Lager Fermentation with No Fridge?

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fireface

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I did a search and didn't find exactly what I was looking for so here goes.

My friend and I are big fans of lagers/pilsners. Our goal is to brew a lager/pils to rival some of our favorites from the pub: Baron, Trumer, Skull Creek, etc.

The problem is we do not have access to fridge or other type of cooling system to keep the fermentor in the 50 degree range. Can any of the more experienced brewers out there give us any tips or advice?

I think I may try to make a makeshift cooler by inserting the carboy into an old 10 gallon igloo beverage cooler my gf has, and then placing it outside in the cool Seattle spring, but I'm worried about temperature swings.

Any advice is appreciated.
 

Scotty_g

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You're going to have a tough time duplicating a lager without active cooling. Not only do you need to keep it cool for the primary fermentation, you need to store (lager) it at even lower temperatures.

You can make a more lager-like beer by using a kolsch yeast and fermenting it as cool as you can get (basement/garage). Some ale yeasts (nottingham, chico ale yeast) can be used at lower than normal temperatures to get a cleaner taste, but it's not going to be exactly the same.

You can put your fermenter in a washtub full of water and drape a towel over it to keep it cooler by evaporation (add a fan for extra effect), but nothing beats a freezer (except maybe an authentic cave).
 

menschmaschine

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"Son of Fermentation Chiller" might be what you're looking for (Google).

If you want to make great lagers, temperature control is key. You'll also need to lager it at near freezing temps for 4-8 weeks (on average). This is why most serious lager homebrewers use temp-controlled refrigeration (like a chest freezer).
 

WBC

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I find that a lot of my brewing friends ferment too high temperature and do not use enough yeast. I also find that they don't really know how hot the beer got during fermentation. I have my Ranco controller sensor in a stainless tube and it is in the fermenter liquid. This keeps overheating due to exothermic action under control and my beer stays in the fermenter because fermentation is not so violent. I always stay in the lower range of the yeast's fermentation temperature range and this alone has made the biggest improvement in all my ales. Try this and you will see a big difference too.
 

Brewing Clamper

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I don't mean to discourage you, but before I got my fermentation chamber(chest freezer) I attempted 3 lagers without it using various cooling methods... they all sucked and so did my beer... until the freezer... you can find pretty cheap ones on Craigslist sometimes...
 
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fireface

fireface

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Thanks for all the responses guys. :mug:

It looks like I'll be brewing ales until I can get my hands on a freezer. Craigslist and garage sales here I come.
 
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