Sunday, January 2, 2011

Brewing The Oktoberfest/Marzen All Grain Recipe

For the past several months I've been reading about brewing all grain recipes and little by little I managed to assemble what I felt were the key pieces of equipment needed to get started. Several months ago I built my first  wort cooler Screwy's Cooler and quickly realized how much of a time saver it would prove to be. The cooler design fits inside a standard 10 inch pot and easily attaches to a sink faucet. It uses cold tap water to quickly cool the boiling wort down to yeast pitching temperature in about 15-20 minutes for a 10.5 quart batch.

4.5 Pounds Of Crushed Mixed Grains Ready For Mashing

I used qBrew's default 'Oktoberfest/Marzen' style guidelines as the basis for crunching this recipe's numbers. You can download the latest qBrew database below and use it to upgrade your current ingredient database. This latest ingredient database includes more yeast, fruits, extracts and other helpful entries then ever before.

 Click to download Screwy's latest qBrew database   

Click to download this recipe file for qBrew 
Size 2.13 gallons: Estimated IBU=26, SRM=13, OG=1.058, FG=1.015, ABV=5.6%

1/4 pound CaraMunich
1/4 pound Melanoidin
2.0 pounds Munich (German)
2.0 pounds Pilsener (German)

3/4 ounce Hallertauer (Germany) pellet hops boiled for 60 minutes
1/4 ounce Hallertauer (Germany) pellet hops boiled for 20 minutes
1/8 tab WhirlFloc boiled for 9 minutes
1/4 ounce Hallertauer (Germany) pellet hops boiled for 7 minutes

11.5 grams Saflager W-34/70 (rehydrate using package directions before pitching)
Aerate, pitch at 65F and ferment at 54F for 25 days
Raise to 60F over days 26 to 28 then rack to secondary fermenter
Cold lager secondary fermenter for 4-6 weeks at 34F
Keg at 12psi for 5-7 days and serve at 34F

** Infusion mash at 155F for 60 minutes **
Heat 7 quarts of filtered water to 170F
Soak mash tun in 8 quarts of 180F water for 20 minutes to pre heat it
Pour 3.5 quarts of 170F water into mash tun
Mix in 4.5 pounds of crushed grain mix at 60F
Pour 3.5 quarts the remainder of the 170F water into mash tun
Stir water and grain mixture and adjust to 155F and mash for 60 minutes
Sparge with 7 quarts 173F strike water to set mash bed to 168F
Lauter for 20 minutes adding 10.5 quarts of sweet wort to the boil pot

Boil for 60 minutes (8.5 quarts remaining for fermenter)
Add 3/4 ounce bittering hops at 60 minutes to flameout
Add 1/4 ounce flavoring hops at 20 minutes to flameout
Add 1/8 tab WhirlFloc at 9 minutes to flameout
Add 1/4 ounce aroma hops at 7 minutes to flameout

Remove from heat and remove hop sacks
Use Screwy's Cooler until wort temperature cools to 65F
Pitched at 65F and fermented at 54F for 25 days
Raise to 60F over days 26 to 28 then rack to secondary fermenter
Cold lager for 4-6 weeks at 34F
Keg at 12psi for 5-7 days and serve at 34F

In many ways the heart of the all grain brewing process is the mash tun so last month I built my first mash tun Screwy's Mash Tun and was now ready to give it a try. After some thought I decided to brew an Oktoberfest/Marzen as my first all grain recipe. I had already brewed this twice before using DME and steeping grains and fermenting it with Saflager 34/70 lager yeast and soon I would be able to compare the all grain version to the previous extract version.

Mash Tun Sanitized And Preheated To 180F

I started out by giving the mash tun a good rinse under hot water before emptying it and filling it with a gallon of Oxygen Brewery Wash mixed 2 scoops to the gallon of warm tap water. The 5 gallon size was easy to lift and shake with the cover secured so that the entire insides of the tun got coated with the cleaning solution. After letting the tun soak in the cleanser for 10-15 minutes I drained it out and added about a gallon of 180F water to the tun to preheat it before doing the actual mash, after 15 minutes I completely emptied the tun and prepared to do the mash.

I chose to use a mash thickness of 1.5 quarts of water per pound of grain and a mash temperature of 155F. I then multiplied 1.5 quarts of water by 4.5 pounds of grain and came up with 6.75 quarts, the total amount of strike water to initially add to the grains for mashing. Targeting the higher end of the recommended 147-155F temperature range for an infusion mash will produce a higher gravity wort and can be quickly cooled a few degrees by stirring if necessary. The strike water calculator indicated that the 170F temperature of the water added to the 60F grains would set the mash temperature to 155F.

Mash Thickness Set To 1.5 Quarts Per Pound

It's important to hit your target temperature as quickly as possible during the first few minutes of the mash. I poured in half the strike water and then added in all the grains then poured in the rest of the strike water and then stirred it up to remove any hot spots. Keep some extra hot water handy to add if the temperature is too low, if its too high stir the mash or add some filtered cold water until you hit the target temperature.

Rehydrate Dry Lager Yeast In 78F Boiled Water

Once my 155F grain bed temperature was stable I screwed on the lid of the mash tun and let it sit for 60 minutes. The tun is well insulated and it held the grain temperature consistently for the entire hour long mash. While waiting for the mash to complete I boiled a cup of water to use for rehydrating the dry yeast I was going to use. Once the water boiled I poured it into a sanitized bowl and allowed it to cool to 78F before sprinkling the entire contents of an 11 gram packet of Saflager 34/70 into it to soak for 15 minutes.

Three Cupfuls Of Wort Poured Back Into Tun

After the 60 minutes was up I collected 3 cupfuls of wort and then carefully poured them back into the mash tun to set the grain bed. I did this until the wort coming out of the mash tun was clear and free from grain particles. Once this was done I was ready to pour in my sparge water that I had heated to 173F while waiting for the mash to finish.

The strike water calculator showed that adding 173F batch sparge water to the 155F mash in the tun would raise the grain bed to 168F during the sparge. I needed to collect 10.5 quarts of wort into my boil pot for the full wort boil that would follow so I cracked open the ball valve to slowly let the wort into the boil pot and began slowly pouring the 173F water into the tun. In all it took about 20 minutes to slowly drain off the wort while pouring in the sparge water to keep the grain bed covered with around 2 inches of water.

Mr. Beer Keg Lid Prevents Disturbing The Grain Bed

The grain bed acts as a filter to keep our wort clear and free of debris so make sure it doesn't get disturbed during the batch sparging by pouring the water onto a flat sanitized lid and not directly onto the grains.

Collect 10.5 Quarts Of Wort Into The Boil Pot

You can control the flow rate of the wort leaving the mash tun by cracking open the ball valve just enough to allow the boil pot to be filled in 20 minutes, this gives the grains enough time during the sparging process.

Preparing For The Full wort Boil

Once the wort begins to boil I tossed in my bittering hop addition then 40 minutes later my flavor hop addition. The Whirlfloc went in with 10 minutes left to the boil and my aroma hops went in at 7 minutes.

The Last Few Seconds Of A 60 Minute Boil

I had already sanitized the wort cooler so once the boil is done I can just place it inside the boil pot in the sink and start cooling it down immediately. I'd also been stirring the rehydrated yeast every 5 minutes or so until the temperature was between 65-70F, this will also be the temperature I cool the wort down to prior to pitching the yeast.

212F To 65F In Less Than 20 Minutes And No Ice

While the wort was cooling down I took the fermenter apart and cleaned it with Oxygen Brewery Wash then reassembled it and let it soak for 10 minutes in the same cleanser solution.Once the wort reached 65F I poured it into the fermenter stirred it up really well to aerate it before pitching the 65F yeast and then stirring it up really good again before twisting on the fermenter lid.

Aerate The Wort, Pitch The Yeast And Aerate Again

The fermenter went into Screwy's Fermentation Chamber alongside the previous batches I had brewed earlier. The beer will ferment there for 28 days at a constant 54F before I transfer them to secondary fermenters which will then go into a 32F refrigerator to cold lager for 3-6 weeks. At the end of the cold lager period the beers will be ready to keg or bottle carbonate.

All 3 Fermenters Showed Krausen Within 12 Hours

Cleanup was a snap after draining the second running from the tun, I really wanted to make a light beer from them rather than toss them out but I'm out of fermenters, I dumped the grains into a large garbage bag for disposal.

Cleaning The Mash Tun Was Easy To Do Right In the Sink

The 5 gallon size tun fit inside my laundry sink for easy cleaning. I like to clean my equipment out really well before packing any of it away, it just makes my next brewday that much easier.

Braided Stainless Steel Grain Filter At Bottom Of Tun

Well that about wraps it up for my first all grain brewing experience. The mash tun worked perfectly and I got through 3 successful mashes without issue, no stuck sparges, leaks or other problems. For me the hardest part of the all grain brewing was building a good mash tun and wort cooler the rest was pretty easy. As with any type of brewing attention has to be paid to time and temperature.

I took a lot of notes as well since this was also the first time using my new boil pot for full wort boils and I used the strike water temperature calculator to figure out how much of what temperature water would be needed to heat the grain bed to the optimal temperatures.

Fermentation and Lagering Notes:

My 3 all grain batches have been fermenting in 3 separate Mr. Beer kegs at 54F for 16 days now.....Here is my finalized plan, which I will go forward with.... 

Primary Fermentation: Ferment at 54F for 26 days 

Diacetyl Rest: Let the temperature raise up to 60F over days 27 and 28 at a rate of less than 7 degrees per day. I read where temperature swings greater than 7 degrees per day may cause the yeast to drop out early.

Secondary Fermentation: I racked all 3 fermenters to secondaries at 60F before putting them in the refrigerator to 'lager' at 34F for 4-6 weeks.

After 28 Days Of Fermentation There Was A Lot Of Trub

Getting the beer off of the trub and into clean secondary fermenters will help keep the beer clean and clear and reduce the risk of introducing any off flavors. Lagering the beer at 34F for 4-6 weeks will allow the beer to smooth out while it conditions, the cold temperature also helps to drop out proteins to further reduce chill haze.

Oktoberfest/Marzen Lagering In Secondaries

Bottle Carbing: Take the secondaries from the 34F fridge to the 58F basement allowing 2 days for the temperature to adjust. Calculate the priming sugar Co2 volumes based on 58F then mixing that amount of sugar into some sterilized water and adding it and the beer to a bottling bucket to bottle and carb at 58F until fully carbed. 

This whole lagering business was started by monks who brewed their beer in March then stored it in mountains caves where the temperatures were cool all summer until they drank their fill in October... I'm not really sure how they warmed the caves to 65F for the diacetyl rest though...

No respectable home brewing post would ever be complete without the author's description of how the actual finished beer tasted. I have to say my Oktoberfest/Marzen lager beer recipe and brewing process tastes completely awesome! This is one recipe I will be brewing on the regular now, I've added it to several other of my recipes that I and my friends really enjoy drinking.

Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager Beer

I don't always drink a glass of beer for breakfast but I've been know to do just that whenever a recipe produces a really great tasting beer. It's not that I have a drinking problem or anything I'm just trying to ingrain the flavors, mouth feel and aromas in my memory for future reference, because I know the beer won't last much longer. 

The first thing you notice about this beer is it's clarity and bright golden color, with a distinct reddish hue and slight biscuit flavor compliments of the addition of melanoidin malt. Next comes that really smooth taste that you can only get from a well conditioned lager beer. The subtleties of the malts shine through without any of the fruity esters you would expect from an ale and the Hallertauer hops work perfectly to offset any malt sweetness with just the right amounts of bittering.

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