Brew Day | Oktoberfest

I do not like cold weather.  OK, I hate cold weather.  Like it got a bit cool recently and it reminded me that Fall was coming, and that reminded me Winter was coming, and that put me in a bad mood in anticipation of the cold weather in 4 months.  I may need to seek counseling for this.  But, as much as I hate the cold I love the beers that come along with the cooler weather.  Stouts, porters, winter warmers, more stouts, Oktoberfests, I even enjoy the occasional pumpkin beer.

In anticipation of this our homebrew club decided to have an all Festbier/Marzen competition.  After careful “research’ of many of the highest rated Oktoberfests as well as a few locals (shout out to my local brewery Red Hare for making an awesome Oktoberfest) we formulated our recipe and got set to brew.

SWAGTOBERFEST

I don’t have any brewday pics so here’s a pic of some dudes all swagged out for Oktoberfest.

This is our first lager brew and we decided to follow Brülosophy’s fast lager method.  There are a lot of positive results shared from those that have used this method and it saves about 3 months over a traditional method.  Not being able to tie up our fermentation chamber for a long lager has been the biggest reason we haven’t brewed a lager before so if we get good results here we’ll probably add more lagers to our brewing plan.

The quick and dirty of this version is that you ferment to 50% attenuation at your initial temp of 50°-55°F, ramp up to 65°-68°F until fermentation is complete and there are no signs of diacetyl or acetaldehyde, ramp down to 30°-32°F and hold this for 3-5 days, then package your beer.  You can have a lager ready to serve in about a month.

Recommended Oktoberfests

We had really bad luck with German Oktoberfests in our tasting.  Even though the stores said the beers were recently delivered each one we tried seemed to be pretty old with papery, cardboard, and lightstruck flaws.  No worries, there are some really good domestic versions available.

  • Red Hare Hasenpfeffer Oktoberfest
  • Sierra Nevada Oktoberfest
  • Highland Clawhammer Oktoberfest
  • Sam Adams Octoberfest
  • New Glarus Staghorn Octoberfest

We be Keggin’

Another brewhouse upgrade!  We added a Keezer setup to our gear and we’ll be kegging our first batch this weekend, our Oktoberfest Ale.  We’re also going to brew a Pumpkin Pie Ale that should be ready just in time for the crisp Fall weather.  Just a single tap for now so we’ll either need to add some taps or slow down our brewing.

I also got the parts to build a temperature controller.  I picked up an STC-1000 off Amazon for $17.96, it seems to be the most popular controller, as well as a project box and wiring to get this thing together.  I’ll share some pics when it’s done… provided I don’t electrocute myself.

Oh yeah, we also bottled our Mostly Mosaic, a Mosaic pale ale.  Samples out of the carboy tasted great, hopefully this one develops well.

Da Keezer

Da Keezer

Oktoberfest brewday. So it’s ready… in OCTOBER.

No Pumpkin Beer Before Its Time

No Pumpkin Beer Before Its Time

WARNING! WARNING! ONCOMING RANT!

My local bottle shops already have their Oktoberfests and pumpkin beers in.  Some got them before the end of July.  JULY!

I am highly opposed to this.  I believe the technical term is “seasonal creep”.  It started with Christmas, then the other holidays followed suit.  Last year I literally saw Walmart moving out barbecues and lawnmowers and replacing them with Christmas decorations.  And now it’s happening with beer.  Is nothing sacred?

Seriously though, this competition to be the first one to market with stuff needs to stop.  One of my local growler shops mentioned they had to order Oktoberfest kegs much earlier to make sure they got them, now they’re taking up cooler space and not moving.  What’s the point in that?  It really detracts from the meaning of whatever holiday/season you’re celebrating.  Personally, I refuse to purchase or hang any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving and I like to enjoy my seasonal beers in season.  Fall and Winter are my favorite seasons for beers, but I look forward to the Spring and Summer releases as well.  I want to drink an Oktoberfest or a Pumpkin Ale when the air is a little crisp and the leaves are starting to fall, not when I’m sweating my ass off from mowing my grass that seems to grow 3′ overnight.  It’s just plain wrong.

So what can I do?  I’m speaking with my wallet and not buying any fall beer now.  If I miss out on some HTF seasonals then so be it.  I know it’s a small thing and I’m in the minority by not doing this, but I’m standing up for what I believe in.  One of my so-called friends (it was Brian) ordered a Pumking on draft Saturday night.  Traitor.

Annnnnd…. I brewed an Oktoberfest on Saturday so it’s ready for October.  In a couple weeks we’ll brew a pumpkin ale and have some with our Thanksgiving dinner, just like God intended

Sometimes you just have to stand up for what you believe in.