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Bock vs Old Ale

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SouthBay

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I'm working on a recipe for a Vanilla Bourbon Old Ale right now, using some combination of pils, munich, vienna, and crystal malts, then adding bourbon soaked oak chips and vanilla beans in the secondary.

While looking at yeast profiles that i wanted to use, it dawned on me that I've got some WLP833 Bock yeast that might work just fine for it. I'm looking at this being a winter beer anyways, so lagering it for a few months won't hurt at all.

Anyone have any thoughts on the pros or cons of going with the Bock lager yeast over an ale yeast for this brew? Any additional thoughts on the style or things i should make sure to do/include/avoid in the recipe/mash? I was considering doing a decoction mash if I go with the Bock yeast, but i think it might take it too far away from the Old Ale style.

Thanks in advance!
 

Airborneguy

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Looks fine for a bock recipe, depending on how much Crystal you are planning on using.

What exactly do you mean by "i think it might take it too far away from the Old Ale style"? If you use the bock yeast, you've already done that.
 
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SouthBay

SouthBay

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Right. I meant more that I see recipes for beer all the time that have something way different about them, such as oktoberfests made with an ale yeast, etc. I guess my question is more 'Will this work?' from a flavor perspective. obviously the yeast will 'work' and ferment, but will the end result for flavors mesh well?

The original yeast I was thinking of was an english strain, either WLP 002 or 007. My first thought with swapping this out for the Bock yeast was that it wouldnt have the esters of the english yeast.

I hope that helps clarify my question
 

Airborneguy

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Well the recipe you presented was pretty much in line with a bock to begin with, so it will obviously work using a bock yeast. I can't personally say how that would have tasted as an old ale. I'd imagine you'd be missing out on some of the characteristics of that style if you used pilsner as the base malt as opposed to Maris Otter.

So I'm still confused. If you mean to use that recipe, with a bock yeast, and call it an old ale, then no, it wouldn't "work" because you wouldn't be making an old ale. But it would "work" because you would be making a bock.
 
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SouthBay

SouthBay

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Ok, so, since i'm stilll formulating things at this point, some Marris Otter in place of the pilsner, and maybe cut down/eliminate the munich/vienna, and went with a chocolate or black malt instead.

Lets say the grain recipe was Base/Marris Otter, plus caramel 60, plus chocolate or carafa 2. How much impact do you think the bock yeast would have compared to using an english ale yeast?
 

Airborneguy

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It would be worlds apart if you fermented the Bock yeast correctly, for the exact reason you mentioned in your second post (the esters, that "fruitiness"). But that's not necessarily a bad thing unless you are intent on making an old ale to style.
 

944play

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My first thought with swapping this out for the Bock yeast was that it wouldnt have the esters of the english yeast.
I haven't fermented a lager yeast warm (except an unhopped starter that was surprisingly yummy), but the difference won't necessarily be in the esters -- it will be in the palate and the finish.

For illustration, take Anchor Steam. It has a broad cornucopia of esters, but that crisp lagery thing in the mouthfeel. For contrast, try a North Coast Scrimshaw, with its low ester profile but coating ale finish.
 
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SouthBay

SouthBay

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I guess the main thing i was wanting was a stronger, maltier brew, spiked with vanilla beans and bourbon, and aged on oak until xmas time.

So, at this point, it looks like i just need to decide on how clean i want it to be. The cleaner and crisper i want it to taste/feel, Bock yeast (even fermented warmer); the thicker finish and fruitier tastes, English ale.

Thanks for helping me think through this!
 

944play

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That's not what I was getting at.

Warm lager = fruity (Anchor)
Warm ale = fruity (Fuller's 1845)
Cool lager = clean (Trumer)
Cool ale = clean (Scrimshaw)
Lager = crisp (Anchor, Trumer)
Ale = coating (Fuller's, Scrimshaw)
 
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SouthBay

SouthBay

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Oh, i see what you're saying. Just when i thought i had this all figured out!
 

944play

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Crisp vs. coating isn't quite exactly a perfect description of how lager vs. ale yeast affects a beer, but it's as close as I can get without example beers to put in front of you.

Lagunitas Zephyr REALLY OVERTLY demonstrates what I call a hole in the palate that lager yeast creates. It's basically a IIPA wort fermented with Steam yeast (and, they claim, no refrigeration).
 
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