Originally Posted by jpoder
I brewed a kolsch earlier this year without the ability to lager...I bottled, and bottle conditioned (after primary for ~6 weeks @60)...after bottles carbed I put a bunch in the fridge and after a month tastes great! After finishing the initial batch I put in the fridge I put more in...tried one about a week into "lagering" and it still tasted bad (well...not as good as the ones in the fridge for a month. decided to leave this next bunch of bottles for a few more weeks before trying again.
so I guess the moral to the story is that YES...you can make a Kolsch without lagering, but plan to leave bottles in the fridge for a LONG time before consuming (essentially bottle lagering).
If I may chime in....I was liking this thread until your final paragraph.
I wager that if you had left some bottles OUTSIDE the fridge for the same amount of time, they would taste the same as the ones inside the fridge. I have tested this a few times, and it works better with lower gravity ales than high (high being Doppelbock).
To lager just means 'to store', and the yeast will do its cleaup at 64F or 30F. The only difference between cold / warm is that the cold method lends to a faster clearing beer.
I 'stored' my last Doppel at 60-65F in Janurary after a 3 week primary at manufacturer reccomended temps. It is amazing, and brilliantly clear. Its still green though, needs some more time. On the otherhand, my BMC clone (with a bit more hops to add to the flavor) got the same treatment and was PERFECT over a month ago. I have done around 5 lagers, all of which turned out perfect and none of which were cold lagered.
I only pipe in not to be the guy who is "right", but to help dispell these myths that lagering HAS to be done cold or it tastes different - it does not, and the only cold benefit is that it clears sooner. Save your darn fridge space