Ale vs. Lager

I want to brew a classic american pilsner in the next few months, but wanted to try doing an ‘ale’ version of it so my fermenting chest (which also doubles as my lagering fridge) isn’t tied up for weeks to lager the beer. Then I could taste it, and if I could imagine a ‘cleaner’ version, go ahead and brew the lager.

I was thinking of basically making Jamil’s CAP, but instead using US-05 at around 60 degrees. Has anyone done this with a CAP before? I know Jamil’s is relatively well-hopped (more so than a cream ale), but the recipe is something like the following:

70% 2-row
30% flaked maize
I believe he either uses Perle or Cluster, both of which are pretty gnarly, so I was thinking of using Saaz.

Out of my own curiosity and slighly off-topic, does anyone have any resources on what cold-conditioning actually DOES? I mean I understand that it makes the beer ‘cleaner’, but are compounds actually precipating out? If so, which ones? My Okfest was just about ready to drink after 3 weeks of primary @ 50 degrees, but I lagered it for 5 weeks. Not sure if I could perceive the difference.

http://beerdujour.com/Recipes/Jamil/Jam ... lsner.html

Jamil doesn’t like cluster. he uses saaz

I think this episode of Brewing TV may have discussed this:

http://brewingtv.com/episodes/2012/3/2/ ... ounds.html

[quote=“airlocksniffer”]I think this episode of Brewing TV may have discussed this:

http://brewingtv.com/episodes/2012/3/2/ ... ounds.html[/quote]

I saw the ep. That dude they brew with is pretty hilarious. I don’t mean to disparage him, but I think he was chosen to show how little gear you actually need to brew good beer if you know how to control the right things (sanitization (sanitation?), temp control, etc.).

I was more thinking about the flavor of such a beer and how it would differ from a CAP.

I miss BTV. Those guys should see if the AHA would fund their show.

[quote=“Pietro”]
I was more thinking about the flavor of such a beer and how it would differ from a CAP.[/quote]
This comes up from time to time and my answer will probably be similar to the “steam” conversation we had. IMO, the flavor profile you get from the various lager strains of yeast are part of what make the CAP what it is. Regardless of the strain you choose, you will get some “lagery” flavors from lager yeast that you will not get from ale yeast… just as certain ale strains contribute things that you can’t get from lager strains (think Belgians). So for those who say that they want to make a “pilsner” with ale yeast, I would just caution them and say that they can make that beer but it might be more of a cream ale, blonde ale, golden ale, etc. and not a pilsner. Your CAP will be very good but might taste more like an ale because it’s made with ale yeast at ale fermentation temps. I used to make “blonde ales” with 1056 or WLP001, clean hops and a low fermentation temp (60° or so which is low for an ale) and get a very clean, refreshing beer. I don’t mean to be a nazi… just trying to have beers described as what they are. :slight_smile:

US-05 at 60 F will work fine for an ale version of a CAP. The cooler temperature limits the amount of fruity esters produced. As a trade-off for the cooler temperature, you might want to consider pitching maybe 1.5 or 2 packs of yeast for 5 gallons instead of just one pack, in order to further limit the esters produced. At any rate, I would consider performing a sort of diacetyl rest near the very end of fermentation by raising the temperature to the upper 60s for a few days. This will keep your yeast active and help them to eat undesirable things like diacetyl and sulfur, if any was produced, or at the very least help them to finish up the fermentation and knock out the last few gravity points. At this point it will not add any appreciable esters. You know what I mean – maybe wait until gravity is like 1.022, and then raise the temperature up. Something like that.

Alternatively, why not consider using a Kolsch yeast, like WLP029? It’s a good clean yeast. The Wyeast 2565 is also very good, but it does tend to stay cloudy unless/until you add gelatin. Both yeasts will require a good 3-4 weeks to ferment out at 58-60 F, so if time is a consideration, then maybe US-05 really is the way to go, as I do think it works a little faster, even at 60 F. You could also play with the English yeasts like Munton’s, S-04, etc., as they too are capable of fermenting cool at 60-ish. The key is to pitch enough yeast. Don’t skimp by only pitching a half a pack – that wouldn’t cut it. One pack is probably just enough, but more is better at the cool temperatures.

[quote=“Ken Lenard”][quote=“Pietro”]
I was more thinking about the flavor of such a beer and how it would differ from a CAP.[/quote]
This comes up from time to time and my answer will probably be similar to the “steam” conversation we had. IMO, the flavor profile you get from the various lager strains of yeast are part of what make the CAP what it is. Regardless of the strain you choose, you will get some “lagery” flavors from lager yeast that you will not get from ale yeast… just as certain ale strains contribute things that you can’t get from lager strains (think Belgians). So for those who say that they want to make a “pilsner” with ale yeast, I would just caution them and say that they can make that beer but it might be more of a cream ale, blonde ale, golden ale, etc. and not a pilsner. Your CAP will be very good but might taste more like an ale because it’s made with ale yeast at ale fermentation temps. I used to make “blonde ales” with 1056 or WLP001, clean hops and a low fermentation temp (60° or so which is low for an ale) and get a very clean, refreshing beer. I don’t mean to be a nazi… just trying to have beers described as what they are. :slight_smile: [/quote]

no worries, and we are in the same camp. The ‘steam experiment’ did make me understand the distinction with my tastebuds. The beer seemed to have a richness that wouldn’t have been there (for better or worse) with SF lager yeast…the yeast almost accentuated the malt instead of the hops. Or who knows, maybe Jamil’s steam is just maltier.

If this turns out decent, I might make a double batch of this and the CAP (with a lager yeast) with nothing different except ferm temp and yeast, and taste them side-by-side or even blindly.

I’d suggest using WY1007. Cleaner than any kolsch yeast I’ve used and when I recently made an alt with it, I was getting blowoff at 55F! It will work great at 60.

BTW, the CAP style was “rediscovered” and popularized by Jeff Renner. Check this out…

http://morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/l ... enner.html

[quote=“Denny”]I’d suggest using WY1007. Cleaner than any kolsch yeast I’ve used and when I recently made an alt with it, I was getting blowoff at 55F! It will work great at 60.

BTW, the CAP style was “rediscovered” and popularized by Jeff Renner. Check this out…

http://morebeer.com/brewingtechniques/l ... enner.html[/quote]

love that article. It got me so psyched to brew one of these!

I may give the 1007 a shot. I don’t likely have time for a starter, as I’m going to try to brew today. two smack packs?

I was thinking the same thing Denny. Although a Kolsch might work it can have the tendency to give off a “wine” like flavor. And as previously mentioned the kolsch yeast takes a while to settle out.