I want to make a clone similar to New Belgium’s 1554 Black Ale but I don’t have any way to control the temp and it seems like all the recipes call for lager yeast. The forecast (consistent on a yearly basis and lining up just fine) for the next two weeks is between 48*-38*F. I was thinking about just putting my carboy and a fermometer in the storage shed and checking it every day. Has anyone tried this?
Edit: my apt. is always hovering around 67*F. I’d like to say that it’s just comfortable, but honestly it has more to do with brewing condition… the Mrs. doesn’t take kindly to the latter explanation though.
I looked at a few of the clone recipes. Lots of different ideas for yeast ranging from Pilsner to Belgian ale. Your 67° indoor temp would certainly be a more consistent temp than outdoors and the 38 to 48° pretty low for even lager yeast. If it was me I would find a cool spot indoors and go with an ale yeast or the San Fran lager that as a higher optimum range that most lagers.
Another option if there is power to the storage shed you could get one of those carboy heaters to keep your brew in range.
They say that lager primary should not fluctuate more than 5° in a 24-hour period. I can’t remember where I got that (Noonan’s book?) but lager yeast are a little more discerning about their primary temps. I once thought that my attached garage would be decent for lager primary so I placed a thermo out there and checked the temp at midday and again right before bed and there was a good 10-12° swing in the winter. My garage door has windows in it so maybe that would allow more sun in and allow the temps to warm up. The secondary/lager phase does not rely on consistent temps so a swing from 35-45° for example would not cause a problem, AFAIK. But for primary… the more consistent, the better. Maybe it’s time to check Craigslist and look for that used fridge or freezer.
If you don’t mind checking it every day you can lager in your storage shed.
I would do the following:
fill a container large enough to fit your carboy/ale pail (like a 3’ diameter plastic tub, or even a large rubbermaid bin) about halfway with water
-put the container in your shed overnight so the temp of the water in it gets down to the low 40’s (bear in mind this is warm-ish for lagering, but should work).
-once the beer has fermented out in your house, take the ale pail/carboy out to the shed and put it in the water, wrap with a sleeping bag. This is essentially trying to insulate and minimize temp swings.
-check the temp every day twice a day or so and ensure that it is staying in the low 40’s. Blowing your brains out during this step is optional.
In all seriousness, those temps should help clarify/lager the beer.
My concern is more your primary temperature. 67 AMBIENT is very warm for an ale and outright HOT for a lager-type beer. The beer itself could easily get up to 73-74 degrees, which will definitely throw off some esters and possibly some fusels. If you are consistently fermenting that warm I would at least put your carboy in a container of water so the fermentation activity’s exothermic heat wouldn’t be able to raise the temp as much.
… And I will add to Pietro’s post that your 5-gallons of beer sitting in the water in the shed will also keep relatively consistent. It would take quite a drop or rise in temp to wildly swing the temp of the 5 gallons of beer, especially with the insulation (sleeping bag?) and the water in the tub. Again, for secondary/lagering phase, this is no problem. To be honest, if the temp was in the 40s and got down to 30ish, I probably wouldn’t lose sleep. It would take more than that to freeze 5 gallons of beer and the lower the lagering temp (without freezing it, of course), the better. Good luck lagerheads!
Ps. I currently have TWO lager yeasts up & running (WLP830 and Wy2278) and I’m making lagers like I’m getting paid for it! Cheers.
I have a 1554 recipe I came up with base on others I found. It’s been a couple years sense I brewed it, and don’t see what yeast I used. But what I read was the beer is an ale, brewed with a lager strain. Fermented at ale temps. I didn’t do a “lager” phase for it.
[quote=“Nighthawk”]I have a 1554 recipe I came up with base on others I found. It’s been a couple years sense I brewed it, and don’t see what yeast I used. But what I read was the beer is an ale, brewed with a lager strain. Fermented at ale temps. I didn’t do a “lager” phase for it.
thats actually an awesome point. I’ve only had this once or twice, but I don’t recall a lot of lager characteristics. Its a pretty chewy beer, and like some of the other styles rich with flavor (and frankly, stuff to hide behind), it can probably be brewed as an ale without many noticing.
[quote=“Pietro”][quote=“Nighthawk”]I have a 1554 recipe I came up with base on others I found. It’s been a couple years sense I brewed it, and don’t see what yeast I used. But what I read was the beer is an ale, brewed with a lager strain. Fermented at ale temps. I didn’t do a “lager” phase for it.
thats actually an awesome point. I’ve only had this once or twice, but I don’t recall a lot of lager characteristics. Its a pretty chewy beer, and like some of the other styles rich with flavor (and frankly, stuff to hide behind), it can probably be brewed as an ale without many noticing.[/quote]
I was doing a lot of looking into 1554 clones a couple years ago, and I kept finding info that the brewery uses a lager strain at high temps. I thought they were fermenting up in the low 70’s, IIRC. I’ll check around my files when I get back home and see if I have any help on this one.
making a trip to my LHBS on Tuesday. Feel free to post the recipes you’ve used or found that looked really solid in case I missed one. I usually make a collective Frankenstein with the best possible recipes when it’s all said and done.
This is what I have on file for my 1554 beer. I have not brewed it for a couple years. But I tasted great to some friends that loved 1554. It’s a little higher ABV and a little more IBU’s. 5.6%/21 per NB’s web site.
Size: 5 gal
Calories: 206.57 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
ABV - 5.6%
IBU - 21
Calories - 198
Hops - Target
Malts - Pale, Carapils, Black, Munich, Chocolate
Body - Light - Medium
Aroma - Slightly fruity, herbal, spicy, rooty, coffee, chocolate, toffee
Mouthfeel - Due to the lager yeast ferm at high temps and the chocolate and black malt- this beer starts and finishes dry yet the middle is round and malt rich. session!
Flavor - Starts bitter chocolate with bright acidity, roasty and toasty, sweetness to round it out sweet/spicy, rooty, peppery undertones, lingering fruit acidity,
Visual - Brilliant/clear, mahogany
How about buying a compact fridge or wine fridge (which is good for ale temps too)? Mine fits my 3 gallon carboy. One nice thing about 3 gallon carboys is you can split a 6 gallon batch into two secondarys and dry hop them differently.