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Old 08-19-2012, 01:49 AM   #1
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Default Maibock Without Temp Control

So I'd like to brew a maibock, but unfortunately with the limited space I have there is no way to effectively temperature control a fermentation or lagering process. I am wondering, if I were to brew a maibock with a grain bill, hop profile, and yeast strain typical for the style but let it ferment at a typical ale temperature (in my case, about 72-75 degrees), what is the worst that can happen? I know it won't come out quite right, but I am curious, ya know? Is it worth trying? Would the yeast (probably WLP833) not even work?

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Old 08-19-2012, 04:33 AM   #2
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You'll make beer, but it won't be a Maibock in any sense of the term. So best to forget about that.

If you can swing a swamp cooler setup, a clean ale yeast fermented in the mid 60's, you can brew a pseudo-Maibock, but it will still have noticeable yeast character. At 72-75F, you'll get fruit salad with most common ale yeasts...the opposite end of the spectrum from a cleanly fermented lager.

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Old 08-19-2012, 04:59 AM   #3
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The first lager I did wasn't perfect but it worked. I do all-grain and I mash in a 10 gallon round igloo cooler. What I found is that a better bottle 5 gallon fits pretty well inside a 10G igloo. So... if you're willing to check it twice a day, you can keep it within a few degrees of what you need. Put cold water in around it and keep it at 55 for a week or two, then add ice twice a day to keep it down below 45. It won't be a perfect Maibock, but it'll be a lager. You don't need much space. An Igloo cooler is only a little bigger than a carboy.
Neccessity is the mother of invention, yanno.

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Old 08-19-2012, 01:16 PM   #4
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You can brew a pretty nice maibock if you use the California or San Fransisco lager yeast and have the ability to keep the ferment in the lower 60's (which is possible with a swamp cooler).

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Old 08-19-2012, 05:13 PM   #5
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Do what I do...wait til winter and ferment your lagers outdoors.

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Old 08-20-2012, 03:25 PM   #6
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I brewed a batch of Northern Brewer's Rye Maibock this spring. I don't have a way to lager, but fermented in the low 60's in the back of the basement using a 50/50 mix of S-05 and W/34-70. It turned out pretty clear and crisp without any fruitiness that I noticed. Not that I have the most sensitive palate but if there are any ale characteristics they are below the flavor threshold of the hops.
I plan on using the same yeast mix again this fall for an Oktoberfest Ale, it seems to be a pretty good combo for psuedo-lagering.

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Old 08-20-2012, 03:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cromwell View Post
The first lager I did wasn't perfect but it worked. I do all-grain and I mash in a 10 gallon round igloo cooler. What I found is that a better bottle 5 gallon fits pretty well inside a 10G igloo. So... if you're willing to check it twice a day, you can keep it within a few degrees of what you need. Put cold water in around it and keep it at 55 for a week or two, then add ice twice a day to keep it down below 45.
If he has the ability to keep it in the high 40s, why would he start it in the mid-50s? If you really can get it to the right temperature range, do so and use a lager yeast (be sure not to underpitch, which 97/100 new lager brewers do).
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Old 08-20-2012, 03:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
Do what I do...wait til winter and ferment your lagers outdoors.
Yeah, but who wants frozen beer?!
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Old 08-20-2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cromwell View Post
The first lager I did wasn't perfect but it worked. I do all-grain and I mash in a 10 gallon round igloo cooler. What I found is that a better bottle 5 gallon fits pretty well inside a 10G igloo. So... if you're willing to check it twice a day, you can keep it within a few degrees of what you need. Put cold water in around it and keep it at 55 for a week or two, then add ice twice a day to keep it down below 45. It won't be a perfect Maibock, but it'll be a lager. You don't need much space. An Igloo cooler is only a little bigger than a carboy.
Neccessity is the mother of invention, yanno.
Were you able to lager in this set up as well?
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Old 08-20-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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Yeah, but who wants frozen beer?!
Nobody! That's why I put the fermenter in a tub of water and an aquarium heater in the water!
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