Oktoberfest Bier, or Märzen has its origins in Bavaria ca. 16th century. As the story goes, it was historically brewed in brewed in March (März in German is “March”), assertively hopped and slightly higher alcohol content to allow the beer to last through the warmer months while lagering (aging) in cellars and caves and served during Oktoberfest. Original Märzen can be described as malt forward, caramel to dark brown, full-bodied, with moderate hop bitterness. Modern interpretations, or “Wiesn bier” more resemble Dortmunder Export.
As much as we like hop forward beers, Märzen or Oktoberfest/Wiesn beer, are more about malt, and should exhibit bready/biscuit malt notes, low to moderate malt sweetness, low level of caramel (on Märzen, more so than Wiesn styles). Fermentation character should be minimal and Marze/Wiesn/Oktoberfest Bier should be free of fruity esters or diacetyl. Our partner Proximity Malt has a variety of classic malts to help you brew this these lagers
See the Proximity Malt Variety Guide here
Hops for either interpretation should be of noble lineage and character. Hopping for more traditional interpretations should impart low, to moderate bitterness, and mild hop aroma. Taking some liberties as US Craft Brewers should, there is no shame in moving the hop needle a bit, to drive a bit more aroma and flavor intensity. If keeping with tradition of a classic style, we’d suggest Crystal, Zuper Saazer, or Willamette from our own farms. Or if you are more of a purist, Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Tettnang, Spält Select or Hallertau Tradition are great hops for a classic Oktoberfest.
Start planning a lager into your brew schedule soon so you can raise a stein and Prost this fall!
Contact us on the availability of these hops and malts for your Oktoberfest.