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Too unseasonably warm. What do I do for Oktoberfest?

I normally do an Oktoberfst in March and friends and family all enjoy it in the fall. My fermentation cellar is 60 degrees now due to the unseasonable weather. I won’t be brewing anymore lagers bacause I rely on mother nature for my fermentaion temp. Any suggestions for a brew this March to put away until fall? Fermenting in the low 60s, aging until Fall, expectaions are for an Oktoberfest. Thoughts?

How about a Kolsch?

Maybe an alt?

Great Alt-ernative suggestion. Looking at recipes . . . .

Make a “Swamp Cooler” and do your O-Fest!

Come September you will be saying “Man I wish I had done an Oktoberfest!”

A recent brewing TV episode had them brewing lagers using 2124 bohemian lager yeast at warmer temps. Check brewingTV episode 53.

[quote=“mainemike68”]Make a “Swamp Cooler” and do your O-Fest!

Come September you will be saying “Man I wish I had done an Oktoberfest!”[/quote]

+1

You only need to hold your fermentation temp to around 50F for 2-3 weeks of primary, then you can let it rise to 60-65F for a d-rest. I’d think your bigger problem will be the actual lagering. If you bottle, I suppose you could let the beer condition, then store it cold to “lager” it in the bottles over the summer. Not quite ideal, but you’ll probably get reasonably good results.

Another option would be to make a “Mocktoberfest” with a clean ale yeast fermented it at the 60F temp of your cellar, then lagered. US-05 ferments very cleanly at the low end of its temperature range.

Using typical lager pitching rates, my experience has been that active fermentation is finished in less than two weeks. I raise the temperature as soon as fermentation starts to slow, after 4-7 days, depending on gravity.

A few thoughts.

  1. Moktoberfests SUCK! I’ve had several and maybe the people who made them just
    did a crappy job, but I’ve yet to have a good one.

  2. If you can ferment in a swamp cooler at 50F for 10-14 days, you can then slowly raise the temp over a few days to the mid 60’s for a d-rest. Then bottle the beer. Let it sit at room temps for 2 weeks to carb, then put all the bottles in the fridge for 8-10 weeks to lager. I prefer to bulk lager, but i bottle lagered a Vienna Smoked Lager 2 months ago and it came out very smooth.

  3. Wyeast California Lager can ferment close to ale temps and still make a good lager. 58-62F is where you’d want to keep it if possible. But if you can hold 58F, you should be able to hold 50F and use a better lager yeast.

  4. Go on craigs list and find someone selling a minifridge to use as a fermentation/lagering chamber. You should be able to find someone selling one for under $100. Then all you need is a temp controller and you’re good to go!

Using typical lager pitching rates, my experience has been that active fermentation is finished in less than two weeks. I raise the temperature as soon as fermentation starts to slow, after 4-7 days, depending on gravity.[/quote]

Yeah - that’s been my experience, too. Because of work travel, I tend to only be able to get to my brewing activities on weekends - so I tend to manage my fermentation in weeks. For most lagers it’s 2 weeks of primary then a d-rest ramp-up / ramp down during the third week. Then, it’s into a keg for lagering. If I watched things more closely, I could probably shave a week off of that schedule - but I’m in no hurry, and have the luxury of separate fermenting, lagering and serving fridges.

Go with either steam beer yeast or Wyeast 1007.

[quote=“mainemike68”]Make a “Swamp Cooler” and do your O-Fest!

Come September you will be saying “Man I wish I had done an Oktoberfest!”[/quote]

You’re so right. I’ll miss it terribly in the Fall. Trouble is I work out of town and cannot tend to a swamp cooler. Anyhow, I just bought the ingredients and I’ll figure something out. My wife and neighbors can run the swamp cooler. They’ll want Oktoberfest!

Thanks, all, for the inspiring replies.

Alt is a great beer - 1007 german ale yeast. One of my favorite beers and definitely something that would be in the spirit of an octoberfest. If you did the alt, I don’t know that you would have to brew it in march. Could wait a little longer - may/june and it should be good to go by sept/oct.

Also, I have brewed a really nice “festbier” using kolsch yeast. About 10lb pilsner malt, then about 3 was Munich, with the rest being .25 lbcaramunich, 1 lb carahell, .25lb caramalt. Brewed it in late may/early june and it was excellent and very well received at my sister’s wedding in October.

I have not tried it, but I would second what others have said in regard to california lager yeast providing a possibility as well.

[quote=“Braufessor”]Alt is a great beer - 1007 german ale yeast. One of my favorite beers and definitely something that would be in the spirit of an octoberfest. If you did the alt, I don’t know that you would have to brew it in march. Could wait a little longer - may/june and it should be good to go by sept/oct.

Also, I have brewed a really nice “festbier” using kolsch yeast. About 10lb pilsner malt, then about 3 was Munich, with the rest being .25 lbcaramunich, 1 lb carahell, .25lb caramalt. Brewed it in late may/early june and it was excellent and very well received at my sister’s wedding in October.

I have not tried it, but I would second what others have said in regard to california lager yeast providing a possibility as well.[/quote]
^^^^^THIS
I’ve done both. The Alt makes a great Oktoberfest. And using kolsch yeast in a recipe like that works great. Both would make great fest biers.

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