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Octoberfest using german ale yeast

I don’t have a way to brew lagers right now but I wanted to try the NB Octoberfest kit. I went to NB thinking I would substitute their California Lager yeast because I had used it in the Biere de Garde kit and really liked it. Long story short the sales person talked me into the German Ale yeast instead to stay more in keeping with style of beer. My question is do I still leave it in the secondary for the 2 months recommended if I were using a lager yeast or should I just keep in the secondary for 4 weeks which is the time recommended when this yeast is used in other kits.

I would not keep it in “secondary” for 2 months. I would do one of two things -
1.) 2 weeks primary, 2 weeks secondary, bottle - let carbonate for 3 weeks, then put it in the fridge (if possible) for several weeks - sort of a “lagering” time.

2.) 3 weeks primary, bottle - let carbonate for 3 weeks, Put in fridge for several weeks.

If you were going to keg, you would not have to worry about the “carbonating” phase.

I have made some “faux” octoberfests with kolsch yeast and with german ale yeast doing basically what I outlined above. Not claiming that they were “true” octoberfests, but they were sure some tasty beers and perfect to have around on a nice, cool fall day.

I’m still new at this whole brewing thing (only 10 batched to date) and appreciate the advice. I’ll go option 1 and I really like the idea of aging it in the refrigerator for a few weeks after carbonation. One more question, this is the first time I used the German Ale yeast, the krausen developed quickly,light and airy, but now seems as its settling down into the beer to have gotten “thick” and creamy and not dissipating into the beer like I’m accustomed to. The only other time I experienced a similar Krausen is when I brewed a wheat ale using a belgium wit yeast. Hopefully it’s ok.

From my experience I can tell you two things:

every krausen is different and they never seem to do what i expect

don’t ever refer to it as a lager or people will jump all over you to correct you that it’s really an ale

[quote=“petey mcgee”]From my experience I can tell you two things:

every krausen is different and they never seem to do what i expect

don’t ever refer to it as a lager or people will jump all over you to correct you that it’s really an ale[/quote]
Yes and no. That’s almost like debating whether a beer is a porter or a stout. It is whatever the brewer says it is. But with lagers, I prefer calling them hybrid beers. To treat an ale as a lager could still arguably be called a lager, but more appropriately a pseudo-lager. German ale yeast can be fermented down to 55F and even lower I’ve heard, then you can lager it like any other lager. You’d nearly get the same characteristics as if you’d fermented with Munich lager yeast or something to that effect. Just sayin’…

[quote=“petey mcgee”]From my experience I can tell you two things:

every krausen is different and they never seem to do what i expect

don’t ever refer to it as a lager or people will jump all over you to correct you that it’s really an ale[/quote]

If it tastes like a lager, it’s a lager (particularly if you lagered it. LOL)

Your krausen is exactly as it should be with that yeast. I don’t use an airlock with that yeast anymore, because it blows out the top every time (so keep an eye on it). The krausen will also sit on top forever, so you will have to either cold crash it to drop the yeast or rack from underneath it.
The yeast is not flocculant at all and will take 1-2months to clear at lagering temps. It may sound like a pain but it makes really good beer. :cheers:

[quote=“Beerginer”]Your krausen is exactly as it should be with that yeast. I don’t use an airlock with that yeast anymore, because it blows out the top every time (so keep an eye on it). The krausen will also sit on top forever, so you will have to either cold crash it to drop the yeast or rack from underneath it.
The yeast is not flocculant at all and will take 1-2months to clear at lagering temps. It may sound like a pain but it makes really good beer. :cheers: [/quote]
1+ to all of that! Exactly what I find with WY1007, which BTW is quickly becoming my favorite yeasts. I love me some Oktoberfest, so I have made the same recipe with several different lager yeasts. My favorite, by far, is when I use WY1007 ale yeast. Yep, not technically a lager and it probably would get dinged in competitions for the mild ale character that it leaves, but when I make an Oktoberfest just for me, that’s my go to yeast. Beers made with German ale yeast are also one of the very few ales that I use a secondary for. I rack to the secondary after 3 weeks then usually let the beer sit for at least a month, maybe 2, at cellar temp to drop the rest of the yeast. I always put it in a glass or Better Bottle secondary so I can check the clarity.

One other thing, if you reuse the yeast that has flocculated in the fermenter for the 3 week primary, it drops faster with each generation without seeming to affect the % attenuation. I always hate starting with a new smack pack because I know that beer 1st is going to take “forever” to clear.

At one time all German beers were ales.
I’ve found that several weeks at lagering temperatures can really smooth out an ale.

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