fest yeast bed as I rack to a later secondary.

This will be a Bauhaus style mash in. I’ll keep it simple with a 1 hour 150F mash temp, and bump it with boiling water. No decoction. That’ll make for an easier brew day and and a lighter beer. I’m thinking lighter on this one, more like a Vienna, good for the crawfish boil and summer drinking (and bartering with).

Grain Bill- 37# total, similar ratios to my original Hödekin’s and what the Oktoberfest has evolved into.

  • 16# Pilsner malt- DE
  • 14# Vienna malt- DE
  • 4# Munich malt- DE
  • 3# Wheat malt- DE

Hops- 7 oz Hallertau Mittlefruh 3.8% Alpha 60′. I could go up or down an ounce and still stay in style guide.

Yeast- Wyeast Oktoberfest 2633. The wort goes on top of the used Oktoberfest yeast bed and a layer of thick beer, nearly 3 gallons..

Liquor- 30g St. Louis Co tap, treated w/ 1.5 Camden tablet and a splash of acid

Calculated Stats-

  • OG =1.052
  • FG = 1.013
  • ABV = 5.11%
  • IBU = 25
  • SRM 4.85

Brew Day Plan-

  • Strike temp = 163F 12g
  • Mash temp= 150F 1 hour
  • Bump w/ 6g boiling and hold 10-30′
  • Sparge w/ 10g
  • 1 hour boil w/ 7 oz Mittlefrüh
  • 15′ left add Irish moss
  • Starting Gravity = 1.050+

Brew Day- Sunday, March 22. Due to COVID ’19, I will brew with family, which now consists of Christine, Emma, and Ginger, the new brew dog.

Brew day went well. Hit my numbers and the sample was good. Gravity was 1.050. It was a quiet day brewing by myself. Replaced the ball valve in the kettle but smooth day otherwise.

Fermentation-

No bubble in the airlock to speak of, but a nice Kreuzen has developed on top of the beer 24 hours after pitching yeast.

Two weeks after brewing I racked to secondary. Gravity at 1.010 or less, very dry. Sample was good, with a little lager funk. I’m guessing the lack of bubble in the airlock was due to a poor seal on the Speidel fermenter; that thing is difficult to get in place.

Packaging-

Gravity = 1.008. Sample is crystal clear. It looks dark in the fermenter, brown, but it turns gold with light shining through it. Flavor is great, with a caramel sweetness I wasn’t expecting in this dry of a beer. No lager funk to speak of. Three 5g kegs that I will lager for another month in the fridge, and 5g of bottles.

ABV 5.5%

Over-pitched yeast?-

I started handing out bottles of this and the German Wheat Ale on Memorial Day Weekend. I tasted bottles of each prior to releasing. The Wheat is delicious, but this beer is a disappointment. There’s something wrong the body or mouthfeel. For lack of a better word, it tastes dried out. Perhaps all that yeast from the Oktoberfest tore through the sugars and left this beer lacking? It isn’t a terrible beer but it isn’t the stellar beer I was looking for. I hope the kegs are better. Perhaps a longer cold lager will help correct the off flavor or body issue I’m getting, but I doubt it.

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