Ah, the smell of malt in the morning! It's been a few months since I've had a beer brew day, and I'm excited to be back in the swing of things. I have a thirst for a malt-bomb, and the seasons have aligned, so I decided on an oktoberfestbier as my coming-back-to-it-beer. There was a part of me that was tempted to brew up a lot of ales in a short time in order to replenish all my stocks, but instead I went for some fun and decided to dedicate my October to lagers.
Marzen is a beautiful amber colour, full of malt flavor, but without the cloying caramel or very obvious toast. It is a traditional style in Germany that is frequently served at Oktoberfest. Now, traditionally, I would be on time for Oktoberfest (despite my heathen fast lager method), but as time went on the Germans moved Oktoberfest into September to take advantage of better weather so nowadays I would be late for Oktoberfest.
I have a lot of difficulty writing about your average brew-day because it becomes habit after a while. To summarize: I mashed in at 154*F with a marzen malt bill (see below) and let it mash for about 60 minutes. I batch sparged this time rather than doing no-sparge brewing, and tossed in a dash (1 oz) of some Hallertauer. I always do first-wort hopping for my bittering hops, not because I think it makes much of a difference, but because it's just a habit. I boiled for an hour, chilled with my wort chiller to about 70*F.
I racked the beer to a carboy and added pure oxygen for one minute...
and I placed the carboy into the fermentation chamber overnight to cool to 50*F and pitched my yeast the next day (3L starter of Wyeast bohemian lager yeast. I follow the fast lager method, wherein I'll allow it to ferment at 50*F for 5 days before slowing raising the temperature to room temperature for another few days and stir up the yeast for a diacetyl rest. After this, I'll chill it to ~2*C and let it lager for a week or two, usually adding gelatin to clarify. When bottling I now make sure to stir the priming sugar in very well now because my last Pilsner had some very overcarbonated bottles and some nearly flat bottles! I assume this is due to the beer being so cold and not dissolving the priming sugar as well.
4# Viena Malt
3# Munich Malt
2# 2-row Pale Malt
0.5# Toasted Malt (homemade)
Mashed at 154*F
Added 1 oz Hallertauer (60 minutes) for bittering
Ferment at 50*F, with the addition of a 3L starter of bohemian lager yeast (Wyeast)
Diacetyl rest after 5 days, and lager for a week or two.