Author Topic: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill  (Read 2579 times)

Offline BrewBama

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Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« on: September 08, 2014, 10:57:12 PM »
Is it me or is there a pretty close resemblance minus the yeast used. I brewed an Aletoberfest this past weekend and I felt like I've done this before. I checked my past Alt recipe and though the weights were ever so slightly different, the grains were the same. Maybe Alt turned into Oktoberfest when the king outlawed brewing in the summer months?!?!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 10:44:59 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2014, 12:49:48 AM »
I can see the similarity. However, to me Vienna is a major component of a 'fest. I can't recall ever using Vienna in an Alt, although I could certainly see it working as an accent note.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2014, 01:41:11 AM »
The Oktoberfest and altbier styles are indeed very similar, with a few subtle differences.  Certainly the yeast is a bit different, although if memory serves, it is becoming acceptable(?) to just go ahead and use a lager yeast to brew an altbier (or am I wrong??).  Beyond that, altbiers tend to be a little more bitter, with very subdued hop character.  A little hop flavor is more appropriate in an Oktoberfest beer IMHO, whereas with altbier the malt clearly dominates and the hops are more limited to bitterness without much flavor beyond some unavoidable noble spiciness.  Also, an altbier tends to be a little lower in original gravity than a fest beer, i.e., while both beers might be considered "session" styles, an altbier is generally the lighter of the two styles.  There are exceptions to challenge all of these general tendencies though.  And then there is also the sticke altbier that is greater in strength, and the newer Oktoberfest beer is more akin to a stronger yellow helles than to the amber Vienna and Munich malt based lagers of old.  So, indeed, the lines between styles can be blurry.  One thing is for certain -- these are all very tasty, malty, German style beers.  In both styles, the malt is king, and noble hops play a supporting role, though still important.  For instance, you wouldn't want to go anywhere near a C hop in these styles, it would just be wrong in my book as well as in the books of most other folks.  Some of the great things in life are just meant to NOT be Americanized, and these German styles are prime examples IMHO.  Just sayin'.  But you are right.  Just how much difference is there between styles, really.  Place a few examples side by side with no labels, take sips of each, and declare which styles are which.  Good luck with that.  But they're all great.
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Online ynotbrusum

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2014, 03:30:40 AM »
A neighbor has an Alt bier on tap and you are right, Dave.  I forgot how much I like the Altbier style brewed with a good cold fermenting ale yeast.  Damn near lager like, but just enough ale character to give it a difference.  I told my neighbor to remind me to brew it in the winter when I can warm it up to high 50's, rather than trying to get it into a cooler during the warm months.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2014, 10:40:29 AM »
To me there are big differences, if you are talking about Dusseldorf Alt vs Octoberfest. Dusseldorf Alt has a much stronger hop presence and the malt character is less strong. I have done Octoberfest alt biers which are basically Octoberfest grain bell with alt yeast and it isn't really very much like a proper Dusseldorf Alt.

North German Alt is more closer to an Octoberfest, perhaps.

Offline wingnut

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2014, 11:21:53 AM »
Yep, Alt beer leand more toward hops than malt compared to O'fest. 

I have won awards for both, and use the same malt bill for both.   For the alt, I do a single infusion mash, for the lager I do a three step mash.  The hops are increased for the Alt recipe.   For the O'Fest I usually do  a 60 and 30 minute addition, for the Alt I do a 60, 30, 10 additions. 

So as you observe, they are close in ingredients, but I approach them very differently. 
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Offline denny

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2014, 01:44:31 PM »
The thing to keep in mind is that in general it's only American versions of alt that include Munich.  That's very unlike Ofest.
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Online ynotbrusum

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2014, 06:11:08 PM »
The thing to keep in mind is that in general it's only American versions of alt that include Munich.  That's very unlike Ofest.

Kai uses Munich:

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kaiser_Alt

He's pretty German ;)
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2014, 01:38:59 AM »
The thing to keep in mind is that in general it's only American versions of alt that include Munich.  That's very unlike Ofest.

Kai uses Munich:

http://braukaiser.com/wiki/index.php?title=Kaiser_Alt

He's pretty German ;)

I think the ones in Duesseldorf go from low/no Munich malt character (Uerige) to very evident (Schumacher).

Bitterness goes from medium to very high (Uerige).

Kai's looks like it would make a Schumacher or maybe closer would be Im Fuchschen.
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Offline BrewBama

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Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2014, 11:17:47 AM »
Here's the Alt Bier grain bill I used

-- 4-lbs.-German-Munich-malt-
-- 2-lbs.-German-Dark-Munich-malt-
-- 3.5-lbs.-German-Pilsner-malt-
-- 0.5-lbs.-Weyermann-Caramunich-II

8 brews later, here's the 'fest bier grain bill I used

-- 5-lbs.-German-Pilsner-Malt-
-- 5-lbs-German-Munich-Malt-
-- 1-lb-German-Dark-Munich-Malt-
 --.5-lbs.-Weyermann-Caramunich-II

I just thought it was interesting the similarities outside hops and yeast. ...and the fact that I remembered there was a similarity 8 brews later is miraculous!

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« Last Edit: September 10, 2014, 11:29:59 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2014, 01:44:45 PM »
For those that think an Alt has to have Munich malt, this was posted on another forum by Mr. Denny Conn. The original source of the information knows how to brew an Alt.
http://hbd.org/discus/messages/40327/42592.html?1188251692
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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2014, 02:26:52 PM »
It's interesting to hear about the variances within the Alts - sounds like Saisons' variances almost.

Guess I will have to get some yeast and try a few different ways with this style!
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2014, 02:51:36 PM »
I'm sure there are all types of variances of Alt beirs in Dusseldorf. But the one's I have had didn't taste very much like an O'fest. Very distinct style IME.

And IMO an Octoberfest grain bill should be a Vienna base. That doesn't mean you can't brew a great one different from my opinion, though. :) 

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2014, 03:40:16 PM »
It's interesting to hear about the variances within the Alts - sounds like Saisons' variances almost.

Guess I will have to get some yeast and try a few different ways with this style!

Altbier has more variation than some styles, but you say it is an Alt when you get one in Duesseldorf. If you include the Northern German ones, then there is a fair amount of variation. Not as wide open as Saisons, though.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Oktoberfest vs Alt bier grain bill
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2014, 03:56:57 PM »

...... but you say it is an Alt when you get one in Duesseldorf.


That is a goal I hope to achieve in the next five years !   Along with several other styles in their cities of origin.
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