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Decemberfest Lager

Brewed: 12/12/2023   Kegged: 12/22/2023


decemberfest.jpgAround September, I thought I should brew an Oktoberfest lager. I never got around to it.

In October, I thought maybe a Novemberfest lager would be a good idea. I never got around to it.

In November, I thought maybe a Decemberfest lager would work. I never really got around to it until mid-December.

It probably won't be ready to drink before January, but I thought I could still call it Decemberfest as I was brewing it in December. And ... I might drink some of it before the end of the year.

Rather than the Marzen style, I went with more of a "Festbier". My first attempt at this style.

Batch #1 of this beer was my 6th batch that I brewed on my Anvil Foundry. 

This is one of those beers that both the Brew Master and the Beer Model like.

It is a beautiful golden lager. Not too light. Not too heavy. 

Not too malty. Not too hoppy.

Not too sweet. Not too bitter.

Just an awesome easy drinking lager. At 5.5% ABV, it isn't sessionable, but at the same time, it isn't a beer that will mess you up if you drink one or two.

Pretty much a beer-drinker's beer.


I brewed it again in 2021 using local maltster Root Shoot's Vienna malt, which has a significantly higher Lovibond.

The 2023 version went back to using "regular" Vienna malt.

For more information about this beer, see Sheppy's Blog: Decemberfest.

Decemberfest Lager --- Batch 3 (348)

Style Festbier Batch Size 5.50 gal
Type All Grain Boil Size   6.57 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency   68.00   Boil Time   60 minutes

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity 1.056 SG Estimated FG 1.012 SG
Recipe Bitterness 24.8 IBUs (Rager) Alcohol by Volume 5.9 %
BU : GU   0.443        
Recipe Color 6.8 SRM
Measured OG:   1.056   Measured FG:   1.010 
ADF:   81    Measured ABV:   6.1 


Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
7.49 gal Denver, Colorado Water 1 - -
6.00 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash) Water Agent 2 - -
4.00 g Calcium Chloride (Mash) Water Agent 3 - -
1.00 tsp Lactic Acid (Mash) Water Agent 4 - -
6 lbs 8.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 5 52.0 % 0.51 gal
5 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 6 40.0 % 0.39 gal
1 lbs Caravienne Malt (20.0 SRM) Grain 7 8.0 % 0.08 gal
1.000 oz Magnum [12.60 %] - Boil 25.0 min Hop 8 21.5 IBUs -
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 9 - -
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins) Other 10 - -
1.000 oz Tettnang (Tettnang Tettnager) [4.80 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 11 3.4 IBUs -
1.0 pkg Saflager Lager (DCL/Fermentis #W-34/70) [50.28 ml] Yeast 12 - -
0.50 tsp Gelatin (Bottling 1.0 days) Fining 13 - -

Mash Profile

Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 29.95 qt of water at 157.3 F 150.0 F 45 min
Heat Heat to 156.0 F over 10 min 156.0 F 20 min

If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort

Recipe Notes
Make 1.4 liter (6 cups) yeast starter a day before brew day.
Brewing salts in the mash water. This should bring Denver water profile (as defined by BeerSmith) to
Acid addition to bring calculated pH around 5.4
Brew as directed from recipe.
Cool wort to as close to 50 degrees as possible.
Ferment in 50's for about 5 days, let rise to high 60's for another week.
Keg carbonate.
After the keg is chilled, add geletin to keg.

Brewing Record

Brew Date:   Strike Temp:  
Mash Temps:  
Pre-boil OG   (1.050 SG)   Pre-boil Vol   (6.57 gal)
Actual Mash Efficiency   Pitch Temp    
Day 1: 
Day ... 
Day ... 

Click here to see previous recipes
Brewing Notes:
11/29/2023 esheppy
Bought my ingredients at Brew Hut today. Not sure when I'll brew. Maybe this weekend, but more likely the following.
12/09/2023 esheppy
Making a starter today. Brew day tomorrow.
12/10/2023 esheppy
Brew day went ok, but I tried to get it all done before church and ended up having to cut boil short and the wort sat while I went to church. I pumped into fermenter and left outside to let it cool via cold weather. Got down to 60ish, then I pitched and moved to basement. The spigot nut wasn't tight, so there was a leak. I ended up "sanitizing" my arm and putting it into the wort to tighten. I hope that doesn't cause problems. I guess we'll see.
12/11/2023 esheppy
Bubbling has started. Not very vigorous yet. Tilt says 1.052 at 55. A couple of points lower than yesterday.
12/12/2023 esheppy
Much more vigorous this morning. I forgot to switch out the ice last night, so the temp is up to 62ish. Put in new ice bottles and set the controller to 62. Tilt says 1.034.
12/14/2023 esheppy
Still bubbling. Tilt says 1.018 at 62. I expect I'll unplug the cooling pump tomorrow or the next day. Should be kegging in another week or so.
12/15/2023 esheppy
Still going. Tilt says 1.014 at 62 degrees. I'll let this go through the end of the day before disconnecting the temp control.
12/20/2023 esheppy
Seems to be done fermenting. Tilt says 1.010 at 68. Need to get this kegged soon.
12/22/2023 esheppy
Kegged. Tilt said 1.009 at 68. Measured FG at 1.010, but it might have been a bit lower. Nice gold color. Needs clarification for sure. 81% ADF. 6.1% ABV. Sample tasted pretty good. I did pick up a little pear ester, which I assume is a minor infection. Could be the higher fermentation temperature early in the process, though. Don't currently have a spot for the keg in cold storage, but I think Humdinger is about to blow. Will probably be drinking by New Year.
12/29/2023 esheppy
Humdinger did blow and keg has been in fridge for about a week. Added gelatin today. .5 tsp in about .75 cup of water.
01/01/2024 esheppy
Starting to clear up and carbonation is pretty good. The off flavor is still there. Not a dumper, but certainly not what this beer should taste like. Oh well.
01/05/2024 esheppy
Nice and clear now.
01/12/2024 esheppy
See through. Beautiful gold / amber color. Carbonation about perfect now. The off flavor seems to be fading.
02/02/2024 esheppy
Gorgeous beer. Tasting good.
02/09/2024 esheppy
Even though this isn't the best this recipe has ever turned out ... still good.
02/19/2024 esheppy
This is almost gone.
02/22/2024 esheppy
My son stopped by last night with a few friends. His friends sampled the beers I have on tap, and said they liked them. This was one of those beers.
02/25/2024 esheppy
The keg blew tonight. Started out a little shaky, but by the end was a wonderful amber lager.
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