Homebrewing Martin Keen’s Oktoberfest/Märzen

With this year being quite different I decided to brew my own beer for an at-home Oktoberfest celebration instead. After looking around at a few different recipes I settled on Martin Keen’s Oktoberfest/Märzen recipe.

Recipe Source: Martin Keen via Homebrew Academy

Beer Specifications

Beer Name:Oktoberfest/Märzen
Beer Style:Lager
Recipe Type:All Grain
Pre-Boil Volume:6.5 gallons / 24.61 litres
Batch Size:5.5 gallons / 20.82 litres
Estimated SRM:8-17°
Estimated IBU:18-24
Estimated OG:1.054 -1.060
Estimated FG:1.010 – 1.014
Estimated ABV:5.8 – 6.3%

Grain Bill/Fermentables

7Vienna Malt
3Munich Type I
8 ozAromatic Malt
8 ozCaramel 60
8 ozCarapils
8 ozWheat Malt


0.7560 minPerle
0.515 minHallertauer
0.55 minTettnang


1White Labs #WLP820 (Oktoberfest/Marzen Lager)

Fermentation Schedule

35 daysPrimary
14 daysBottle Conditioning


Mash Temperature:152°F / 66.7°C
Mash Time:60 min
Boil Duration:60 min

This is of course a pretty straight forward recipe but I wanted to do my best to capture that classic Oktoberfest water chemistry. I settled on a profile from Brewfather using the following additions:

  • 0.7 g Calcium Chloride (CaCl2)
  • 0.6 Epsom Salt (MgSO4)
  • 0.6 Gypsum (CaSO4)

A clean and standard brew day had me ending up with an Original Gravity (OG) of 1.045 which was quite a bit off mark. I’m really not sure what might have caused my efficiency to be so far off.

As this is a lager I let the fermentation go as long as I could before I had to get it bottle conditioning (otherwise I would have missed my Oktoberfest timeline!). All told it sat for about a month and a half in the fermenter. The Final Gravity (FG) measured at 1.010, hitting the target, for an ABV of 4.59%.

Tasting Notes

SmellA well rounded if not muted scent. Hints of complexity but nothing overly so.
AppearanceA bit darker than I was expecting which made me wonder if it oxidized a bit. Still has a good rocky head when poured and definitely looks the part.
TasteNot the easy guzzler that you might find in North American Oktoberfest celebrations but overall well rounded. A little too soft for my tastes so I would probably change the water chemistry up a bit if I were to rebrew this again.
YieldThis brew cost $29.60 in ingredients to make and yielded 48x355ml bottles ($0.62/bottle)

As classic German styles go this one actually turned out pretty well. My only real complaint with it is, as I said above, the very softness of the water so I would probably dial back the salt additions. That and next time I think I’ll try to give myself a bit more time to let the beer properly lager for a longer. Prost!

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