Author Topic: Brewing a "Fest" in summer  (Read 587 times)

Offline cfleisher

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 98
    • Brews Reporter
Brewing a "Fest" in summer
« on: June 02, 2014, 01:00:24 AM »
Does anybody have tips on making some approximation of a fest bier during the summer, without a refrigerator? I just moved and had to give up lots of equipment and don't have the ability to do a true lager. My basement gets down to 60-degrees, and I have cheap styrofoam cooler that fits a carboy and which I might be able to get down to 50 degrees with enough ice packs, but that would require a lot of attention.

Any suggestions on how to do a cheater Oktoberfest during the summer? My pregnant wife has requested it as her first post-birth beer. She's due in late-August.
Primary: Grapefruit IPA
Secondary: Berliner Weisse

Offline Upstate Dan

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 46
  • Albany, NY
Re: Brewing a "Fest" in summer
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2014, 02:07:41 AM »
I would try WLP810 for 60 degrees.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Brewing a "Fest" in summer
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2014, 02:35:09 PM »
I've done lagers by keeping my fermenter in a large bucket filled about to the level of beer in the fermenter. I swapped out frozen water bottles of various sizes 2-3 times per day. It's not perfect for temp control (you will get some fluctuations in temp), but it will at least keep you in lager fermentation range. The key is to pitch as cold as you can manage (45F or less), and pitch a whole lot of yeast. I've found that lager yeast can be a bit more forgiving of warmer temps as long as you pitch on the coldside with a big pitch of yeast.

If you can't cold condition in the fermenter, then bottle as usual and let them fully carbonate (give them at least 3 weeks at room temp). Then you can lager them in the bottles.

And I highly recommend WY2633 (Octoberfest Blend). I've made some good 'Fests using this procedure with this yeast.
Eric B.

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

Offline HoosierBrew

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
Re: Brewing a "Fest" in summer
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2014, 03:06:25 PM »
+1.  I've done lagers before in a plastic tub of water with frozen water bottles as well. It actually does a pretty decent job if you can cool to ~ 48F and pitch, pitch a big starter (which you need anyway for lagers) and swap the frozen bottles 2 or 3 times a day.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2014, 03:09:27 PM by HoosierBrew »
Jon H.

Offline Jimmy K

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3646
  • Delaware
Re: Brewing a "Fest" in summer
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2014, 04:59:58 PM »
I can keep a carboy in the mid-60's in a high 70's room using a cooler and ice packs. No water bath - just put the carboy in the cooler, place ice packs around it and wrap towels around the top to keep cold air in. I replace the ice packs once or twice a day depending on need. Not using a water bath is less messy and I figure helps avoid fast temperature changes.
Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup - former president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP Certified: B0958