I made an AHS 20th Anniversary Oktoberfest this weekend, my second brew ever! I didn't know what I was really getting myself into with lagering and having to keep my carboy at below 60 degree temps.
Anyways after a slow start with the White Labs WLP820 marzen yeast, I am finally seeing good signs of fermentation with airlock bubbles and krausen forming on top.
I am currently keeping my carboy in a gardening bucket surrounded with ice, water, t-shirt, and towel. There is enough room for ice cubes, but not for 20oz bottles of ice. The problem is my stick on thermometer came off with it being in water for an extended period of time, so I don't really know what temperature the wort is fermenting at? Any suggestions? I think it is probably around 60 degrees, but probably keeps fluctuating because I can't keep an eye on it at all times. Could these fluctuations make any off flavors?
Also once fermentation is complete I plan on moving to my secondary bucket, but should I keep doing what I am doing now? Or just let it sit at room temp, because I would like to keep my stick on thermometer on my secondary?
Thanks for all the help.