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Old 11-26-2009, 02:42 AM   #1
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Default Can you lager in just a cold water bath??

I'm looking to do a lager, but don't have a chest freezer or any refridgeration at this time. When I brew, I put my fermenter in a cooler with water and frozen water bottles. It works great. I'm wondering if I could do a lager this way. I'm pretty sure I could get the water temp to 50 or so. What do you think?

One problem would be when I keg I'd need to get that temp down in the 30's. Not sure I could put a keg in a cooler and get it down that low...

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Old 11-26-2009, 04:27 AM   #2
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I feel like you could, but it may not be very efficient. It is unfortunate, but some kind of refridgeration is really pretty essential. Some people modify in-window AC units to achieve that result.

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Old 11-26-2009, 04:53 AM   #3
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Yes, you can. I get my fermenter down into the 30's when I cold crash, and I also use a cooler and water bottles. I just put like 8 bottles at a time in there to bring the temp down and swap them out more often until I get there. Once in the 30's I can maintain that temp using 2-4 bottles depending upon ambient temperatures.

I couldn't imagine trying to maintain those temps long enough to lager, though. A few days is one thing, but several weeks sounds like a pain in the butt.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:59 AM   #4
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I agree with Weirdboy. Sure you could do it for a few days, but after a while that's going to be tedious. And lagers take a while.

You could go the alternate approach and use a fairly neutral ale yeast. I've made mock lagers with the Chico yeast (Safale 05) fermented in the low 60s and they've come out great.

For me it hit the sweet spot. No, you won't get a hint of sulfur that a lager yeast would provide -- but you don't swap bottles three times a day for months.
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