Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:30 am

Hey guys! I'm new to the forum and a new home brewer and loving it! I spent the summer and fall learning about the process and helping out a friend with his home brew. I want to make some lager style beers (oktoberfest, dopplebock) but don't have the equipment for temperature controll or the money or space to buy it... (I am a college student in Florida so temperature control has been a struggle so far.) Any way I wanted to know if any of you guys have made lager styles using ale yeast, and how its come out. My friend uses Kolsch Yeast from White Labs and his beer is really good! Thanks guys and happy brewing!
Cpt Dunbar
 
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 3:43 pm

First off, welcome to the forum!

What is the coldest possible temp you can ferment the beer at during winter time where you live? Would you consider using a swamp cooler which consists of placing your fermenter in a large plastic tub filled with water and swapping out frozen water bottles a few times a day to keep fermentation temps cooler? If so, then this might be able to help you get low enough to ferment a proper lager.

If you can even get it down to 60F (which I bet you easily could with this method) then you may want to consider using a hybrid strain of yeast that ferments fairly clean at this temp for a "pseudo" lager. Strains like WY 2112 California lager, WL 810 san francisco lager, WY 2565 kolsch and WL 029 german ale strains might get you in the ball park if temps are kept cool and maintained. I would probably choose the first two vs the last two for an even cleaner profile as I feel the WY 2565 is slightly fruity.

Even using the classic Chico ale strain WL 001 or WY 1056, or dry strain US-05 can be fermented fairly cool 55-60F for a pretty clean and neutral beer. Good luck and let us know what you decide on.
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 6:21 pm

Thanks for the advice and the welcome!

My friend and I just brewed our first batch last week and we did the swamp cooler trick but I have work/class for a good chunk of the day so it has been hard to keep the cooler between 65-69 deg F (our target range). The first few days I checked the temp when I changed out frozen water bottles and it usually was around 71-72. I keep the A/C at around 75 when I'm home and 79 when I leave for the day. I also left a shirt around the carboy (glass) to wick up water from the cooler. I'm going to try and figure out a way to better way to insulate the cooler from the rest of the room for the next time I brew.

I was also thinking of ideas to implement an actual cooler, like one would bring to the beach or backyard party, to help maintain proper temperature.

At the moment we are just brewing extract with specialty grain from our local home brew shop's recipe collection. (I plan on moving to all grain eventually). Does using these premade recipes (for a lager) and a different yeast strain affect the beer in anyway?

Thanks again!
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:10 pm

Welcome-

The wet t-shirt over the fermenter works even better if you have a fan blowing on it to increase evaporation.
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:20 pm

I didn't think of using a fan but I was worried about exposing the carboy to light, for fear of the light affecting the hops and making the beer skunky.
Cpt Dunbar
 
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:36 pm

You can use ale yeast to ferment a lager. It won't have the same ester profile, but it will work. I'm going to do that this weekend when my local brewery has their homebrew challenge. They are providing German black lager wort. I could use lager yeast, but everybody else will do that, so I'm going to use WLP-029 (Octoberfest/Marzen) or WLP-036 (Dusseldorf alt) and make something like a Sticke Alt. Or something. :-)

I'm not sure that the yeast matters much if you aren't entering a comp. As long as it makes something you like then no problem, and that's your goal in the first attempts. If you hate your brew then you won't continue to brew, and we need more homebrewers! But it's going to take some experimentation to sort that out. :-) Keep us posted. There's a lot of good info on this forum. Joining a brew club is a good idea too (as long as they're not a bunch of dicks).

When I began brewing a fermentatation chamber was my first upgrade. You could get a Craigslist top freezer fridge plus a controller on ebay for around $65.00 total. But winter is coming on, so you're probably good for now (unless you really want to hit lager temps).

Charlie
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Mon Nov 02, 2015 7:42 pm

Awesome! That contest sounds cool. Where/what is the brewery (if you don't mind me asking)? Thanks for all the help guys!

Cheers!
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Re: Making Lager Styles With Ale Yeast?

Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:44 pm

Cpt Dunbar wrote:That contest sounds cool. Where/what is the brewery (if you don't mind me asking)? Thanks for all the help guys!


Great Raft Brewing in Shreveport, LA (link in my sig). They're great folks and active with the local homebrew community. This is the second homebrewer challenge and wort pickup is next Saturday. They provide 5 gallons of wort in your fermentor and you futz with it however you want. Then we meet in late December to judge the results. I forget what the winner gets besides recognition.

The base wort is their Reasonably Corrupt, a black lager. I want to do something different than I expect most folks will do so I'm using WLP-036 (Dusseldorf alt) yeast. Black lager and Sticke alt are Reasonably Close styles. :-)

Charlie
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