Jim Stinson shares his thoughts on brewing Oktoberfest/Marzen


Style Profile:  Oktoberfest/Marzen
Brewery:  The Rockyard Bar and grill, Castle Rock
Brewer Name: Jim Stinson



How Many Years Have You Been Brewing?
My brewing hobby started with that fateful home brew kit for Christmas back in ’94. That’s all it took to get me hooked.
My first brewing job was at Mickey Finn’s Brewery in Libertyville, IL in 1996.
Please describe your Ingredient Choices for the Brew and Why?
My Octoberfest is brewed with Vienna, Munich, Caravienne, and some kilned malt.
Vienna and Munich are malted in such a way that a more pronounced malt and bready flavors come through. This is not to say that the beer will taste like bread, but the result is a more flavorful beer with more mouthfeel than if you used Pilsner malt or standard 2-row.
I use a blend of Vienna and Munich for a smooth complexity. The Caravienne is for color that is not as caramel tasting as crystal malt. The kilned malt adds some aroma and finishing flavor of toast.
Any particular Keys for this brew?
I think the alcohol presence (6%) is important without sacrificing the medium body.

“You don’t want to go too hot on the alcohol, as people should be able to drink at least a liter before doing the chicken dance without being prompted.”

oktoberfest_pintAlso, very important, play Octoberfest music during the brew.
Octoberfest should be a malt balanced beer, without a dominant caramel flavor. The body and malt are achieved by using large amounts of Vienna/Munich malts without relying on crystal malts. There should be a light toasted aroma and a toasted finish. Color is in the copper range (light to deep)
Yeast, fermentation temperatures and schedules and Pitching Rates?
I’ve used many different yeast over the years, but never an American lager yeast. There should not be any yeast esters or diacetyl. Any of the German lager yeast will make a good Octoberfest. Choose one that emphasizes malt flavors. You should brew with a particular yeast a few times so that you learn it’s profile in your fermenter. Each strain has its own characteristics. Make a few Munich Helles’ as practice to learn the yeast’s best fermentation temperature, when to do a diacetyl rest and what it’s typical attenuation rate is.
Our current batch is with Andechs yeast fermented at 12.5*C with a diacetyl rest beginning around 6*P through terminal gravity.
Any other notes you would like to share with the local homebrewers?Don’t go cheap on the malt and hops. This is a once per year brew, and it rates the best you can afford.

Here we have Jim’s Oktoberfest recipe

(converted to a 5 gallon batch)

FG: 1.014
ABV: 6%
SRM: 10
IBUs: 25

All Grain Recipe:
6.75 lbs Vienna
2.1 lbs Munich I
1.6 lbs Caravienne
0.5 lbs Munich 20

1.0 oz Hallertau 60 minutes
0.4 oz Hallertau 30 minutes
1.0 oz Saaz 0 minute flame out

Yeast: Any German Lager Yeast
Single Infusion Mash: 151 Degrees F for 60 Minutes

Extract Recipe: Replace Munich Malts and Vienna with 8 lbs Briess Munich Liquid Malt Extract. Steep Caravienne in Muslin grain bag for 30 minutes.


Castle Rock Homebrew Supply has one of the largest and growing selections of beer, cheese and wine-making supplies in the Denver and Colorado Springs area. We started the businesses out of our own passion for home brewed beer and decided to teach others for to brew as well. We are proud to be able to offer a diverse ingredient list and packaging sizes that allow the beginner extract brewer to make very diverse beer. Stop by our store anytime! Or contact us online we’ll be happy to help you get a piece of equipment or answer your questions.Rockyard_Brewing_CoCastle Rock Home Brew logo


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