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Oktoberfest / Märzen

Oktoberfest / Märzen

This month (November 2022), Darren Oakley gave us an overview of the Märzen style in preparation for a themed meeting in March 2023.

London Amateur Brewers

November 21, 2022

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  1. History As the name suggests, brewed as a stronger “March

    beer” in March and lagered in cold caves over the summer. Modern versions trace back to the lager developed by Spaten in 1841, contemporaneous to the development of Vienna lager. However, the Märzen name is much older than 1841 – the early ones were dark brown, and the name implied a strength band (14 °P) rather than a style. The amber lager style served at Oktoberfest from 1872 until 1990 when the golden Festbier was adopted as the standard festival beer.
  2. Overall Impression An amber, malty German lager with a clean,

    rich, toasty, bready malt flavor, restrained bitterness, and a well-attenuated finish. The overall malt impression is soft, elegant, and complex, with a rich malty aftertaste that is never cloying or heavy.
  3. Specifications • OG: 1.054 - 1.060 • FG: 1.010 -

    1.014 • ABV: 5.6% - 6.3% • IBU: 18 - 24 • BU:GU: 0.32 - 0.42 • SRM: 8 - 17
  4. Ingredients Malt • Traditionally made with just a mix of

    Munich and Pilsner malt • Can be combined with two-row or Vienna to make up to ~77-92% of grain bill, i.e. 52% Pilsner/two-row, 30% Munich/Vienna • Many examples include 7-9% caramel or crystal malt • Other malts used can include victory, aromatic, wheat or melanoidin Hops • Traditional (noble) selection - Tettnanger or Hallertauer
  5. Ingredients Yeast • Most common - Bavarian strains suited for

    malt-forward beers • Less common - Bohemian Pilsner yeast Water • Soft/RO water • Additions of calcium chloride (CaCl 2 ) and gypsum (CaSO 4 ) i.e. 4g CaCl 2 and 1.3g CaSO 4 in ~22 litres of mash water • Keep sulphite levels low
  6. Process Mash Schedule • Looking for high fermentability ◦ i.e.

    a two-step mash at 60-62°C followed by something like 69°C ◦ Or just go for a single rest at 65-66°C and mash longer, i.e. 90-120 mins • I’ve not found any references to decoction…. Boil/Hop Schedule • 60-90 min boil - go longer to increase colour and caramelisation • This is a malt forward style, so hops are the supporting act… ◦ 60 min additions mostly ◦ 20 min addition is included in some recipes, but keep it light
  7. Fermentation Avg. primary fermentation temp is 10 °C. Some reports

    show Bavarian strains being used as high as 14 °C but lower temperatures recommended.
  8. Lagering Traditional lagering is for 6 months at close to

    freezing temperatures A good example can be possible with a shorter lagering times following analysis of second round NHC entry recipes by Ray Daniels… • “Lagering seems to be fairly short for these styles” • Some brew sheets report no lagering at all • Those who lagered their beers reported temperatures of 0.5-3 °C for 4-5 weeks
  9. References • BJCP Guidelines, 2021 • Designing Great Beers -

    Ray Daniels • Brewing Classic Styles - Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer • https://beersmith.com/blog/2022/11/18/beer-design-case-study-marzen/