It’s that time of the year again and soon the surplus of the Oktoberfest brews will make it to specialist shops world-wide.

The modern Oktoberfest is much lighter than it used to be.   Here is a table of how they compare among each other.  One is not mistaken that the modern brew is simply a Helles brewed at higher gravity.

Brewery OG ABV Bitterness Colour (EBC) Brewmaster
Augustiner 13,8 6,4 19 7 Werner Mayer
Hacker-Pschorr 13,7 5,8 23 10 Andreas Höflinger
Hofbräu 13,7 6,3 26 9 Rolf Dummert
Löwenbräu 13,8 6,1 27 8 Michael Müller
Paulaner 13,6 6,0 21 8 Christian Dahncke
Spaten 13,7 5,9 24 7 Harald Stückle
Werner Mayer, Augustiner’s brewmaster (on the right)

The Hofbräu Oktoberfest was often my favourite.  I don’t know what happened last year, maybe my taste-buds turned? I found it way too salty and rather harsh to drink.  This said, everyone knows that it is a seasonal brew, so these kinds of variations are expected.

I once made a fest-beer that was quite close to the Hofbräu.  Here is the grain bill

Malt Colour (EBC) Amount
Pilsener 3,1 64%
Wiener 8,0 30%
Münchner 11,0 6%

It works really well with the classic cold fermentation and WLP838 — if one has enough time to wait for the sulphur to disappear (for me that’s usually 8 weeks in lager), alternatively any W34/70 strain, such as WLP820 will do nicely as well.  Other malt-forward lager strains should also be suitable.

The Hofbräu is quite floral.   So a good hop would be the tried and trusted Mittelfrüh or Spalt Select.  Nowadays I tend to favour Tettnanger and Hersbrucker, so this year its probably going to be them.   And because I don’t have time to wait, I’ll do an accelerated classic fermentation together with WLP820.

Let’s see how this turns out…