Think about brewing a beer that will remind you of autumnal evenings. The Festbier that you are going to learn to brew today is the one that is served at the popular Oktoberfest in Munich. It is the same one, but with a distinct twist in its style. This Festbier can also be a pilsner, with biscuit malt. The twist lies in the additional flavors. You will learn all about it in a while.
If you cannot go out or if it is raining outside, what better day to kick back at home with a self-brewed mug of the best Festbier that you have ever tried? So, let’s learn how to get the brewing done.
Americans associate the popular Oktoberfest beer with the traditional Oktoberfest celebrations in Munich, Germany. But in reality, that is not the beer served during the traditional festivity. Anyone who has traveled to Germany during Oktoberfest knows the difference. The one served is a blonde lager or the Festbier and not the amber Oktoberfest beer you know and love.
Festbier V. Oktoberfest Beer: Style
To understand the difference in the beer style, we have to begin with Maibock, also known as Helles Bock. Style guidelines do not show much difference between these two types of beers, but Maibock is the key point of distinction. Festbier and Oktoberfest beer are both pale lagers with a clear, biscuit malt.
But Festbier is paler in color and more hop-centric than traditional bock. The greater hop presence gives an added aroma and flavor to the Festbier. It is very light in texture, and you can easily have a stein glass of this and ask for more. Don’t be fooled by the blonde color.
Below is a list of all the basic ingredients you will require to make the best Festbier from scratch.
1. Base malts
Pilsner malt: 9 pounds
Munich malt: 1 pound
Victory malt: 8 ounces
You will need plenty of hops for this recipe as the key style of Festbiers is to depend on the extra aroma from flavored hops.
Hallertau Mittelfruh: 3 ounces
Floral and fruity aroma: not more than 20 IBUs
Munich Lager Yeast from White Labs (2308) or Wyeast (WLP838) for clean fermentation.
Process For Making Festbier
The basic process remains the same. Firstly, make the mash by boiling and then transferring it to another vessel to chill. Remember to let your mash breathe. For this, you will need to aerate the container well. Or use a sintered stone. After this process is over, bring out the yeast and set the fermentation temperature at 50°F or 10°C.
Festbier requires extended lagering. Quick lagering doesn’t do justice to this beer. Leave the yeast for about 10 days and then raise the temperature to 54°F or 12°C. Then wait for a few more days. Approximately after 2 weeks, warm the mixture at 65°F and give it another 2 days. This will minimize the retention, and it will result in a clean pilsner.
Leave it for about 6 weeks in the fermenter or the package. The hops will get a lot of time to aromatize the beer. The final step is to carbonate with approximately 2.25V of carbon dioxide. This might seem low, but this process enhances drinkability.
Now, you are done with brewing your best Festbier. Go ahead and host your own Oktoberfest. Do you really care if it is November now instead of October… any reason to drink beer is good enough!