Festbier! Bier of Oktober Oktoberfest

Many brewers brew on a seasonal schedule, ensuring that they have season-appropriate beer styles on-tap at the right time. Like brewing festbier in spring, for enjoyment in the fall.

I am not one of those brewers.

Instead, I tend to brew season-appropriate styles in their season, and enjoy them off-schedule. Todays post is a break from my work on sour yeasts. So lets switch gears and talk about a seasonal, but out-of-season, beer – my Bier of Oktober, Oktoberfest-style festbier. This is about as bog-standard an Oktoberfest recipe as you can find, but despite its simplicity, it makes an excellent beer.

Recipe – Bier of Oktober Festbier



Ingredients (for 20 L)

1.80 kgMunich Malt36%
1.36 kgVienna Malt27%
1.36 kgPilsner Malt27%
0.45 kgCaramunich I Malt9%
42.5 gHallertau [4.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min21 IBU
14.7 gHallertau [4.00 %] – Boil 20.0 min5 IBU
1Whirfloc Tablet
W34/70 Lager Yeast


  1. Adjust water for a 2:1 chloride:sulfate ratio.
  2. Mash for 60 minutes at 67.2C (153 F) for 60 min.
  3. Sparge to collect 29 L of wort.
  4. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops at 60 and 20 minutes, and whirfloc at 10 minutes.
  5. Chill and ferment at cellar temperature (14-16 C) for 2 months.
  6. Keg and serve.

Tasting Notes

Glass of festbier outside in the snow
Enjoying an Oktoberfest Festbeir…in March

Appearance: Reddish-copper in colour, pours with a thick white head.

Aroma: Malty, with a mild lager/sulfur note.

Flavour: Very clean yeast character, allowing for the deep and complex malt flavours to shine. Malt flavour is a firm base of of bread and crust notes, overlaid with honey & caramel. The bitterness was a little strong for the style when I first tapped the keg, but has since faded and now does a nice job holding the malt sweetness in check. The hop flavour is subtle; a light touch of herbal notes, mostly in the aftertaste. The aftertaste itself is a lingering sweetness and malt note, with an emerging herbal character as the sweetness fades.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium-bodied, neighbouring on being heavy-bodied. No astringency or dryness, and makes for a good sipper. Probably a little heavier bodied than what would technically be on-style.

Overall: This is a great beer to enjoy in the colder months of the year. Its not too heavy, and has a nice malt character that goes well with rich foods or sipping by a fire. My only complaint is that it was a overly bitter when I first tapped the keg, but that is largely because this beer was designed to be consumed 4-6 months after brewing, and I tapped the keg after only two months. If I were aging for the proper time I’d keep the bittering charge the same. But I’d drop the bitterness by 5 IBU if I were rebrewing with the plan of only aging for 2 months. None-the-less, this is an excellent and enjoyable beer, and one I will likely brew again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *