Sunday, October 18, 2009

Final analysis: Hoar Frost Oktoberfest

Last year we had some issues with our Hoar Frost Oktoberfest (check out the spin I put on it in this post). Then, I ordered an Oktoberfest import at a local beer bar that turned out to be in the style of a non-export Oktoberfest, which is more like a slightly stronger Helles than it is the copper lager they send Stateside. Between these two experiences, I decided to scratch last year's recipe and start from scratch. Having brewed a Helles fairly recently, I didn't want to make it exactly like the domestic German Oktoberfests, but I wanted it to be more like the domestics than the imports so I settled on a grain bill of 50% Pils and 50% Munich malts. The brew day went well. Now here are the results...

Style: Oktoberfest/Märzen. Orig. gravity: 1055. Final gravity: 1014.
ABV: 5.4%. IBU's: 25.

Appearance: The picture above is a bit deceiving between the background and the fact that I poured the beer into a 1-liter Maß. The color is a tad darker than a typical light lager, but not as dark as the Spaten or Paulaner Oktoberfests you find in your local liquor store (at least here in the U.S.). It's sort of a deep honey color; exactly what I was looking for. And since this was the first beer I filtered, it's nice and clear.

Smell: This is probably the sweetest-smelling beer I've ever brewed without crystal malts. It's that bready sweetness you only get from Munich malts. No noticeable hop aroma, no DMS, no esters or phenols. Nice.

Taste: Initially, a grainy Pilsner flavor greets the palate. However, as the beer sits in your mouth you start to pick up the depth of the Munich malts. I can't really think of any word to describe it other than malty. A nice, herbal grassy finish from the noble hops makes this far more balanced than the malt-forward Oktoberfests of Munich, but with time it's mellowed out quite well (initially when I brought this to my homebrew club's meeting as part of an Oktoberfest tasting it was more abrasively hoppy than any German varietals).

Drinkability: Yeah, you're drinking the one liter at a time whether you like it or not.

Overall: I'm really happy with this beer. I like the simplified malt bill. I like the melanoidins. I like the color. The only thing I'm thinking for next time is maybe drop the IBU's to an even 20 and perhaps up the gravity just a couple points. It may have been a little rough around the edges when I first tapped it, but now it's an easy drinker, perfect for throwing back while hanging out with friends or watching football or--best of all--both.


Blogger Señor Brew™ said...

Russ, did you use the dark Munich on this one? I'm guessing from the color you didn't.

8:10 AM, October 19, 2009  
Blogger Russ said...

You are correct, Señor. I used Briess Munich malt, which is 10°L.

11:47 PM, October 22, 2009  

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