Sunday, October 10, 2010

October Bottling Day: Oktoberfest/Marzen

 To maintain the 50F temperature needed for the lager yeast, I used a large 40 quart Igloo cooler to hold the Mr. Beer fermenter keg and 4 frozen water bottles. For the past 21 days I'd go downstairs to check the temperature inside the cooler and remove the frozen water bottles that had melted and replaced them with frozen bottles. Over the last 3 days of fermentation I allowed the temperature inside the cooler to gradually rise to 65F as this would be my bottling temperature.

40 Quart Igloo Cooler Used As Fermentation Chamber

 Left completely alone in the cold dark environment the Saflager 34/70 yeast had done an incredible job of converting sugars into Co2 and alcohol and in the process deposited a significant amount of trub at the bottom of the Mr. Beer keg. The first thing I thought after seeing this was how am I going to keep this stuff from getting into my beer when I bottle it.

Thick Layer Of Trub Deposited By Lager Yeast

 I setup the keg for bottling by inserting a sanitized bottling wand in the spigot while the 1 litre PET bottles were being sanitized with One-Step™ cleanser. I was just going to go for it pouring right from the keg into the bottles and trust that the trub was compacted enough to stay in place. The last thing I wanted after babysitting this Oktoberfest/Marzen for the past 3 weeks was to have too much trub in the bottles.

Bottling Wand Used To Bottom Fill Each Bottle

 I poured a small sample into a glass to taste the beer and a small amount of trub came out with the beer, it was probably blocking the spigot inside the keg. I poured out another small glassful and this time only beer came out, the trub stayed put now and I was ready to bottle. I used my Bottle Priming Calculator to help figure out how much priming sugar would be needed to hit the correct Co2 volumes for an Oktoberfest/ Marzen beer style.

Oktoberfest/Marzen Sample Showing Residual Co2 Bubbles

 Using a bottle priming calculator is a good idea since it takes into account the temperature of the beer I would be bottling, the type of priming sugar and the small amount of Co2 that is already in the fermented beer. You then look up the style of beer you are bottling to see what the level of carbonation should be according to the BJCP Style Guidelines.

Oktoberfest/Marzen Calls For 2.57 to 2.73 Co2 Volumes Of Carbonation

  This bottling day turned out to be a good day. I successfully bottled up my first lager beer without incident and I now have eight 1 litre bottles carbonating down in the basement where its nice and cool. The beer poured clear right out of the fermenter with no need to rack to a secondary, cold crash or mix any gelatin or use any other methods to clarify my beer, so I'm really happy about that.

Oktoberfest/Marzen Ready For Carbonation


  1. So, how did the beer turn out? I'm lagering an Oktoberfest right now and will probably bottle it soon.

  2. Looking back now it turned out to be pretty good and well worth the extra time for conditioning. I've since developed my own all grain recipe, used oxygenation with a large yeast starter and have perfected my lagering process. After the beer hits it's final gravity I rack it to corny kegs and keep them refrigerated for 4-6 weeks before force carbonating and serving.