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Home Brew Beer Recipes
 
Beer Brew 1 - Hubert's Belgium Trippel
  Beer Brew 2 - Straw Dog Kolsch

  Beer Brew 3 - Blow My Windmill Pilsner
  Beer Brew 4 - What to Wheat for Dinner
  Beer Brew 5 - Let the Oktoberfestivities Begin
  Beer Brew 6 - Belgian Battleground Ale
  Beer Brew 7 - Pablo's Kolsch
  Beer Brew 8 - Belgian Golden Ale
  Beer Brew 9 - Ichabod's Cranium Pumpkin Beer
  Beer Brew 10 - Appalachian Pale Ale (OAPA)
  Beer Brew 11 - Appalachian Pale Ale 2 (OAPA)
  Beer Brew 12 - It's Good to be American Pale Ale

About Oktoberfest Home Brew Beer

Just in case you didn't know, Octoberfest (Oktoberfest) is a German celebration/fair held each year to mark the anniversary of the marriage of (future King) Crown Prince of Bavaria  Ludwig I and Princess Therese of Bavaria on October 12,1810.  The people of Munich, where the event took place, were invited to a huge celebration that day, and have continued to do so each year since.  Called "October" fest, since the event took place during late September into the first weekend in October.  It actually occurs mostly in September so as to take advantage of better weather.  The huge party (I've been to several and they are fun, fun, fun!) lasts for 16 or 17 days, depending if the 3rd of October falls on a Monday (German Unity Day).  Millions turn out for the event each year from around the world.  If you get a chance to go, make sure you visit the Hofbrau Haus in Munich.  For some reason, the beer never stops flowing there!

Generally speaking, an Oktoberfest style of beer is a strong pale lager originating in Bavaria, Germany.  It is about 5.8% alcohol by volume.  Traditionally, this beer was brewed in March and allowed to ferment slowly through the summer months.  Remember, mechanical refrigeration hadn't been invented yet.  So dark, cool locations were required to keep the beer from going sour.  Of course, Bavaria, with its high elevations, made keeping fermenting beers cool simpler for breweries.

Oktoberfest is a registered trademark of the Club of Munich Brewers, and as such, only certain breweries are permitted by German law to brew original Octoberfest beer, including Augustiner-Bräu, Spaten, Hofbräu-München, Löwenbräu, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr.  And, during the Oktoberfest in Munich, only these beers (which are brewed within the city) are allowed to be sold during the fest.

Known as "Marzen" bier (Märzenbier, Oktoberfestbier, Festbier, and Wiener Märzen), it comes from the Bavarian brewing law of 1539 (Germans have always been the pioneers of quality in brewing laws!)  That law states the this beer can be brewed only between the dates of September 29 and April 23.  Meaning... now beer was NOT to be brewed during the five months of spring - summer.  As such, by summer the last batches from the coolest of cellars, caves, or under blocks of ice were all but consumed.  What was left over was the higher abv or strongly-hopped beer that could last through summer... what is now called Oktoberfestbier.

Photo: Fuzzybrew.com

Hops Used

Bittering - Hops.

Flavoring - Hops.

Food for this Home Brew

Enjoy Oktoberfestbier with any German cuisine, but especially bratwurst and brotchen!

Technical Stuff

 

Headed to Munich for Oktoberfest?  Take this map with you!

Eathing and Drinking

Brezn(n)
Bavarian pretzel. Strand of dough artistically wound to form a lye bread. On the Wiesn, the enormous, over-sized pretzel is preferred.

Obazda
A Bavarian cheese delicacy with Camembert, onions, paprika, caraway seeds, butter and sometimes even beer; available in various beer tents at the Oktoberfest.

A hoibads Hendl bitte.
I’d like half a chicken please.

Oans, Zwoa, Gsuffa.
One, two, down the hatch. (The toast used on the Wiesn.)

Semmegnedl
A bread dumpling made with salt, eggs and parsley

Lewakaas
Leberkäse (meat loaf)

Brotzeit
Similar to a ploughmans; basically a snack consisting of bread, cold cuts of meat and cheese eaten throughout the day. Important components of a Brotzeit are Brezn, Obazda, Radi and Leberkäse (meat loaf).

Oa Bia
A litre of beer

Semmel
Bread roll

Schmanggal
Any speciality

Flirting

Pretty girls and tight lederhosen as far as the eye can see, all these visual attractions soon bring on a case of flirting fever. A happy person is therefore
one who knows how to gather kisses and telephone numbers instead of Watschn (a clip around the ear). Obandln or flirting is a natural part of the Wiesn.

obandeln
Flirting

Fesch bist’
You’re pretty

Scheene Aug’n host
You have beautiful eyes

A fesches Madl
A beautiful girl

Host du vui Hoiz vor da Hüttn
You’ve got a nice pair

Is da no frei
Is this seat free?

Dirndl
A girl or a type of traditional dress

Busserl
Kiss

blinsln
To wink

Bua
Guy

Gaudi
Fun

I mog di
I love you


Other Words and Phrases

Wos host g'sogt?
What did you say?

Obacht!
Watch it!

Waiwalaid
Women

Mingga
Munich

Ja mei ...
Oh well ...

Bsuffa
Drunk

Drehwuarm
Dizziness

Pfiad Eana
Bye, see you later

olle zwoa
Both

Schädlwä
Headache

Oba, zoin
Waiter, we’d like to pay, please.

Biagriagl
Beer mug

I bin ogschdocha
I’m drunk

So a schmarrn
That’s not true

The Secret Dress Code

The dirndl bow code

A bow tied on the left hand side:
She’s still available. In this case flirting is still allowed or even desired!

A bow tied on the right hand side:
Hands off! Or think twice about it. Unfortunately, she’s already taken.

A bow tied at the back:
She is either a Wiesn waitress, or a widow.

A bow tied in the middle:
She’s still a virgin.

Styles of Beer
Many have said the taste of beer must be "acquired".  That may be true.  Although factors such as the brewing process and various spices, fruits, etc. play a role, the taste of beer chiefly comes from the malt and water used, esters (or lack of) from the yeast, and the hops.  And, it's the hops that people are inherently tasting when we say beer is an acquired taste... more

Choosing the Right Beer Glass

Home Brew Websites

Find a Beer Brewery

Home Brew How To: Brewing Beer

Discover the wonderful world of home brew.  If you've ever wanted to brew at home, but didn't know how to get started, this website serves to provide information on how to make home brew beer and the home brew process.  Get recipes for home brew beer, and step-by-step instructions on how to home brew beer.  No detail has been left out. 

Every new home brewer is going to need a basic set of brew equipment.  Read about all the home brew supplies available and typically used within the hobby.  Get information about home brew kits - one of the first purchases you'll make.  Find your local home brew stores and shops

You'll find that most beginners use bottles for their home brewed beer.  But, as you advance your knowledge and experience in brewing beer at home, you'll likely want to move away from bottling to kegging your beer.  Learn about the various home brew kegs and kegging systems.

Get answers about the home brew system, the best home brew kits, all the different pieces of home brew gear, and even where to obtain beer labels for your bottles!

Our Favorite Brew Supply Store
If you live in Western North Carolina, we highly recommend you visit the guys over at Asheville Brewers Supply!

 

 
Our Favorite Commercial Beers
Chimay Trappistes
Any of the Belgian Monk beers brewed within the walls of the Trappist Monastery and controlled by the International Trappist Association.  World renowned beers that are considered by us among the finest brews.

RJ Rockers
Great beer, brewed in a fashion familiar to any of us who have served with the Army/Air Force in Germany during the Cold War.  Love the new Pint Glass they sent me recently.  Ummmmmm!

BrandBrand Bier - The Brand Beer from The Netherlands.
While stationed in The Netherlands, this was the more popular beer, after Heineken.  In our opinion, it is a far better brew than the big "H" beer!  Unfortunately, Brand beer is not available in the United States.

 
 

 

 

Beer Brew 5 - Let the Oktoberfestivities Begin

Ingredients for this Oktoberfest Home Brew

Ingredients we used for our German Oktoberfest (Octoberfest) Home Brew Beer!

1. Briess/Northwestern Pilsner Light Dry Malt Extract – 6 Pounds
2. Crushed Grain, Octoberfest Blend (.2 German Pilsner Malt + .2 Crystal Malt, .5 Munich 40, .1 Chocolate Malt) – 1 Pound
3. Perle Pellet Hops – 1 Ounce, Alpha Acid of 7.8%
4. Tettnang Hops – 1 Ounce, Alpha Acid of 3.7%
5. White Labs German Oktoberfest Lager Yeast - 1 Vial
6. Corn Sugar - 1/2 cup


July 24, 2012 - Note: This is a Lager - meaning bottom fermentation required - and needs low fermentation temperatures... preferably around 45 - 50 degrees F.  We did not follow this procedure as we have a lack of mechanical control (i.e. refrigeration) of low temperature fermentation.  Since brewing, however, we have learned that an artificial lager fermentation bucket of water/ice can be used.  As can a very cool basement during winter months.  Ideally, a refrigerator setup can be used.

Clearly, we wanted everything clean and sanitized.  As usual, we used our Step solution with water.  We enjoyed a nice Warsteiner while we worked!  To start, we used filtered water from the fridge...

Sanitize everything when brewing beer at home.   We get our filtered water from the fridge, for use in our Oktoberfest beer!

Next step was to bring about 2 1/2 gallons of this water to about 150 - 155 degrees F.  That is the point where we added our grain bag for steeping.  Steeping lasted for 50 minutes, while we carefully monitored the temperature.  Do not allow for the temperature to exceed 155 F.  Doing so will impart bad flavors in your beer.

Use clean, filtered water where possible when brewing beer at home.  Check your water supply for heavy elements or hard water.   Get the temperature of your Oktoberfest home brew beer up to about 150 degrees F and steep the grains.

After steeping, we moved the grain bag from the pot and placed in a bowl.  Next we turned the heat up and brought the brew to a boil.  At that point, we added the dry malts, being careful not to allow an over-boil.

Bring the temperature of your home brew up to a boil.   Place the dry malt extract in a bowl and pour carefully into the brew just prior to boil.

Carefully pour the dry malt extract into the homebrew.  Watch for boil-overs!   Stirring the malt into the home brew.

We stirred the mixture, carefully watching for boil-over.  10 minutes into the boil, we added the bittering hops...

Adding bittering hops to the home brew.    Monitoring the temperature is probably the most important step in brewing beer at home.

The brew was stirred for another 45 - 50 minutes.  At that point, after an hour of boiling, we moved the brew from the heat and added the aroma hops...

Aroma hops are added to the home brew at the end of the boil.    Aroma hops are added to the home brew at the end of the boil.

Giving these hops about 3 to 5 minutes to work their magic, it was time to cool the brew.  As we've done in the past, we brought the temperature down quickly by adding ice (filtered water ice, of course)...

We added filtered-water ice to the home brew after cooking, so as to bring the temperature down quickly.      We added filtered-water ice to the home brew after cooking, so as to bring the temperature down quickly.

This got the temperature down to about 100 F in quick fashion.  Since yeast-pitching doesn't happen until about 72 - 74 degrees F., we needed to further cool the brew.  So, we added about a gallon of cool water that we had resting in our sanitized carboy in the fridge. 

Adding cooled, filtered water to the brew just after cooking, to bring the temperature down quickly.

That got it down to about 76, so we decided to place the brew pot in the fridge for half an hour or so.  Afterwards, when the temp was down to 73, we pitched the yeast and siphoned the brew to the carboy.  An air-lock was added and the carboy was placed in a cool location of the house (first pic below).  Oddly, fermentation didn't really start until about 36 hours later (2nd pic below).  Perhaps because we did not place a dark towel around the carboy?  Maybe because the temperature was still 74 F (warm) in that location?  We are not sure. 

UPDATE:  Ok, so we figured it out... we are fermenting at too high of a temperature.  This is a LAGER beer.  As such, it needs to ferment at a temperature of about 45 - 50 degrees F.  After researching our mistake, we have learned that it will likely produce a home brew that is drinkable, but not one that will be matching the flavor of a typical Oktoberfest style beer.  In essence, what we will end up with is a steam beer (or the German dampfbier) - one that uses lager yeast, but is fermented at high temperatures.

This Oktoberfestbier was just added to the carboy, after yeast was pitched.    Oktoberfest home brew fermenting in the glass carboy.

By the third day, fermentation was very active, and the air-lock was really popping at a rate of about 1 per second.  Oddly, the temperature rose to around 77-78 degrees F.  Mind you, it is summer time here.  But, the air conditioning is on and the room temp is around 70-72.  Of course, fermentation creates a bit of heat itself.  So, we added a wet towel around the carboy to reduce the temperature.  For more about brewing optimum lagers, check out these 10 keys to great lager home brew.  Below is a video of our beer fermenting.  Sorry, not good quality (made with android) so we will work on future vids.

After a week in the primary fermenter, we decided to move the home brew to a secondary fermenter.  Using the standard siphon, here is how we did that...

Siphoning the home brew beer from the primary fermenter to the secondary carboy.    Another image of how we move our Oktoberfest homebrew from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter.

And, here is a video...

Following an additional two weeks in the secondary fermenting carboy, we siphoned the brew to the racking bucket, added the 3/4 cup of powdered sugar - priming sugar used to reactivate the yeast while in the bottle to produce CO2 - and mixed (aerated) it with a vigorous spoon mixing.  From there, we did a complete sanitization of the bottles and filled 18 1-liter bottles.  A day at room temperature, followed by a move to the fridge. 

Bottled Oktoberfest Home Brew Beer.  

Should be ready just in time for Octoberfest (about a month from now)!  Which, by the way, begins in late September each year, and last until the first weekend in October.  Why?  Because the Germans realized it's more fun to drink in the warmer weather!  

August 28, 2012 - Update:  We clearly couldn't control ourselves and wanted to test the beer frequently to see if it was ready.  Over the past two weeks, we popped the lid on several bottles to check for carbonation.  Each time, the beer was still flat... just a tea.  Total time in the bottle was just 1 week when we started checking.  I have to tell you that impatience is not a good trait for the homebrewer!  Especially when brewing lager-style beers, which require more conditioning time (several months, at least).  Nonetheless, we were concerned because we fermented this batch at ale temperatures and it should have been lagered at much cooler temperatures.  So, we figured we would lose some bottles and perhaps the entire batch.  Because of this logic, we decided to write this one off and just test is as we saw necessary. 

So, we took all remaining bottles of home brew out of the fridge and let them rest a day at room temperature.  The next day they went back into the fridge.  After another day of cooling down, we tried one.  It had carbonated very well and made a loud "pop" as the wire-top was released.  So, we drank on the remaining ones for several days with each day that passed making the brew cleaner and flavorful. 

In short order, after drinking the last one, three weeks after bottling (video below of opening the bottle), I have to say that it turned out to be a decent beer.  I was surprised, quite honestly.  The next batch of Oktoberfestbier we brew is going to get at least three months at 38 - 40 degrees F.  Probably going to have to get a separate fridge.  Or perhaps condition it in a keg.  If we plan on drinking it around the end of September (in honor of the season) we need to probably brew it no later than May or June.

The moral of this story is to never give up on your brew.  You may have boilovers, fermentation that blows sediment out the top of the air-lock creating a mess, and ales that should have been lagered.  These mistakes are going to happen.  But, what I've learned is, barring major sanitation errors, it's pretty hard to screw up a batch of home brewed beer.  We have inadvertently done the three aforementioned things and the beers all turned out successful.  Thinking about it, beer was originally preferred over water thousands of years ago as it generally had zero possibility of contamination.  So, even today if the beer tastes good, its likely going to be good... and perfectly fine to drink. 

         
 

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