Recipe

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Oaktoberfest clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.048  FG = 1.008
IBU = 20  SRM = 7  ABV = 5.2%

An homage to a classic festbier utilizing all German ingredients with a Firestone Walker twist, lagering in oak barrels.

Ingredients
3.8 lbs. (1.7 kg) Pilsner malt
3.8 lbs. (1.7 kg) Vienna malt
1.6 lbs. (0.73 kg) Munich malt
0.45 lb. (204 g) CaraHell® malt
0.45 lb. (204 g) CaraRed® malt 
2.5 AAU German Tradition hops (80 min.) (0.4 oz/11 g at 6.3% alpha acids)
1.9 AAU Spalter Select hops (30 min.) (0.45 oz./13 g at 4.2% alpha acids) 
1.3 AAU Spalter Select hops (15 min.) (0.3 oz./9 g at 4.2% alpha acids)
0.3 oz. (9 g) German Tradition hops (0 min.) 
1 oz. (28 g) medium-toast French oak chips
SafLager W-34/70, Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager), or White Labs WLP830 (German Lager) yeast
¾ cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step
Mill grains and mash at 145 °F (63 °C) for 60 minutes. If possible, ramp to 152 °F (67 °C) for an additional 30 minutes. Take an iodine test to confirm conversion. Mash out at 168 °F (76 °C). Vorlauf until runnings are clear, then collect into the kettle. Sparge and top up as necessary to get about 6.5 gallons (24.6 L) of wort — or more, depending on your evaporation rate. Boil for 80 minutes, adding hops according to the schedule. 

After the boil, chill the wort to 48 °F (9 °C). Aerate wort thoroughly and pitch yeast. Top up with water if below 5.25 gallons (20 L). Ferment at 52 °F (11 °C). Increase fermentation temperature to 55 °F (13 °C) two-thirds of the way through fermentation for a diacetyl rest. Cold crash once fermentation is complete and diacetyl is clear.

When cold, or after a period of lagering in the primary vessel, transfer to another vessel and lager in a barrel, on oak chips, or oak spirals. When finished lagering, carbonate to 2.75 v/v and enjoy. Note: Duration in barrel or on wood chips/spirals depends on the strength of the wood, since you just want subtle wood character, not a full on barrel-aged beer. Taste regularly.

Firestone Walker Brewing Co.’s Oaktoberfest clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.048  FG = 1.008
IBU = 20  SRM = 7  ABV = 5.2%

Ingredients
3.5 lbs. (1.6 kg) Pilsen dried malt extract
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) Munich dried malt extract
0.45 lb. (204 g) CaraHell® malt
0.45 lb. (204 g) CaraRed® malt 
2.5 AAU German Tradition hops (80 min.) (0.4 oz/11 g at 6.3% alpha acids)
1.9 AAU Spalter Select hops (30 min.) (0.45 oz./13 g at 4.2% alpha acids) 
1.3 AAU Spalter Select hops (15 min.) (0.3 oz./9 g at 4.2% alpha acids)
0.3 oz. (9 g) German Tradition hops (0 min.) 
1 oz. (28 g) medium-toast French oak chips
SafLager W-34/70, Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager), or White Labs WLP830 (German Lager) yeast
¾ cup corn sugar (if priming)

Step by Step

Raise 3 gallons (11 L) water to around 152 °F (67 °C) to steep caramel grains. Exact temperature isn’t important since you are not mashing anything, just steeping. Place the CaraHell® and CaraRed® in a muslin bag and steep for ten minutes. Remove grain, letting liquid drain back into the kettle without squeezing bag to avoid extracting tannins. 

Meanwhile, pre-boil and chill 3.5 gallons (13.2 L) of water to use for topping up later.

Raise the temperature of your pot to near, but not quite, boiling. Add half of your total extract. (Add half now, half later to keep hop extraction in check.) It doesn’t matter how you divide the extract as long as it’s half of the total extract volume. Pour in extract and stir continuously to avoid clumping. Boil for 80 minutes, adding hops as indicated. With ten minutes remaining in the boil, take the pot off the heat source and slowly stir in the remaining malt extract, being careful to avoid boilover. 

After the boil follow the steps found in the all-grain recipes for fermentation and packaging.

Tips For Success:
Use caution and a light hand when it comes to the amount of time aging on oak. Second-use oak is preferred if it is clean of microbes. Sanitize with hot water if second-use. Oak character should be subtle. Avoid over aging and extraction of tannins. 

Weyermann is a great source for the base malt, but other maltsters can deliver a fine version of the beer. Any variation/manufacturer of the classic Weihenstephan lager yeast strain will work great. 

Issue: March-April 2023
bottle of unopened firestone walker oaktoberfest

Oaktoberfest has been part of the Firestone Walker lineup for about 20 years, but was originally a small volume beer brewed for Oktoberfest celebrations in and around the Paso brewery.