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Oktoberfest Extract w/o Cold Ferm?

Probably asking a question I always know the answer to, but figured its worth a shot…

I am looking at doing an Oktoberfest soon, but am running into a key issue. At this time, I dont have any way of doing a proper cold fermentation, or at least one under 50 degrees. I know Oktoberfest is brewed as a lager, but Im wondering if anyone knows of an extract kit/recipe out there that would allow me to brew a good Oktoberfest with the fermenation requirements of an ale.

Again, I know its a long shot considering the type of beer the Oktoberfest is, but I figure someone might have experience with this issue.

Thanks!

How low can you go? If you can do 60°-62° then you can use 1007 german ale for a “mocktoberfest.”

I could get to 60. In that case, would I be able to follow the same instructions on say the NB kit with simply the difference in yeast? Have you or anyone tried this in terms of the finished product tasting really close to a traditional Oktoberfest?

I’d use a ‘clean’ ale yeast like WY 1056 or WLP 001. I don’t hink you could go far wrong with either of those.
Even better, get some ECY “Old Newark Beer” from East Coast Yeast. It’s an ale strain purportedly descended from the yeast that the Ballantine brewery (in NJ) used for many years for all of their “lager” beers.

Having consumed quite a bit of Ballantine Bock in the late 60s/early 70s, all I can say is no one would have ever guessed that it and their flagship lager were actually fermented with an ale strain.
Definitely worth a shot if you can get your hands on some.

Chop and Brew did an episode on Aletoberfest:

Brewing TV Episode 53 is called Lager Workarounds.

[quote=“Ken in MN”]Chop and Brew did an episode on Aletoberfest:

Brewing TV Episode 53 is called Lager Workarounds.[/quote]

Thanks, that article seems to follow Loopie’s recommendation except its for all grain.

So, main question I have; if I use the German Ale yeast with the NB kit that calls for 2 weeks prime and 2 months secondary, would I still follow the same fermentation time frames as the kit recommends? As a new brewer, I’m trying to gather all the facts before I attempt this.

Yes do everything the same just use an ale yeast. Assuming you are bottle conditioning get them carved up then lager them in a fridge in the bottle.

When you say put them in the fridge, do you mean right after bottling and keep them there for the 2 weeks before drinking?

No bottle condition them as usual and THEN lager them in bottle.

Sounds good, thank you for the advice.

Or steam beer yeast, which would make a maltier beer.

I know the “professional”" brewmeisters" are gonna groan when they read this, but Mr. Beer has a kit for Oktoberfest with instructions to ferment at room temps i.e. they must be supplying a ale yeast.

Although I don’t know how it compares to a real Oktoberfest brewed with lager yeast, my friends that have sampled it love it.

Ps. Let them drink before you tell them it comes from Mr. Beer.

Updated question for everyone.

I am approaching the time to start bottling this beer and noticed topics in regards to adding more yeast at bottling. Since I brewed this Oktoberfest kit with a German Ale yeast, would it still be a good idea to add 1/2 packet of dry yeast at bottling? What happens in the case of not adding extra yeast, would it just take forever for the bottle to carbonate (or carbonate at all)?

If it has been sitting for 2.5 months, you definitely want to add more yeast to ensure proper carbonation. I would think even just a quarter of a pack of dry yeast should be sufficient for 5 gallons. Otherwise your beer might never carbonate.

Thanks for the advice. Three questions; can I use regular ale yeast or would I need to use the same German Ale yeast I originally used? Two, do I add it dry or should I rehydrate? Finally, does it matter how I add it, either to the carboy or bottling bucket?

  1. Regular ale yeast (like US-05 or whatever you have) should be just fine for carbonation purposes.

  2. Just a direct sprinkle should work fine, but other people would tell you to rehydrate, so, do what you think is acceptable.

  3. Bottling bucket is better. Just make sure it gets fully dissolved. So in this case, actually, rehydration will work better, to ensure it’s fully dissolved and doesn’t float or sink.

Great, thanks for the advice!

Got some great advice from gdtechvw when I had a similar question regarding Scottish Wee Heavy - see:

viewtopic.php?f=26&t=122320

The simple solution I received was simply to extend the conditioning period and to flip the bottles upside down and wait another two weeks. Worked like a charm. Hope it works for you!

Grant

Quick update on this experiment: Poured my first bottle last night, it turned out great! Very nice Oktoberfest flavor similar to Sam Adam’s Oktoberfest and great color. Not as heavy as a lager, but might appeal to those who prefer ales over lagers. The bottle carbonated great with the addition of the extra yeast, the beer had a very nice foam head when poured. Overall, I am very happy with the results.

Quick recap of how I did this:
-Oktoberfest extract kit from NB
-Used German Ale Wyeast as a substitute since I could only get it as cool as the low 60’s.
-Followed the directions exactly, pitched half packet of regular dry ale yeast at bottling.

Thanks again for all the advice!

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