I really love Oktoberfest! The food, the music, the people...not to mention the BEER! Why should the spirit and flavors of this event only exist once a year? Not here at the LBBP! This festbier is an attempt to create a flavor profile that takes its cue from German biergartens, but ferments out with an ale yeast. The intent is to avoid a 5 month lagering period, but still simulate the taste and color one would expect from the style. From grain to glass I am hoping for an 8-10 week turnaround...
LBBP Festbier - brewed on 10/22/2011
The grains are all Weyermann products in this batch - Vienna malt: 2 lbs 8 oz - Pale Ale malt: 1 lb 8 oz - Munich Type II: 1 lb 2 oz - Caramunich I: 6 oz
-hallertau pellet hops: .85 oz @ 60 min " .15 oz @ 20 min
-Pacman yeast slurry
mash @152° - 60 minute boil - try to ferment in the low to mid 60°s 75% eff: OG 1.055 - IBU 21 - 5.3% ABV
ferment through 11/12/2011 - then add about an ounce of sugar to the keg to allow some natural carbonation to occur while aging/waiting for its spot in the kegerator (minimum early December). once the spot is open, let it chill for a day (to allow the natural CO2 to be absorbed) before hooking up to the CO2 tank.
~update 10/24/11: fermentation has started out great...visible action by the morning of the 23rd, and the temps have been holding between 63-66°. now if it will only stay there... ~update 10/28/11: still in the same fermentation temperature range! c'mon nature, don't fail me now! ~update 11/7/11: temperature have been holding nicely! seems like I need to clean out a keg ASAP...
Kegged on 11/13/11 - sample at this time was interesting. while warm it was a tad odd and fruity IMO, but when I chilled a shot glass worth, that fruitiness subsided and the malt character came through. Phew! I was actually a bit worried, but I think it'll work out just fine. I am thinking that I might try to chill and high pressure force carb this keg, just to see how that works out. Still plan on letting it age until Christmas though
~update 2/3/12: This has been sampled from time to time ever since Christmas, and it is now FINALLY getting drinkable. That "fruity" character is most definitely from the yeast, and not in a desireable way (the washing/storing/reusing process must not have worked out the way I had wanted it to with the Pacman. could have gotten "too old" or something like that as well). The nice thing is that the passing of time is causing that character to fade considerably. so I guess that this style of beer really does need the extra aging. the re-brew of Festbier will include a few tweaks, however, that "might" speed this process up, but should definitely add a stronger malt presence (thinking back to the 100th anniversary special festbier I had in Germany as a source of inspiration).
Back to this beer though! The dark golden pour is right in the realm that I was hoping for, and the white head fades into a thin ring that really doesn't leave much in the way of lacing. While not bad, the yeast off-flavor does mask the toasty malitness a bit (which is what I want the main flavor to be). So lesson learned here (if the yeast doens't seem right, it probably isn't), and I can't wait to have at it again. ~next recipe~