Festivus Simplex

Time for another lager! I’ve been doing a decent number of fairly simple and light German and Bohemian style lagers; with the changing seasons, why not try something more fall-appropriate? I put together a “simple” recipe that is in the general vicinity of a festbier/Oktoberfest, with a focus on Munich malt. It doesn’t precisely fit the BJCP category, though. So, it gets a pseudo-Latin name of Festivus Simplex!

20170826_075936 (1)One goal of this recipe was to really highlight Munich malt–I had initially considered 100% Munich, but thought that might be a bit overboard. So, the grist was balanced out with pilsner and Vienna malt, along the lines of some festbier recipes I found.

For the hops, I used US Tettnang (sourced from YCH Hops)–they are absolutely delicious smelling! This is the first time I’ve sampled a hop purported to be “spicy” that really was what I think of as spicy…almost like a spice poundcake, or something. I’ll be using more of this in the future.

I was on the fence about whether or not to do a decoction, right up until the point of mash-in, but in the end I went for it! For simplicity, though, I did just a single 15 minute decoction at the end; the goal is to burnish up the color and add a bit of extra flavor character.

Festivus Simplex

  • 4.5 lbs. Château Pilsen malt (Castle Malting)
  • 4 lbs. Munich I malt (Weyermann Malting)
  • 2.25 lbs. Vienna malt (Great Western Malting)
  • 1.5 oz. U.S. Tettnang hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 oz. U.S. Tettnang hop pellets (3.5% alpha), 10 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 0.5 tsp. Fermaid-K, 10 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. Saflager lager dry yeast (W34/70)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 150°, 60 minutes, 15 minute thick decoction at mash-out, batch sparge
  • 1.056 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 5.9% abv, 21 IBU, 6 SRM
  • Water adjusted to hit target of 85 Ca, 10 Mg, 13 Na, 39 SO4, 105 Cl, 115 HCO3, RA 47 ppm.

Procedure

  • I built up the water, using RO with minerals for the mash and plain Claremont tap water (with Campden tablet) for the sparge. For the mash water, I used 3.75 gallons of RO water with 1 g Epsom salt and 6 g calcium chloride, along with 2.5 mL of 75% phosphoric acid (for pH balance).
  • I mashed in with the strike water at 160°, to hit my target of 150° nearly spot-on (it was about 0.4° high, but I didn’t worry because I figured it would drop over the course of the mash).
  • After 45 minutes, I pulled ~2 gallons of thick mash, raised it to 160°, and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then, I brought it to a boil and boiled for 15 minutes before adding it back to the mash. This raised the mash temperature to 161°.
  • I let the mash rest for a few more minutes before adding 1.25 gallons of sparge water at 165°. I let this sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and drained the mash tun.
  • Then, I added 3.4 gallons of water at 165°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and drained the mash tun again.
  • In total, I collected 6.6 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.051–this equates to 84% efficiency! A higher efficiency than usual is pretty typical of my decoction mashes.
  • I brought the wort to a boil, and added ingredients per the schedule in the recipe.
  • After 60 minutes, I turned off the heat and chilled down to 85°. I couldn’t get much cooler with the current tap water, and completed the rest of the chill in the fermentation chamber. Once I was down to to 52°, I pitched the yeast.
  • Starting gravity was 1.056. I will be fermenting at 53° for ~2 weeks before doing a diacetyl rest.
  • I brewed this beer on 26 August 2017.
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