In the winter, my basement is pretty consistently 58 to 60 deg. F. Looking for recommendations of an extract recipe kit that is fairly forgiving, but designed to ferment at these temps. Right now, I’m at around 72 deg in the basement, which has been good for my recent brews. Just thinking ahead to the low temps coming in the next couple of months. I have no means of temperature control at the moment, so keep that in mind. Thanks!
steam, kolsch, alt, or cream ale. I make my house blonde/fo’ pilsner at that temp. Keep in mind though, consistent temperature is as, if not more important than actual temperature. Make sure to throw any of those in a water bath for the first week, then bring the fermenter upstairs to ensure good attenuation.
You may be able to get away with a Baltic Porter as well, or maybe even a biere de garde.
You can ferment most any ale at those temperatures if you pitch enough yeast. English ales will ferment just fine at low temperatures. US-05/WLP001 and Nottingham work great down there. So does Kolsch yeast 2565 etc. Just about any ale, except for Belgians and maybe hefeweizens, will turn out great at low temps. Just use 1.5 to 2 times as much yeast as normal to help compensate for the lower temperature.
Then after 3-4 days, if you are able to, you can also bring your fermenter up to warmer temperatures to finish the job without adverse effects on flavor. Most of the yeast-derived flavors arise in just the first few days of fermentation. After that, you are usually better off raising the temperature upwards – upper 60s or 70s is great for this. It keeps the yeast awake, lets the yeast clean up certain off-flavors, and ensures good attenuation. If you cannot raise the temperature, your beer will most likely still turn out great at sustained low temps. Some yeasts are more finicky than others, but most American and English ale yeasts perform better than you’d think at low temps, and the German ones too.
You might even toy around with lager beer styles at the 58-60 F range when it gets that cold. I have done this. It does make a more fruity beer in my experience, but it’s up to you to decide if that is an important factor or not. The Kolsch 2565 yeast works great in this range and produces very lager-like beers. The problem with 2565 is it takes 5-6 weeks to finish fermentation and to settle out. But it tastes great.