over the past couple of months I have found myself consistently buying a single beer style – marzen (aka “oktoberfest”).
- every time I cruised by the local trader joe’s or bevmo I would stop in for a few bottles of the clean, malty, perfectly hopped ayinger oktober fest-marzen (the fact that their bulletproof 500mL bottles are ideal for reuse was just the icing on the cake).
- I had always shied away from brewing lagers, not because of their strict temperature requirements, but because of their elongated fermentation and lagering times. however, I had recently done some research on substituting kolsch ale yeast for lager yeast and fermenting at a lower temperature to achieve a similar result. stumbling upon edwort’s kolsch-based oktoberfest recipe, reading a recent zymurgy article on cold ale fermentations, and trying NM’s tasty “steam” marzen clinched it, and I formulated the following pseudo marzen recipe (12 gal batch, 90 min boil, 80% efficiency):
10.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 38.46 % 10.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 38.46 % 4.00 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 15.38 % 1.00 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM) Grain 3.85 % 1.00 lb Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 3.85 % 2.50 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (90 min) Hops 16.7 IBU 1.00 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 6.3 IBU 1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (30 min) Hops 5.1 IBU 1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (15 min) Hops 3.3 IBU
- I mashed at 154F and ended up with 1.067 wort, which I cooled down to the low 50s. I pitched a 2L starter of kolsch yeast, and fermentation kicked off within 12 hrs. I kept the ambient temperature at 50F in my fermentation freezer, which will hopefully yield low/no fruitiness. I’m also planning on lagering for at least 2 months in the mid-30sF after kegging.
- during the mash, I bottled my experimental small braggot, which finished at 0.99 for an abv of 5.15%. not bad for a beer that started at 1.035!
- during the boil, I ran an additional sparge over the grain bed and collected 2.5 gallons of second runnings, which I added .5oz of tettnanger hops to at the start of a 60 minute boil. at flame out I added around 2 lbs of local honey, ending up with a gallon of wort with an OG of 1.071. I pitched a small portion of the kolsch starter at ambient temperature (~70F) and the wort was active by the end of the day. there is some debate as to what specifically constitutes a “braggot,” but I figured that with close to 50% of the fermentables being provided by honey, the style was appropriate.
- additionally, while cleaning out my mash tun, I started thinking about spent grain reuse. I ended up sprinkling a few pounds onto one of my planters as compost and bringing four cups of grain inside for some dog treats. after checking the fridge and realizing that I only had almond butter (which may be toxic to dogs), I decided to make spent grain bars for humans instead. the recipe is as follows:
- 2 cups grain
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup honey
- cinnamon to taste
- I ended up doubling the above recipe and baking 3/4″ thick bars in a baking pan. after hitting the bars at 350F for 30 minutes, I cut them into squares and finished them for another 45 minutes at 225F. the bars are chewy, not too sweet, and make a great morning snack. to say they are “high in fiber” is a gross understatement, so don’t go eating the whole batch in one sitting. for the dog treat version, I would swap peanut butter for almond butter, leave out the chocolate, cherries, and cinnamon, and bake at 1/4″ thickness at 225F until completely dry to avoid having to refrigerate. enjoy!