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Resurgence Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest clone: Replicator

Dear Replicator, New breweries continue to pop up all over the country and Buffalo, New York is no exception. Resurgence Brewing is one that is climbing quickly in popularity and after ordering a flight on a recent visit, I now have a new beer in my top five list. Their Oktoberfest is by far the best I have ever had. You had me at the aroma. Never have I smelled a beer so good and so fresh. I swear it smelled just like I stuck my face in a bag of freshly crushed grains with powder and all. The taste certainly backed up what the nose registered into my brain. I loved it so much that I wrote the brewery a letter of compliment the next day. The Brewmaster, Dave Collins, replied with this: “Hey Bill, thanks for the email! I’m glad you appreciated our Oktoberfest brew! That beer is actually brewed to the Reinheitsgebot. It is all-German malt, German hops, and German yeast with no adjunct added at all. Sometimes ya just hit the nail on the head, huh? Thanks again.”

I thought that was really cool and I would so much love for you guys to give me a hand in replicating this recipe so I can enjoy this savory brew to have at home for myself.
Bill Serowski
Hamburg, New York

Well, Bill – you’re in luck. It turns out that Resurgence Brewing Company (RBC) owner Jeff Ware and Brewmaster Dave Collins were just as friendly and helpful with us as they were with you! They’re happy to offer their advice and assistance to get you from grain to glass, using the recipe on page 19.Resurgence Brewing Co. opened in 2014 in Buffalo, New York as a combination microbrewery and German beer garden. At the time, Buffalo’s craft beer market wasn’t as robust as in some other cities, but Resurgence and others have turned that around in dramatic fashion: At least seven breweries now call Buffalo home.

Resurgence’s name is a reference to the revitalization and renaissance of Buffalo itself, which is now a far cry from the post-industrial image that many might have. The brewery’s 3,500-square-foot beer garden boasts the occasional view of the construction cranes that are turning Buffalo into a new destination for visitors from the US and Canada. Owner Jeff Ware tells us that they’re now seeing a number of patrons from outside of the Buffalo area who, through very positive word of mouth and social media attention, have heard great things about Resurgence’s beer. Their offerings include four to five year-round beers and about a dozen specialty and seasonals. At any given time (today, in fact) there may be as many as 17 beers on offer in-house! These include barrel-aged and one-off beers that often sell out in as little as a day, a recently released Blood Orange Saison, and of course, the Oktoberfest that you loved. These beers are produced by Brewmaster Dave Collins, a graduate of Niagara College’s brewmaster’s course in Ontario, who learned his craft first in the college’s test brewery and then refined his skills as Head Brewer for Gordon Biersch in Syracuse, New York before hooking up with Ware to start brewing beer for Resurgence Brewing Co. Collins works together with Brewer Eric Greiner to develop and produce a wide range of beers for RBC.

And what fine beer it is. The Oktoberfest in question is absolutely a winner. My tasting notes indicate a wonderful and rich toasted malt aroma (the Munich really coming to the fore), with a hint of biscuit and toffee underneath. The flavor is full but not heavy: This is meant to be a malty beer, but in the German tradition it’s also meant to be a beer that can be enjoyed by the liter, and you’d have no problem doing so with Resurgence Oktoberfest. It finishes light and clean, with a lingering touch of bitterness that makes you want to go back in for another sip.

Oktoberfest (Festbier, Märzen) is an increasingly diverse style in the United States. They range from the paler versions that tend towards a more grainy, bready flavor profile all the way up to the coppery versions that are like small bocks and exhibit a much richer and toastier malt backbone. I found that Resurgence Oktoberfest threads that needle very well. It’s certainly not heavy, but it still manages to pull together a diverse range of malty characteristics. All in all, this is a beer that many will be able to wrap their palates around. This recipe produces a solid all-around, all-year lager. It’s traditionally released in the fall (of course), but I drank it in the dead of winter with no regrets, and I can easily imagine it as a go-to beer on a summer vacation. Bill, I definitely know what you are saying when you write that it reminds you of the smell of grain by the sack: This is a malt-driven beer, and it lets you know it right out of the gate.

I can personally attest to the fact that the courtesy and kindness that you received, was not a fluke. Jeff and David were immensely helpful in the development of the homebrew recipe for this beer, and I hope that you’ll bring them a bottle once you’ve brewed it! Around here we (obviously) believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and I’m certain they’d be grateful.

 

Resurgence Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.053 FG = 1.014
IBU = 25 SRM = 14 ABV = 5.4%

Ingredients

5 lbs. (2.3 kg) Pilsner malt
2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) light Munich malt (9 °L)
1.75 lbs. (0.8 kg) dark Munich malt (20 °L)
1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) Caramunich® I malt
0.75 lb. (0.34 kg) biscuit malt
7 AAU Perle hops (60 min.)
(1 oz./28 g at 7% alpha acids)
1⁄2 tsp. Irish moss
White Labs WLP830 (German Lager) or Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager)yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Mill the grains and mix with 3.5 gallons (13.3 L) of 164 °F (73 °C) strike water to reach a mash
temperature of 152 °F (67 °C). Hold this temperature for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until your runnings are clear. Sparge the grains with 3.8 gallons (14.4 L) of water at 170 °F (77 °C) and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 L) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the ingredient list and Irish moss as directed.

After the boil, chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 55 °F (13 °C). Aerate the wort with pure oxygen or filtered air and pitch yeast.

Ferment at 55 °F (13 °C) until fermentation is complete (about 1.014 specific gravity); you may want to increase temperature by a few degrees at the latter stages of fermentation to aid in diacetyl cleanup. Once the beer completes fermentation, bottle or keg and carbonate to approximately 2.5 vol-
umes. You may want to cold-crash the beer prior to packaging to 35 °F (2 °C) for 48 hours to improve clarity. Store carbonated beer at near-freezing temperatures for at least four weeks before drinking.

Resurgence Brewing Co.’s Oktoberfest clone

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.053 FG = 1.014
IBU = 25 SRM = 13 ABV = 5.4%

Ingredients

3 lbs. (1.4 kg) Pilsner liquid malt extract
1.9 lbs. (0.86 kg) Munich liquid malt extract
2 lbs. (0.91 kg) light Munich malt (9 °L)
1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) Caramunich® I malt
0.75 lb. (0.34 kg) biscuit malt
7 AAU Perle hops (60 min.)
(1 oz./28 g at 7% alpha acids)
1⁄2 tsp. Irish moss
White Labs WLP830 (German Lager) or Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager) yeast
3⁄4 cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Place crushed grains in one or more grain bags. Bring 6 qts. (5.7 L) of water to approximately 164 °F
(73 °C) mix grains into the water. Temperature should stabilize around 152 °F (67 °C). Hold for 60 minutes at this temperature. Remove the grain bags, place them in a colander and wash with 6 qts. (5.7 L) hot water then let drain fully. Add liquid extract while stirring, and stir until completely dissolved. Top off to 6 gallons (23 L) then bring the wort to a boil. Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops according to the ingredient list and Irish moss as directed.

After the boil, chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 55 °F (13 °C). Aerate the wort with pure oxygen or filtered air and pitch yeast.

Ferment at 55 °F (13 °C) until fermentation is complete (about 1.014 specific gravity); you may want to increase temperature by a few degrees at the latter stages of fermentation to aid in diacetyl cleanup. Once the beer completes fermentation, bottle or keg and carbonate to approximately 2.5 volumes. You may want to cold-crash the beer prior to packaging to 35 °F (2 °C) for 48 hours to improve clarity. Store carbonated beer at near-freezing temperatures for at least four weeks before drinking.

Tips for Success:
Being a lager, patience is really the name of the game. Don’t worry if the yeast takes a while to bring you down to terminal gravity (1.014), and don’t be in any hurry to drink this one. We’re giving you plenty of time to have it ready for your fall festivals! After bottling/kegging, give an appropriate interval and temperature to allow the beer to properly carbonate/condition, and then stick it in a fridge for a while. This beer is relying on its wonderful collection of malts for character, and you don’t need to worry about giving it time to let its flavors integrate. Also, don’t be too concerned if it seems awfully dark for an Oktoberfest: I can confirm that the recipe still leaves plenty of drinkability. I personally drank a crowler of it during this year’s Super Bowl, and I can verify that 32 ounces disappeared pretty easily.

Issue: July-August 2016