Hubert Hanghofer has a pretty good reputation in Germany.  Unfortunately his excellent book is not translated into English.  In his work he lists several interesting recipes.   One for a “Ur-Märzen” — which suggests a Oktoberfest beer done in the old-fashioned, original way.  And a recipe for the beer that made Anton Dreher famous:  “Klein-Schwechater Lager”.   Note that the last recipe received two different treatments in two different editions of the book.
The Theresien Ur-Märzen is interesting because of its high content of Vienna Malt — of which I am becoming increasingly fond. The Oktoberfest beers of times past where much darker than they are today, and it’s nice to see someone actually publishing a useful recipe for lager beers (If you think the book “Brewing Bavarian Helles” will teach you that then you are in for a surprise.  The recipes are terrible and the history is wrong as well.  Read it if you have a good sense of humour and enjoy that sort of thing).  But I digress…

Note that I made a few small adjustments from the original recipe, mainly to fill out the blanks in areas such as fermentation.  I omitted the addition of Caramalt — of which I am not fond of at all (see note in the grist section).  The IBU has increased by a few points as well.  This is to compensate for the 25% loss of bitterness during the long conditioning period.  The original recipe lists 22 IBU — which I deem to low.  At 24 IBU the beer will sport 18 IBU after the conditioning period.  That’s really the lowest it should ever be when it comes to that style.

For those amongst you who would like to give it a go, here is how I go about it:

  • 50l of cold wort
  • 24 IBU original, 18 IBU after at least 30 days conditioning at 0°C
  • Est ABV 5.7%
  • Est Colour 20 EBC (It’ll be less if you are taking great care not to introduce oxygen during the hot phase).
  • Overall Brewhouse Yield: 83.3%


Temporary hardness should be below 10° dH.  Add Acidulated Malt or Calcium Chloride only.  Do not add any Sulphate ions!

  •  33 litres of water for the main mash
  •  31 litres sparge water


  • 50% Vienna Malt
  • 20% Pilsen
  • 30% Munich Malt

Hanghofer adds 6% Carahell — but I think this is a very bad idea in something that is already a decoction mash with boil times approaching the longer limit for bright lagers.  You may add it if you like, probably at the detriment of Munich Malt, but I’d go for the larger amount of Munich Malt any day 🙂


ph = 5.4 to 5.6

It’s a classic Hochkurz decoction mash but with a short rest at 57°C in order to help the enzymes dissolve and produce a bit more FAN for the yeast.  Start to dough-in with the water at 66°C which should bring the lot down to 57°C.  After a pause of 10 minutes, 13l of water at 77°C are added.   This brings the total grist to 63°C.  After a 30 minute pause, 11l of thick mash is decocted and converted at 72°C until it passes the iodine test (15-20 minutes).   It is then boiled for 10 minutes and returned to the mash to raise the temperature to 71°C.  After a 30 minute rest, 13l of thin mash are decocted and immediately brought to the boil.  After 15 minutes boil, return to main mash to achieve the mash-out temperature at 76°C.


  • Boil time 100 minutes
  • 50g Tettnanger @ 3.6% aa, first wort
  • 100g Tettnanger @ 3.6% aa, 80 minutes
  • Adjust wort to pH 5.1 post-boil if necessary


I prefer the Bavarian cold fermentation schedule.  Only try this if you understand how to work with yeast!  The temperatures are indeed very low and the fermentation may not start.  If the fermentation doesn’t start after 24hrs the temperature should be raised to the ones recommended by the manufacturer (which is in the range for the warm bottom fermentation around 10-12°C).

  • 4 packs of WLP830 or Wyeast 2124
  • 1 tsp of yeast nutrient
  • Pitch at 5°C
  • Temperature is raised to 8°C after 12hrs.
  • Fermented at 8°C until extract drops just below or at 5°Plato
  • Racked into Cornie Keg and secondary fermentation at 5°C
  • Spunden at 0.8 Bar
  • After one week in secondary, drop temperature slowly until you reach 0°C.
  • Drop the temp by about 0.5°C a day!  Don’t go to quickly or the yeast will stall.
  • Spunden at 0.5 Bar
  • 6 weeks Conditioning/Lagering
  • Then I drop the temperature to -3°C
  • After two days I either:
    • Umdrücken so I don’t have a sediment in the serving keg
    • Filter at 0.5 micron

This is pretty much how I ferment all my bottom fermenting beers.   Hope you like it!