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How to ferment an octoberfest beer using ale yeast and little to no temperature control

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mad32brewing

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So I really want to make an Octoberfest beer, but I have no way and not enough time to lager. I know I can use a clean ale yeast like WLP001 or US-05. However, I don't really have a great way to keep the fermentation on the lower end. My apartment can go from 75 degrees down to 65 degrees. Any tips on what type of yeast I should use, is it even possible for me to make this beer, and do you think purchasing one of those fermentor brew bags would be a good investment? Also, I don't have a kegging system so I do bottle my beers. I read online that after I bottle condition for two weeks, I then have to chill it for two weeks as well. Is that true or can I just chill for like two days and drink it right away. I would love any and all input, thanks.
 

Immocles

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I used 1007 last year with great results. I fermented at 60F for 2-3 weeks, but have heard of folks fermenting it in the middle 60s with positive results. It seems to be one of the more forgiving strains that I have used. It's become a go-to for me.
Search for swamp cooler and see if you are able to rig anything like that up. My 'chamber' is a plastic tote that I lined with a few towels and place frozen water bottles to keep cool. So my temperature control is sketchy at best during the warmer months, but I make it work. If you absolutely have zero control, I would take a stab at WLP029, but do your best to keep the fermenter temperature in the upper 60s. It's a kolsch/lagerish type yeast that ferments well in the upper 60s. Drops super clear too, in my experience.
As far as the conditioning after carbonating, its really up to you. Does the beer benefit from it? I believe so, but nothing is really stopping you from drinking it without the extended conditioning. My experience is that the last six bottles of a batch are nearly always better than the first six.
 
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mad32brewing

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Ok, awesome. Would the beer come out bad though if I use a chico strain or the 1007 and it got up to 72 degrees? I don't have a lot of space in my apartment so will be fermenting in an extra closet. Is the swamp cooler one of those fermenter bags?
 

Immocles

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I'm not super sure what you mean by fermenter bags, sorry.

In a nut shell, a swamp cooler is when you place the fermenter in a container of water, and switch out frozen water bottles in the water to cool the fermenter and keep the temperature down.

I've never fermented 1007 that high, so its hard to tell. I think the Chico strains would throw some esters that would taste a bit off in an Oktoberfest type brew. Maybe not necessarily turn out bad, but just...off.


You could try and search in that thread and see how high folks have fermented 34/70. Its a lager yeast that some folks ferment at ale temperatures. I've never done it, but obviously plenty of people do with pleasant results.
 

IslandLizard

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Without lagering (storing cold at 30-40F) for at least a couple (2) weeks, your beer will be somewhat cloudy. With time it will precipitate, but tilt the bottle or pour too fast, the yeast will mix back in again.
__________________

From WYEAST (my emphasis and red color):
STRAIN: 1007
GERMAN ALE
Species:
Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Profile: A true top cropping yeast with low ester formation and a broad temperature range. Fermentation at higher temperatures may produce mild fruitiness. This powdery strain results in yeast that remains in suspension post fermentation. Beers mature rapidly, even when cold fermentation is used. Low or no detectable diacetyl.

LOW FLOCCULATION
73 - 77% ATTENUATION
55 - 68°F TEMPERATURE RANGE
11% ABV
 

Kurt Hinrichs

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Just to help a little - the swamp cooler part is draping a towel or shirt or something in the water and up over your fermenter so that the water wicks up the towel/shirt and evaporates and cools the wort.

Just brainstorming here: If you are really worried about temperature getting out of control thought of a Kveik yeast? I don't know how it would do in an Octoberfest style beer but certainly wouldn't have to worry about the temp.
 

Sammy86

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I have a fermenting bag...got it second hand from a person here...well worth the investment before I got my chest freezer.

2 frozen 2 liter bottles keep the temp in the mid 60's...4 will get you to lager temps changed every 12 hours or so.
 

2row

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As an alternative, you could try Kveik yeast. Lutra is said to make a clean brew at lower ferm temps like 70F. Omega even has a recipe for a pseudo helles lager on their site. I have not tried this yet, but I am brewing an Oktoberfest using Lutra this weekend. I do have temp control though...

Omega Lutra info
Omega pseudo lager recipe
 

seanjwalker1

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Fermentor bags work well. I got lucky and found a "New" returned open box one on Amazon for half price, normally $60 for $30 about 3 years ago. You might be able to find a used one. Check EBay. They get to be a pain changing out (4) 2L bottles every day for 2-3 weeks but they do work. I've since moved on to a kegerator which doubles as a fermentation chamber. Good luck.
 

David Baker

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So I really want to make an Octoberfest beer, but I have no way and not enough time to lager. I know I can use a clean ale yeast like WLP001 or US-05. However, I don't really have a great way to keep the fermentation on the lower end. My apartment can go from 75 degrees down to 65 degrees. Any tips on what type of yeast I should use, is it even possible for me to make this beer, and do you think purchasing one of those fermentor brew bags would be a good investment? Also, I don't have a kegging system so I do bottle my beers. I read online that after I bottle condition for two weeks, I then have to chill it for two weeks as well. Is that true or can I just chill for like two days and drink it right away. I would love any and all input, thanks.
Just brew it as an ale, especially with Safale US-05. It wont be a true Oktoberfest but it will still be enjoyable. Yes, put the bottles in the fridge 2 weeks before opening.
 

beersk

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Omega Lutra. Why has this not been mentioned yet??? Pitch at 90F, let it come down to room temp. It'll be done in 5 days. I let mine sit in the fermenter for about 10 days and keg so that it has a chance to clear up a little (it's usually bright going into the keg).
 

catalanotte

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I'm on my 3rd batch of Marzen using 34/70 in the mid to low 60s. Great results. Getting 73-76% attenuation in just a few days and keg at about 10-14 days. Kegs sit in the low 60s for anywhere from a week to 2 months until there is room on tap. The first time these beers see a temp below 60 is when they go on tap. Clears up very nicely in the keg once chilled. Certainly not the traditional approach to lagers, but it makes good beer.....makes really good beer after another 2-3 weeks in the kegerator if I can hold out that long. The swamp cooler mentioned is the above comments would be ideal to minimize the temp swings if the ambient temp is getting in to the mid 70s. If your bottling, just get them in the fridge as soon at they are carbonated adequately and let them lager until you can't resist and feel like drinking them.
 

bwible

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I have one of these in my kegerator right now.

 
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