4B - Festbier

Style: 4B - Festbier5C - German Helles Exportbier

I made a Festbier last year (2017) for Oktoberfest that came out pretty tasty and used 40% Vienna malt and a Pils base. This time I added 12% Munich to the mix for a little extra color and malt character. We'll see how it comes out. I had planned to do Pils/Munich only this year but happened to have the exact amount of Vienna needed for last years recipe so I went with it.

Full recipe (snapshot for this batch. More simple Munich/Pils version here) is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR
  • Brewday: 2018-7-15 (2nd batch of the day)
  • Malt: Bohemian Pilsner base, 35% Vienna, 12% Munich
  • Hops: [Magnum] (Saphir)
  • Yeast: SafLager W34/70 (Weihenstephaner)
  • OG: 1.055; FG 1.010; ABV 5.9%
  • kegged: 2018-7-29
MonsterMill crush. The mill is working great but I'm still under 70% efficiency. I might try to adjust the rollers and get another couple of points... or just toss in the extra 100-200g of grain every batch and expect 65%. This is my life now.

Brewday beer: Schwarzbier. 3 months from brewday and it's super tasty. Also picked up the glass from Hogshead. They did a "Bilsner" with Bierstadt and had these awesome glasses done up with both breweries' logos - which you can't see because dark beer. 

Mash temp

Brewery Assistant/Floor Manager Steve


OG came out to 1.055 (adjusted from 13.5 brix). Which is right where I wanted it. BUT: I used a bit more grain expecting to finish low. The recipe was based on 67% with expected OG of 57, and sure enough it came in low.

In the fermenter...

Basement ferment temp, just shy of the recommended max of 22 on the packet. Say what you will about warm fermented lagers, W34/70 makes damn good beer and I've never had a problem with any of my many lagers tasting off. 

2018-7-22 needed the fermenter and yeast for a German Pils so the Festbier got a new home for the next week or so:

2018-7-22 also took a gravity reading and looks like this one is done. Finished up at 1.010 (adjusted from brix) which puts the final ABV at 5.9%

2018-7-29: kegged. Double checked FG and hydrometer agreed with refractometer at 1.010; 5.9% ABV

2018-7-29: uncarbonated sample

2018-7-30: Carbonated and hazy. Will get about 2 months of keg lagering before Oktoberfest on 9/29. Tasting clean and no off flavors. It's right where it should be and I'm expecting a great 2018 Festbier!

2018-8-17 clarity check. Getting there...

2018-9-12 (pic below) mostly clear! Tasting about right. I'm getting some off metallic flavors with both this and the Helles that goes away after running more through the lines. Since the lines were just cleaned my next step is to get the faucets. If that doesn't get rid of the metallic taste then I'll clean the dip tubes and posts.

Potential equipment issues aside, the beer tastes good! It's a bigger, maltier, richer Helles that finishes clean and goes down smooth. I'll have no trouble drinking this by the liter come Oktoberfest!

2018-9-29 Oktoberfest full pour

2018-10-2 comparison with the OG: Weihenstephaner Festbier. Color was right on, identical in hue and clarity. OG had more spicy hops in the aroma and flavor, and a tad more malt character - maybe not more but slightly different. Glad I got to try them side by side, the keg kicked the next day!