Author Topic: First German Dark Beer  (Read 1935 times)

Offline dcdwort

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First German Dark Beer
« on: September 28, 2012, 05:48:51 PM »
I have a friend who has challenged me to come up with a German dark beer that will take him mentally back to Germany.  We talked about a doppelbock, schwarzbier, dunkel, etc.  I have only brewed typical ales but with the cooler weather coming my basement stays at about 60 or with a window open I can drop it down for a cooler fermentation.  I don't have anything to truly hold a lower fermentation temp so I was wondering what recommendations can get tossed this way.

Thanks!
Don
Bottled:  Nightime Porter, Pumpkin Eater Ale, Big Lass Double IPA, Sholto Scottish Ale, Neville Court ESB, Lowlands Scottish ale 80/, Morining Oatmeal stout, NB 1554 clone, NB SnowDay clone
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Offline Rhoobarb

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« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 06:10:45 PM by Rhoobarb »
"Brewing beer to save money makes as much sense as buying a boat to cut costs on a fish dinner." -- Tim French

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Offline dcdwort

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2012, 06:07:53 PM »
Yes!  I have reviewed that article and am close to putting one together.  I just have too many projects now.  But by the time I am ready for the german dark, it might be time to make one.
Don
Bottled:  Nightime Porter, Pumpkin Eater Ale, Big Lass Double IPA, Sholto Scottish Ale, Neville Court ESB, Lowlands Scottish ale 80/, Morining Oatmeal stout, NB 1554 clone, NB SnowDay clone
Planning:
Fermenting:

Offline dannyjed

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2012, 06:08:38 PM »
Lagers really need temperature control during and after fermentation.  If you think you can do that, then I suggest that you check out Kai's site @ Braukaiser.com.  I followed his Dunkel recipe and it is the best lager that I've ever made. 
Dan Chisholm

Offline dcdwort

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2012, 06:20:31 PM »
Thanks for the braukaiser.com site!  Now I have even more reading to do!  That is actually just what I was looking for and the Scharwzbier recipe looks great.  Let's see, put in the wood floor in the entry way, rebuild my son's 4.6 stroker for his jeep and then I can build my bar/beer cooler/fermentation center in the basement!
Don
Bottled:  Nightime Porter, Pumpkin Eater Ale, Big Lass Double IPA, Sholto Scottish Ale, Neville Court ESB, Lowlands Scottish ale 80/, Morining Oatmeal stout, NB 1554 clone, NB SnowDay clone
Planning:
Fermenting:

Offline mihalybaci

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2012, 06:40:58 PM »
I know White Labs has a few different ale yeasts that they claim have a "lager-like" character (the East Coast Ale yeast comes to mind). Maybe you could try one of those and just ferment as cool as you can. I think their Oktoberfest lager yeast has gives a fermentation range up to near 60F. I'm sure it wouldn't be as clean, but I've often thought of trying that since I don't have a fermentation chiller either.

On a related note, I was trying to cool one of my carboys down and I wrapped it in a soaking wet towel with a box fan on it. The room temp was ~62F and in about 5 minutes with the fan on the outside of the carboy was reading 52F with my infrared thermometer. Though you'd have to keep the towel wet 24/7...

Offline Kaiser

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2012, 07:07:54 PM »
You'll love the Schwarzbier I have on my site. Its one of my favorites. Hopefully I can brew it again soon.

I don't have experience with making lager like beers with ale yeast. But maybe you can get your hands on a freezer chest that you can use for fermentation/lagering.

You may also use a tub with water and ice to control primary fermentation temps. Those are more important than actually "lagering" the beer.

Kai

Offline nateo

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2012, 07:17:47 PM »
If you brew a schwarzbier with a neutral-ish German ale yeast (like 1007 or K-97) you get a pretty awesome beer. Not really "to style" but very tasty. It'll end up more like NB's 1554 than a typical German lager.
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline dcdwort

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2012, 07:48:36 PM »
Thanks Nateo.  1554 is actually on of my favorite beers so I would not be disappointed with something turning out like that.  Just printed out the Son Of Fermentation Chiller and it seems pretty straightforward of a project.   I think I even had space in the basement bathroom to put it now.
Kaiser, I am going to grab your recipe and once I get the chiller together will give it a run.
I think my problem with home brewing is that this opens up too many avenues for experimentation!  Once while setting in Old Chicagos having a beer and discussing brewing, a customer asked why I was there if I made my own beer.  I pointed to the 20+ drafts and coolers with another 100+ bottles, and said:  I can't make them all!  Well we can try!
Don
Bottled:  Nightime Porter, Pumpkin Eater Ale, Big Lass Double IPA, Sholto Scottish Ale, Neville Court ESB, Lowlands Scottish ale 80/, Morining Oatmeal stout, NB 1554 clone, NB SnowDay clone
Planning:
Fermenting:

Offline dcdwort

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2012, 08:15:37 PM »
Kaiser,  primary fermentation at 46-48 *F, lower than I can get with a fan and wet t-shirt.  I have dropped to mid 50s with that method.  Looks like the Son of Fermentator is going to be a necessity.
Don
Bottled:  Nightime Porter, Pumpkin Eater Ale, Big Lass Double IPA, Sholto Scottish Ale, Neville Court ESB, Lowlands Scottish ale 80/, Morining Oatmeal stout, NB 1554 clone, NB SnowDay clone
Planning:
Fermenting:

Offline rjharper

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2012, 11:00:53 PM »
There's the option of brewing a dunkelweizen; that ferments at ale temps.

Offline erockrph

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2012, 05:05:07 AM »
I was able to maintain lager fermentation temps for an Ofest in a swamp cooler this summer in my basement (which was 68F ambient), so it is possible. It's just a royal PITA. I used a combination of frozen 1-liter and 3-liter soda bottles that I swapped out 2-3 times a day in the water bath. I was able to pitch at 45F by making the initial bath from ice water. Water bath temps generally fluctuated between 48-54F during the day, so I'm thinking the fluctuation in the carboy itself was even narrower than that. The beer tastes great, but I won't be doing this more than once or twice a year since it's a bit of a pain to manage.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline newrocset

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2012, 05:05:57 AM »
It's easy to get your wort 10-15 degrees lower using a 20gallon bucket (from lowes/home depot) and frozen 2-liter bottles (or anything that you can refreeze).  The only drawback is having to change them out every 12 hours, but this is how I ferment all my beers including lagers with great success.
Have a Kolsch and a smile!

Offline majorvices

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2012, 05:50:40 AM »
If you can get the temp into the mid to high 50s give WY1007 a try for you German Mock lager. It's very clean and has some "lagerish" characteristics.
Keith Y.
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Offline dcdwort

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Re: First German Dark Beer
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2012, 09:04:14 AM »
With my basement temp of 60 and using fan/wet t-shirt, I can drop my fermentor to between 55-58 with ease.  Maybe even lower.  I did that by accident with my porter when it had jumped to 70.  12 hrs later it was 58.  But right now I think the wife and I are heading to Denver for the Octoberfest!
Don
Bottled:  Nightime Porter, Pumpkin Eater Ale, Big Lass Double IPA, Sholto Scottish Ale, Neville Court ESB, Lowlands Scottish ale 80/, Morining Oatmeal stout, NB 1554 clone, NB SnowDay clone
Planning:
Fermenting: