Batch #7-10: Oktoberfest Marzen

Style Amber Marzen
Ingredients View Here
Brewing Date: Sunday, August 15, 2010
Primary Fermentation: Sunday, August 15, 2010
Original Gravity: 1.038
Secondary Fermentation: n/a
Bottling Date: Saturday, August 21, 2010
Final Gravity: 1.014
Release Date: Friday, September 24, 2010
Alcohol by volume: 3.7%
Brand: Master-Yeast Theatre
Release Name: Princess Therese Got Married

This will be a first-time Oktoberfest Marzen.  This is one of my favorite beer-styles, especially the amber versions.

The best Amber Marzen I have ever tasted was  at a microbrewery in Ellicott City, Maryland called the Batskeller.  It has a restaurant with a bar downstairs.  If you ever make it to the Baltimore area, look for this place on main street in downtown Ellicott City, a very beautiful area just west of Baltimore, with a lot of history.

Their Amber Marzen quality is my target… (good luck !)


15 Aug 2010 7:00PM :: The brewing session went quite smoothly. The brew has a stale odor, compared to others in the past.  The OG reading was a little lower than I expected, but the result was quite smooth and loaded with sugars.  I anticipate a mid 4.X% ABV from this batch.

I realized something after I had sealed the bucket. I forgot to check the temperature before pitching the yeast. I put about 2 gallons of wort , which was still about 160 degrees after a quick chilling in an ice bath, into the bucket with three gallons of near freezing water.  The bucket was mildly warm to the touch, so I guessed the temperature was easily under 90 degrees.  In the Irish Ale batch, the wort was 2 gallons at 120 degrees after chilling, and adding it to the 3 gallons of near-freezing water cooled it quickly to 62 degrees.  The temperature may have been around 80 when pitched, but I felt it was OK.  I got a reminder of how missing a step can potentially ruin a batch of beer.

I am using the wick method to keep the wort cool for this batch.

16 Aug 2010 7:15AM :: Checked the bucket before leaving for the day, and the yeast was already heavily engaged: bubbling cycles were strong at 2-3 second intervals.  Off to a very good start.

19 Aug 7:00AM :: The bubbling cycles are now slightly over 30 seconds.  Looks like the yeast had a very active session: this may be ready for bottling on Saturday.

21 Aug 11:00AM :: Bubbling cycles well over 1 minute 45 seconds.  Took a hydrometer reading and bottled.  The hydrometer reading was higher than expected, but the taste is very thick and smooth.  It will need some conditioning to bring the flavors out, but they are there.

Yield was 2x 2-Liter growlers, 2x 20oz and 31x 12oz bottles.

This was the first time I used an auto-siphon which I purchased from Heart’s Home Brew when I picked up the brewing supplies.   What a difference!  The siphon was better, but even when it started to fail, a few pumps got it going again.  This is the way to go if you are not using one.

28 Aug 11:00PM :: Tried a bottle after 1-week of conditioning.  The amount of head generated was minimal. The flavor is good, but there are some complex flavors here that need to meld a little over the next several weeks. I like it, and this is a beer that definitely compliments food.

24 Sep 6:00PM :: Received good feedback on this batch.  In the end, the brew held its caramel strength, and the head became a very smooth white color in the latter part of conditioning.  This batch has a bit more caramel strength than I am used to, but it is good.  Still, I prefer the recipe in use at the Batskeller between theirs and mine.

One side note: I learned to be very careful with the amount of priming sugar to use in a 2-Liter Growler.  I made two of them, and one of them exploded at the fourth week of conditioning.  It made a mess.  The other Growler seems to be OK.  For 18+ months of home brewing, this is my first (and hopefully only) case of the yeast overpowering its container.