Tuesday, January 6, 2009

79 Degree Lager!

My best intentions turned South...way South. It's as if I tried brewing this lager in some equatorial region like Brazil. The Awktoberfest may have become the most awkward lager of all times, and it's name may be best suited for its experimental state.

After pithing the wort over a large yeast cake at about noon, it started out nice and low at 42°F, then slowely rose to 50°F by late night or even the next morning. Mid day Monday it was churning inside and ferneting smoothly. Since it was getting colder out, I decided to loosely wrap the carboy with a rug and a fanned heater aimed at it. With the thermostat on, I didn't think it would get very warm at all. But...

In the morning, the fermometer (stick on thermometer) seemed to be broken. There wasn't any indication of a temperature. I almost had a heart attack! Then I noticed a faint coloration by the highest readout...78°F, and just about had a heart attack! After feeling the side of the carboy, I knew right away what had happened. It rose about 29 degrees to 79°F. In other terms, it's like fermenting an ale (normally around 70°F) at 99°F! Darn.

By the time I came back from work at 4pm, it had already settled down a lot, and the temperature was sitting at about 60°F. So in short, this has become a very unexpected experiment in fermenting a lager at the highest temperature possible. I'll let ya'll know how it turns out. Who knows, it might become a new technique. So far, it doesn't smell all that bad.

10 comments:

Señor Brew™ said...

You might get some fuesels, or maybe some ale-like fruitiness, but it was too warm for a fairly short period, so I think you'll be ok.

Ben Spiegel said...

Oh Crap! haha. Keep us posted on how it turns out. Who knows, it may be awesome.

Jake said...

Sounds like you may get some interesting flavours, be curious to see how it turns out!

Ted Danyluk said...

Senor Brew, It was warm for half its fermentation. It slowly made it down to about 60 where it pretty much finished fermenting. Now it has been sitting at about 50 for a couple days. This is a fermentation that should be gradual over two weeks. I'm considering racking into a keg, setting in a cold corner and forgetting about it till Spring.

Jake & Ben S., I'll let ya know how it turns out. I'll taste it and SG it during racking and have a good idea what it will be like. I'm not optimistic about it. What a bummer way to start the year...oh well.

Adam Snider said...

Hope it works out better than the Baltic porter I tried to make in Hawaii without temp control; that stuff was pretty much undrinkable. It works for steam beer; hopefully it'll work here, too.

Kevin LaVoy said...

You put it on a yeast cake. I have found that tactic to be pretty forgiving as far as cleaning stuff up is concerned. Let it lager real cold for a long time, and it'll be alright.

Ted Danyluk said...

Adam, yeah lets hope so.

Thanks Kevin, that's reassuring. I think you have a point there. I'll rack it by disturbing a little of the top layer of yeast, so there's still a fair amount in lagering phase.

Señor Brew™ said...

I must have read your post wrong, I thought it was only above 60F for part of Monday night. I mean it didn't go from 50F to 79F instantaneously. Of course I neglected to consider the cool down time as well. So for the first 30+ hours it was in lager range, the next 16 or so it was too warm? It might turn out okay. You definitely got your diacetyl rest in. :-)

Ben Spiegel said...

We demand an update! :)

Ted Danyluk said...

It was in early krausen by the end of the first day. Then over night (8hrs) the temp rose from 50 to 79*F. Then over the next 10 hours it fell back to 60, and stayed there for the remainder of the second day. It was pretty much at the end of post-krausen, and the temp also drop to about 50 where it stayed for the rest of the week.

Ben, keep your pants on. You know lagers take time. But I can say that at racking, the beer actually tasted pretty good. So now some hope is restored.

I'll probably forget about it till the end of the Winter.