Experimental Oktoberfest Ale Recipe

Oktoberfest Ale Homebrewing Recipe

Oktoberfest Ale Homebrewing Recipe

Some people like IPA’s and some people hate them, some folks out there will only drink lagers while others like barrel aged stouts. It is rare when you find a beer that just about everyone will enjoy.  I am not sure if I have accomplished that, but so far everyone that has tried this experimental Oktoberfest has liked it!

So why do I call it experimental?  Well, about a month ago some friends and I were sitting at a brewery having beers and one suggested that we should brew up an Oktoberfest since October was approaching.  I chimed in that we did not really have enough time to pull off a traditional lager.  So we discussed it and decided that maybe we should do an Oktoberfest Ale, and in stead of stopping there, perhaps we can do an American twist on it and celebrate both German and American brewing heritage with it.  So I worked on a recipe that did just that.  I used both German and American grains and a single German hop, with higher than normal IBU’s and an American Ale Yeast!  The results were a beautifully balanced beer, with a rich color and notable flavor!

Oktoberfest Ale All Grain Home Brewing Recipe

Oktoberfest Ale All Grain Home Brewing Recipe

 

So here is my crazy recipe.  One of the only tweaks I would make is removing the 2oz’s of roasted wheat ( I removed it from the home brewing recipe listed here) .  I added it for some additional color at the last minute and I probably should not have.  The color is beautiful but a little too dark for an Oktoberfest.

Beer Name: Kaiser Washington Oktoberfest Ale
Style: American Oktoberfest Ale
Estimated OG: 1.056
IBUs: 40.0
Color: 16.2 SRM
ABV: 5.6

Mash Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.2 %
2 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2 15.2 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 3 7.6 %
Boil Ingredients
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
1.00 oz Mandarina Bavaria [8.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 26.7 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6
1.00 oz Mandarina Bavaria [8.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min Hop 7 13.3 IBUs

I fermented with Wyeast 1056 American Ale and used a touch of biofin clarifier to really make it shine after fementation completed.  Just make sure you cold condition it for at least 2 weeks before passing judgement!

If anyone decides to brew it, please let me know what you think!

Beer Boiling In A Brew Kettle

Beer Boiling In A Brew Kettle

Cleaning the stainless steel conical fermenter

I have been brewing for quite a while now and over the years I have purchased a lot of home beer brewing equipment.  This 7 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter may be my best home brew purchase.  Initially when I started out home brewing, I was fermenting in 6 gallon glass carboys.  I would use two of them, one for primary fermentation and the other for secondary fermentation.  They were heavy, took up a lot of space, were difficult to move around, did not shield my homebrew from light, were a pain in the ass to clean and I had broken at least 2 of them over the years when they either cracked or the top sheared off when coming in contact with the ground.  Worst of all was knowing that if I had dropped one while relocating it that I was probably in for a trip to the hospital because those broken fragments of glass are sharper than knives.

This SSBrewTech conical fermenter on the other hand is honestly the perfect fermentation vessel for home beer brewing in my opinion.  It holds 7 gallons of fermenting beer, wine or cider; which is the perfect size for a 5 gallon batch.  It allows you to both dump trub and harvest yeast via its large 1.5″ valve at the conical base, it has a rotating racking arm, which I upgraded to MoreBeer’s ultimate racking arm. That is an upgrade that I would highly recommend.

More Beer Conical Fermenter Racking Arm Upgrade

More Beer Conical Fermenter Racking Arm Upgrade

It does not allow light to come in contact with your home brew, you can conduct CO2 transfers to eliminate any contact with oxygen, comes with a thermowell for temperature regulation, fits in most chest freezers (if you reduce the leg size) and is incredible easy to clean. In addition to that it is inexpensive for a high end piece of stainless steel home brewing equipment.  MoreBeer currently has them on sale for just $399 and they ship for free! If you are looking to buy a stainless steel conical fermenter, they can be purchased here.

7 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter Best Price

7 Gallon Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter Best Price

I have been using mine for I think right about 2 1/2 years now and it has been worth every penny that I paid for it.  It is high quality and the handles on the side are welded strong, so I never need to worry about one busting off, even when it is fully loaded!

SS Brew Tech 7 Gallon Stainless Steel Home Brewing Fermenter

SS Brew Tech 7 Gallon Stainless Steel Home Brewing Fermenter

Transferring the cider to the keg

The cider wrapped up its fermentation, so I transferred the cider from the stainless steel conical fermenter over to a 5 gallon keg.  I also moved the oak cubes to the keg to let them age and condition with the cider.  It can take months for the oak to impart any significant flavors upon the cider, so as the cider ages the flavor should become more complex.  As of right now the cider is extremely hazy as you can see from the photos.  Hopefully after a week or so in the kegerator at low temperature, the yeast will fall out and the cider will become clear!

Home Cider Making

Home Cider Making

After transferring to the keg, I connected the CO2 line, purged any oxygen that I could from the keg and connected the out line to the new tap that I created. If all goes well I will have some delicious cider to enjoy here in about 1-2 weeks. I am already contemplating ways to make it better. For my next batch, I want to eliminate the dextrose in exchange for a purely apple base, try to round out the body, add in some Oregon sour cherries and do a little research on the best way to back sweeten a cider.  If all goes well, I can eliminate the need for a kit all together!  I will keep you posted on my progress on making hard apple cider at home!

Home Brewing Video – Loading up the mash tun with my batch of Oktoberfest homebrew grains and water from the HLT

Loading up the grain mill for my latest batch of homebrew.  This is my experimental Oktoberfest All Grain recipe.  For this batch, I only used Mandarina Bavaria hops!  I should know shortly how it came out and will be posting the recipe if it works well!  I brewed it on a home built brewing rig and use 20 gallon Blichmann Boilermaker kettles, gas fired burners and an electric home built RIMS system.

Step By Step Guide to Making Hard Cider At Home

How to make hard cider at home #cider #brew #brewing #hard #howto

How to make hard cider at home #cider #brew #brewing #hard #howto

In the past I have probably brewed more than 50 batches of home made beer but was in the mood to try something a little different. Since fall is upon us, I figured I would try brewing up a batch of hard apple cider! Based on my research, there are a few ways of making cider, but since this is my first time doing so, I figured I would keep it simple and use a kit. Cider ingredient kits are great because they have almost everything needed to get started for your first batch of cider! Please be aware that most of them require you to supply dextrose / corn sugar. I also decided to add some oak to add a little complexity to my cider; it is not required to make good cider but I enjoy it.  Here is a list of the items that I purchased, you can click the links if you need to purchase any of the items:

1) Cider House 6 Gallon Home Cider Kit
(There are a variety of kits available, this was one I found at a good price)
2) Wyeast Liquid Cider & Mead Yeast
(The kit actually comes with yeast, but I figured I would step things up a notch with some specialized liquid yeast)
3) Toasted American Oak Cudes
(Not required but should enhance the complexity of the cider)
4) 3 LBS of Corn Sugar / Dextrose
(The recipe called for 2 LBS but I like to live on the edge)

STEP 1 – Boiling Water & Sugar

After reading all of the directions that were included with my home cider making kit, I was pleased to learn how simple the process was. Step #1 was to boil 1 gallon of water with the dextrose that I purchased. The dextrose that I used was actually initially purchased for carbonating beer, but since I almost always keg now, I decided it to put it to good use for my batch of home made hard cider!

Corn Sugar - Dextrose for making cider at home

Corn Sugar – Dextrose for making cider at home

I used a large stainless steel kettle to heat 1 gallon of water.  Once the water was hot, I began to add the dextrose and slowly stir it.

How to make hard cider #cider

How to make hard cider #cider

Make sure that you use a large enough pot to boil the water and dextrose. If the boil becomes to rapid, you can have a boil over and those are no fun to clean up!  I let my water and sugar boil for approximately 10 minutes and then turned the burner off. At that point your should let your water and dextrose solution cool down.  You can either let it sit in an ice bath with a lid covering the kettle, use an immersion chiller or add some ice to the kettle; just be careful to keep everything sanitary.

Animated Cider Making Gif

Animated Cider Making Gif

STEP 2 – Clean and Sanitize

Just like home beer and wine making, cleanliness and sanitization are critical to making great cider! At this point you will want to make sure that you clean and then sanitize anything that will come in contact with your cider or water dextrose solution! Both the water and apple cider concentrate are loaded with sugars and any bacteria or wild yeast strains lurking about would just love to get hold of it! So make sure you sanitize your fermentor and any implements that will come in contact with your home made cider.  I recommend Star San, but you can use any odorless and tasteless food grade sanitizer.

The cider fermentor that I use is a 7 gallon stainless steel fermenter which I first cleaned with PBW and then sanitized with Star San. If you are looking for an incredible cider fermenter, I highly recommend this one and you can get it for a great price and with free shipping. You can also use plastic fermentation buckets, or glass carboys as cider fermentors. If using a glass carboy, just be very careful not to add boiling hot liquids as the fermentors can shatter making for an incredibly dangerous situation! There are also stainless steel 7 gallon brew bucket fermenters for just $229.

Stainless Steel Cider Fermenter #cider #fermenter #fermentor

Stainless Steel Cider Fermenter #cider #fermenter #fermentor

STEP 3 – Add The Ingredients To The Fermentor

The next step is to add your different home cider ingredients to the sanitized fermenter.  I first added in my boiled water and dextrose solution.  Be careful as this still may be very hot!  Next I added in the package of apple cider concentrate that came with my kit.  Make sure that you sanitize the outside of the package and even the scissors that you use to open the kit, just to be safe! After pouring in the mixture, rinse the pouch with filtered and dechlorinated water (I use a carbon filter and seen in the photo, which highly reduces chlorine levels); and add the water to the fermentor.  I then tossed in my oak cubes and filled the fermentor to the 5.5 Gallon level. The home made cider directions recommend filling it to the 6 gallon mark, but as I mentioned earlier, I like to live on the edge! You will want to make sure that your fermentor can support at least 7 gallons if not more!  Keep in mind, the more sugar you add and the less water you add, the stronger your cider will be!  So use caution!

Animated Gif On Making Hard Cider At Home #hard #cider #home #brewer #making #how #to

Animated Gif On Making Hard Cider At Home #hard #cider #home #brewer #making #how #to

STEP 4 – Check Your Temperature

Yeast is a delicate and will parish if the temperature of your cider is too high! The ideal fermentation temperature for cider is between 65F – 70F.  So, cool your cider down to no more than 70F before you add your yeast to the cider mixture. You also do not want your temperature too low or else the yeast will not activate, so try to get it above 65F.  I use a converted chest freezer with a digital temperature controller as a fermentation chamber so that I can keep a stable fermentation temperature.  If you do not have access to one, do your best to keep your cider fermentor in an area that has a stable temperature of approximately 67F.  Keep in mind that the fermentation process generates heat and your cider will be warmer than the ambient temperature of the room that the fermentor is residing in.

STEP 5 – Add Your Yeast To The Cider

Next add your yeast to the fermentor! The fermentation process for you cider will take about a week to complete, but may take more or less time depending on a variety of factors including temperature, quantity of yeast, health of yeast, quantity of available sugar and type of yeast.

Brewing Hard Cider #cider #brewing

You should begin to see fermentation activity within 24-48 hours of pitching your yeast.  If bubbles are not forming in your air lock, your yeast may not have been healthy enough for fermentation and you will need to add new healthy yeast as soon as possible.  It is always wise to keep some dry cider yeast on hand, just in case this occurs.  Dry cider yeast is far more durable than liquid cider yeast.

Fermenting My Hard Cider #cider #fermenting #fermenter #fermentation

Fermenting My Hard Cider #cider #fermenting #fermenter #fermentation

After the fermentation is complete almost all of the sugars will have been converted over to alcohol and the cider will be very dry.  So at that point I will add a sweetener to the cider that the yeast in unable to convert.  This will help to intensity the apple flavors in the cider.  At that point I will also keg and carbonate my cider and it will be ready to server approximately 7 days after that.  Once completed I will post the results!

You can purchase everything that you need to make cider at home at MoreBeer.com.  Here are links to some of the items I use! MoreBeer is great because you get free shipping on any order over $59, they have some of the lowest prices available on home cider making ingredients and cider making equipment and incredible customer service!

Cider Making Ingredient Kits
7 Gallon Stainless Steel Cider Fermentor
Cider Yeast
Cider Oak Cubes

If you have any questions or comments on home cider making, please let me know!

Cleaning kegs in preparation for the next batch of homebrew!

Home Brewing Keg Animated Gif #keg #cleaning #home #brewing #animated #gif #homebrew #beer #home #brewery

Home Brewing Keg Animated Gif #keg #cleaning #home #brewing #animated #gif #homebrew #beer #home #brewery

Based on my estimated, home beer making is about 75% brewing and 25% cleaning.  I had recently drained a couple of kegs so today it is time for me to clean them and my taps in preparation for my experimental Oktoberfest Ale and my next to be determined batch of homebrew.  Thankfully for home brewers, there are cleaning solutions out there like PBW home brewing clean that can help with the job.

 

How to clean a keg

My keg cleaning process is pretty simple. I place a keg tap head on the output post of the keg, so that the dip tube of the keg can pass fluid, I then flush the keg post and dip tube with water and rice any yeast, trub or particulates from the keg.  After doing that 2 to 3 times until the keg is visibly clean, I add in a scoop of PBW and fill the keg up to the rim with PBW solution. I then allow it to sit for at least an hour.  I then flush the keg and dip tube again and inspect the keg.  At this point I may or may not remove the posts for a more complete cleaning and run a brush through the dip tube.  I then spray sanitize the kegs for storage.

If you need home brewing cleaner, I highly recommend PBW ( Powdered Brewery Wash).  It is fantastic.  Whatever you do, do not use household dish soap unless you have no other choice.  I dish washing detergent would be a better choice.  For a food grade sanitizer I recommend star san.  They both can be purchased via the following link at a great price!

Home Brewing Cleaners and Sanitizers

Brewery Bar Stool

Home Brewer Seating

Beer Brewery Keg Stool


For today is project I welded up a old decommissioned 5 gallon brewery keg and made myself a new home brewery stool with an adjustable height seat.

I had bought a cheap stool for the base materials and cut it up to be used for parts. The items did not fit together perfectly so there was a good deal of cutting, grinding, welding and finishing. All in the project took about 3 hours but I am happy with the results. Having the ability to adjust the height on the seat comes in pretty handy depending on what project I am working on.  The additional legs around the base of the keg adds some stability to the stool in case one of my friends has had a few too many!

The tools that I used to make my brewery stool were a mig welder, grinder, hack saw / cut saw, wire brush, hammer and a little sand paper for finishing. If you would like to make your own brewing throne, brewery stool, keg stool or keg seat and have any questions, please feel free to ask or leave a comment.  I am always happy to help out!

Brewery Keg Stool #homebrew #keg #stool #bar #brewing #beer #brewery #chair #idea

Brewery Keg Stool #homebrew #keg #stool #bar #brewing #beer #brewery #chair #idea

Home Brewing Keg Stool, Keg Chair or Beer Brewing Throne!

Keg Chair Keg Stool Brewing Throne #homebrew #keg #chair #stool #seat #throne

Keg Chair Keg Stool Brewing Throne #homebrew #keg #chair #stool #seat #throne

It was just about brew time and one of my buddies showed up with a wonderful gift for me!  He crafted me a keg stool, keg seat or keg throne; however you want to label it!  To me it is an awesome addition to my home brewery and I am very grateful for him having made it for me!  He used a 5 gallon beer keg and an old tractor seat to make this one and says he may also be making a different version of his keg chair!  If he does I will be sure to post some photos of that as well.

#homebrew #home #brewing #beer #homebrewing #brewer #homebrewer #keg #chair #stool #seat #throne