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An overview of the Märzen style, presented by Joe Hickey at our March (2024) online meeting

London Amateur Brewers

March 18, 2024

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  2. A BRIEF WIKI-SEARCH…. • Märzen originates some time before the

    16th century in Bavaria – a 1553 law decreed that beer may only be brewed between Sept 29th and April 23rd to prevent off flavours from fermentation during the hot summer months. • Märzen, unsurprisingly, was brewed in March and allowed to lager in ice and straw filled cellars until autumn, often then served at the Oktoberfest. • The early Märzens were dark brown, full-bodied and bitter, more of a Dunkel, which was brewed to a higher ABV so it would last until late summer/early autumn. • Advances in kilning allowed for lightly kilned malts and a lighter coloured amber lager, a modern Märzen, was produced by the Spaten Brewery for the 1841 Oktoberfest. Brewed using the traditional Munich malt but combined with pale malt this style gradually replaced the Dunkel style and became the official Oktoberfest beer in 1872 • Over time this morphed into Oktoberfestbier, a lighter lager brewed by Paulaner debuted during the early 1970’s. This style appealed to Oktoberfest attendees and, by the 1990’s, completely replaced Märzen as the official Oktoberfestbier style. • Czech Republic (marcovni), Austria (Märzenbiers) and Poland (marcowe) have similar styled beers.

    ABV Overall Impression Style Comparison 6A Märze n 18- 24 16 – 33 1.054 1.060 1.010 1.014 5.8% - 6.3% An amber, malty German lager with a clean, rich, toasty, bready malt flavour, 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. Not as strong and rich as a Dunkles Bock. More malt depth and richness than a Festbier, with a heavier body and slightly less hops. Less hoppy but equally malty as a Czech Amber Lager, but with a different malt profile. 4B Festbie r 18- 25 8 - 14 1.054 1.057 1.010 1.012 5.8% - 6.3% A smooth, clean, pale German lager with a moderately strong malty flavour and a light hop character. Deftly balances strength and drinkability, with a palate impression and finish that encourages drinking. Showcases elegant German malt flavours without becoming too heavy or filling. Less intense and less richly toasted than a Märzen. Stronger than a Munich Helles, with a bit more body, and hop and malt flavour. Less rich in malt intensity than a Helles Bock. The malt complexity is similar to a higher- gravity Czech Premium Pale Lager, although without the associated hops.
  4. BJCP COMPARISON - DESCRIPTORS Aroma Appearance Flavour Mouthfeel Märzen Moderate

    malty aroma, typically rich, bready, somewhat toasty, with light bread crust notes. Clean lager fermentation character. Very low floral, herbal, or spicy hop aroma optional. Caramel-sweet, biscuity- dry, or roasted malt aromas are inappropriate. Very light alcohol might be detected, but should never be sharp. Clean, elegant malt richness should be the primary aroma. Amber-orange to deep reddish-copper colour; should not be golden. Bright clarity, with persistent, off-white foam stand. Moderate to high rich malt flavour often initially suggests sweetness, but the finish is moderately-dry to dry. Distinctive and complex maltiness often includes a bready, toasty aspect. Hop bitterness is moderate, and the floral, herbal, or spicy hop flavour is low to none. Hops provide sufficient balance that the malty palate and finish do not seem sweet. The aftertaste is malty, with the same elegant, rich malt flavours lingering. Noticeable sweet caramel, dry biscuit, or roasted flavours are inappropriate. Clean fermentation profile. Medium body, with a smooth, creamy texture that often suggests a fuller mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Fully attenuated, without a sweet or cloying impression. May be slightly warming, but the strength should be relatively hidden. Festbie r Moderate malty richness, with an emphasis on toasty- doughy aromatics and an impression of sweetness. Low to medium-low floral, herbal, or spicy hops. The malt should not have a deeply toasted, caramel, or biscuity quality. Clean lager fermentation profile. Deep yellow to deep gold colour; should not have amber hues. Bright clarity. Persistent white to off- white foam stand. Most commercial examples are pale gold in colour. Medium to medium-high malty flavour initially, with a lightly toasty, bread dough quality and an impression of soft malty richness. Medium to medium-low bitterness, definitely malty in the balance. Well-attenuated and crisp, but not dry. Medium-low to medium floral, herbal, or spicy hop flavour. Clean fermentation profile. The taste is mostly of Pils malt, but Medium body, with a smooth, somewhat creamy texture. Medium carbonation. Alcohol strength barely noticeable as warming, if at all.
  5. BJCP CLASSIC EXAMPLES • Hacker-pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen • Hofmark Märzen

    • Paulaner Oktoberfest • Saalfelder Ur-saalfelder • Weltenburger Kloster Anno 1050
  6. RECIPE TRENDS • Grist varies, although traditional German versions emphasized

    Munich malt. • A decoction mash is traditional, and enhances the rich malt profile. According to Mean Brews (looks at trends from award winning recipes): • Step mash popular with protein rest, 51ºC for 25 mins, Alpha rest, 67ºC for 60 mins • Bittering hops tend to be Hallertauer Mittelfruh, 52%, with Tettnang at 17% and Saaz at 13% • Similar with flavour hops, of the 65% of recipes that used flavour hops, Mittelfruh was used 80% of the time, followed by Tettnang at 13% and Saaz at 9% • Yeast choices mainly include Weihenstephan 206/Oktoberfest (WY2206/WLP820) or Wisenschaftliche Station #308 (WY2308/838) or Weihenstephan 34/70: (WY2124/WLP830/W-34/70)
  7. MEAN BREWS MÄRZEN • OG: 1.056 FG: 1.016 ABV 5.3%

    • IBU: 22 BU/GU: 0.39 Col: 16.4 EBC Mash • Protein 51 °C 25 min • Alpha 67 °C 60 min Malt • 40% - Weyermann Munich I • 28% - Weyermann Vienna • 20% - Weyermann Pilsner • 10% - Weyermann Munich II • 2% - Weyermann Caramunich II Hops • 16 IBU Hallertauer Mittelfrueh boil 60 min • 6 IBU hallertauer Mittelfrueh boil 15 min Yeast • White Labs WLP820 Octoberfest/Märzen Water CA2+ 50 | MG2+ 5 | NA+ 15 | CL- 65 | SO 4 2- 54 | HCO 3 - 35 Fermentation 9.5ºC 7 days 13ºC Diacetyl Rest 14 days 1ºC lager 29 days Serving 2.6 CO2 Vols

    FG: 1.008 ABV 6.6% • IBU: 20 BU/GU: 0.33 Col: 21 EBC Mash Alpha 65 °C 120 min Malt • 43.8% - Weyermann Barke Munich • 43.8% - Weyermann Barke Vienna • 9.4% - Best Pilsen Malt • 3% - Weyermann Caramunich II Hops 20 IBU Magnum boil 60 min Yeast 1.6l starter White Labs WLP833 German Bock (initial brew was with Wyeast Oktoberfest blend) Water RO with 1.3g gypsum & 4g calcium chloride in mash Fermentation 9ºC pitch and first 24Hrs Raise to 10ºC for 48Hrs Raise to 11ºC to finish Diacetyl Rest at 16ºC when fermentation looks complete Serving 2.5 CO2 Vols