For more on brewing this style, see Make Your Best Oktoberfest. And for more on the style’s divergent traditions, see Oktoberfestbier: Brewing the World’s Most Famous Party Lager.
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
4.6 lb (2.1 kg) Maris Otter
4.6 lb (2.1 kg) Munich
11 oz (312 g) Weyermann Caramunich I
0.55 oz (16 g) Magnum at 60 minutes [26 IBUs]
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
Mill the grains and mash at 152°F (67°C) for 75 minutes. Recirculate until the runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6 gallons (23 liters) of wort, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. After the boil, chill to about 50°F (10°C). Aerate thoroughly and pitch plenty of healthy yeast. Ferment at 50°F (10°C) for 4 days, then allow the temperature to rise by about 1°F (about 0.5°C) per day for the next 10 days, ending at room temperature (~70°F/21°C) for an additional 7 days. Crash, package, and carbonate to about 2.25 volumes of CO2 and condition cold for 6–10 weeks.
Mill 12 oz (340 g) of Caramunich I and steep in a mesh bag at 160°F (71°C) for 30 minutes. Remove the bag and allow it to drain into the wort. Bring the wort just to a boil, then switch off the heat. Add 8.7 lb (3.9 kg) of pale ale dry malt extract (DME) in portions, stirring constantly to avoid scorching and to ensure it dissolves completely. Return to a boil and continue as above.
Hops: We’re starting to see Oktoberfests with a bit more hop expression these days. Feel free to add a light Noble hops addition late in the boil or at whirlpool—Hallertauer Mittelfrüh is a classic option, sweet and floral.
Maturation: I find that Oktoberfest hits its stride at about 12 weeks, but you should be able to count on flavor stability for more than 6 months. The malt becomes more pronounced with time; at a year, it can become more toffee-like—and then it’s time to brew a fresh batch.