Pickelhaube Festbier

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This beer recipe from Amahl Turczyn is featured in the January/February 2016 issue of Zymurgy magazine. Join the American Homebrewers Association or start your 30-day free trial to access the Zymurgy magazine digital archive and other exclusive member benefits!

In the 1970s, Munich Breweries like Paulaner began to notice that paler versions of their Oktoberfestbier were selling better than the classic, full-bodied, copper-colored brew. So Paualaner initiated a return to the more Vienna-style Oktoberfest, which was lighter in body and color, in an an attempt to make it still taste great and yet be less filling.The result was festbier, which was adopted in 1990 os Oktoberfest’s official beer.

Festiber provides a wonderful opportunity to fine-tune the balance between malty flavor, clean lager character, crisp though not quite bitter noble hop accents, and drinkability.

Pickelhaube Festbier | Oktoberfest/Märzen


  • For 5.5 U.S. gallons (20.82 L)
    • 7.0 lb (3.18 kg) Pilsner malt (63.6%)
    • 4.0 lb (1.81 kg) Vienna malt (36.4%)
    • 1.0 oz (28 g) Hallertau pellets, 4.8% a.a. (FWH, 90 min)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Spalter pellets, 4.5% a.a. (10 min)
    • Bavarian or Munich lager yeast (2 L starter)
    • RO water treated with 1g/gallon calcium chloride


    • Original Gravity: 1.055 (13.5° P)
    • Final Gravity: 1.010 (2.5° P)
    • ABV: 5.9%
    • IBU: 21
    • SRM: 4.1
    • Boil Time: 90 minutes
    • Efficiency: 75%


    Mash in for a protein rest at 122° F (50° C) for 20 minutes. Pull your first decoction of about 9 quarts (9 L) and boil for 15 minutes. Add back to main mash and equalize at 150° F (66° C). Hold at that temperature for 60 minutes. Apply heat or boiling water to mash out at 168°F (76° C) for 10 minutes. Sparge, boil 90 minutes, and add hops at stated intervals. Chill and oxygenate when wort temperature falls below 80° F (27° C). Pitch a strong starter of yeast at 48° F (9° C). Fermentation temperature may be allowed to rise to 50° F (10° C). As fermentation slows, bring to 55° F (13° C) and hold three days for a diacetyl rest. When the gravity reaches 1.012 (3° P), crash to lager temperatures (35° F or 2° C) and lager the beer for two or three months (or until Oktoberfest).

    Partial Extract Version

    Mash Vienna malt at 150° F (66° C) for one hour using RO water. Drain, rinse with hot RO brewing liquor to desired volume, and dissolve 5.5 lb (2.49 kg) Pilsner malt extract syrup completely. Proceed with boil and hop additions. Resulting beer may be slightly darker (4.6 SRM) but still within style range.