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Old 06-27-2010, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default Does Temp Really Matter

I really would love doing a nice Oktoberfest Lager for openning day at the Patriots game! But I don't have any way of temperature control....So is it really bad to brew a Lager at room temperatures around 70-74 or should I really try finding a way to cool it down? Does anyone know a quick fix to this problem, something around $50 or at the very least under $100?

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:17 PM   #2
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Search for swamp coolers.

basically just keep you primary in a bigger container surrounded by water and keep swapping out ice packs to keep it cold.

I bet you can make something for next to nothing.

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:20 PM   #3
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If you're going with the swamp cooler method, you'll probably want to get the California lager strain that will keep lager characteristics up to about 65 degrees. This way you won't get lots of off flavors from using lager yeast at higher temps.

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:25 PM   #4
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Hmm that's a pretty good suggestion. I was told buying a large freezer chest can work, but that sometimes you actually need to buy some sort of device/wrap thing for go around the fermenter to maintain the temperature....So complicated!

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosox View Post
I really would love doing a nice Oktoberfest Lager for openning day at the Patriots game! But I don't have any way of temperature control....So is it really bad to brew a Lager at room temperatures around 70-74 or should I really try finding a way to cool it down? Does anyone know a quick fix to this problem, something around $50 or at the very least under $100?
have you thought about a kegerator? you'll probably end up needing one if you decide to start kegging. I got mine for free on craigslist. tearing the old shelves out and removing the door panel is the only work you have to do to it. I use mine to ferment when I dont have any beer in it
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Old 06-27-2010, 05:25 PM   #6
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You'll probably get a decent amount of fruityness by using lager yeast at that temp... it'll still ferment, but it's probably not what you're looking for.

I'd really recommend a clean ale yeast over a straight-up lager yeast at those temps (see the OktoberFAST thread for a great recipe brewed with Safale S-04).

Alternately you could use something like a steam beer yeast or kolsch yeast (but even with that it's better to keep it in the mid-60s). I've brewed oktoberfast (using S-04), a kolsch (with WLP-029 kolsch yeast), and a helles (using WLP-810 steam lager yeast) at basement temps, had good results all three times.

If you're really set on the idea of using lager yeast, look into a chiller like son of fermentation chiller. Supposedly works pretty well, but I don't have direct experience.

Either way, you're going to end up with drinkable beer. Have fun!

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Old 06-27-2010, 05:26 PM   #7
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To answer the question in your title: Yes, temperature matters - a lot.

The swamp cooler method is a good suggestion. However, the best solution is to look for a good deal on a small freezer unit. I think I spent under $120 for my 5.5 cu ft freezer from Home Depot.

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Old 06-27-2010, 06:31 PM   #8
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The best thing you can do is brew the style of beers that your temps allow you to. Unless you want to spend the money to get something that can control down to lager temps, I wouldn't brew any lagers. At best, you're going to spend a lot of time and effort fighting temps only to get an end product that is probably far from what you are expecting from the style.

Like colbalt said, you're probably better off just getting a clean fermenting ale yeast that is suitable for the temps you will be able to achieve and likely end up with a far better tasting product compared to trying to force a true lager.

Temperature is one of the single most important aspects of brewing good beer consistently. Don't try to fight it and work with what you have, or spend the time and money to build something that will create the environment you need for a particular beer.

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Old 06-27-2010, 06:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Temperature is one of the single most important aspects of brewing good beer consistently....
+1...MILLION!!!
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Old 06-27-2010, 06:41 PM   #10
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Oktoberfest Ale? Anyone have a recipe for Oktoberfest but where I can use ale yeast?

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