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Home Brewing a Maple Marzen

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This was the third of four beers I have brewed since September. Unfortunately, none of them turned out how I had hoped. Due to a mixture of getting busy and the holiday season, I was not able to devote as much time to watching these beers through the process. Regardless, of the outcome I want to give you a quick update on how they turned out.

I added 12.5 oz of Maple syrup during the boil in hopes that it would lend a sweeter character to a rich malty beers. I used at Oktoberfest Lager yeast making this the first lager I’ve attempted to make. Not having a fridge space to properly ferment in led me to place it in the garaged during the Fall months. This was not the best choice as the constant fluctuation in temp from day to night seems to have shocked the yeast. As a result, I do not think it fermented thoroughly and might have produced some off flavors. Not having much hope for a good outcome I used 2.5 gals to test out my new keg. This turned out disastrous as it had a leak and the beer never carbonated and soiled. The remaining 2.5 gals were bottled and cellared for some time. About three weeks ago I placed the bottles in the fridge for consumption.

Appearance: Pre-fridge it poured a clear bronze with colors highlights of Fall leaves. The head was relatively minimal, but overall the beer did look like a legitimate Oktoberfest beer (close to Spaten). Post-fridge it is now a cloudy bronze and lacks any head only producing a couple bubbles. It looks like some kind of chill haze.

Aroma: A mixture of maple syrup and malts where the syrup overpowers. It does not have a crisp clean lager scent, but rather a sugary nose (caramel). I can barely make out the hops and thankfully I do pick up minor bready and biscuit notes. Basically, it smells like wort rather than a fully fermented beer.

Taste: Watery, weak, sweet, sugary, and tastes like I put too much syrup in it. I do notice the 2 oz of Hallertau hops I used to bitter and 1 oz. of Saaz for finishing. They give an earthy finish to the sip. There is a slight lager characteristic, but for the most part, I feel like I’m drinking wort.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium with a watery texture. The aftertaste had a high sugar residue with a pungent subtle bitterness. Minor carbonation suspended in beer that adds a little life.

I hope to re-brew this batch without the maple syrup and properly ferment it at a consistent temp.

Grade: D

  1. a moment of silence for Maple Marzen. Maybe worth investigating the amount of maple syrup to add, or like you said, forget it all together. I know the Marzen I made around Halloween (also first lagered batch ever), turned out great and I will brew it again and again for fall. lets compare notes.

    Matt — March 16th, 2010, 11:16 AM
  2. Yeah…it was an experiment and I did not have adequate fridge space. I’d love to compare notes!

    Tom — March 16th, 2010, 1:00 PM
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