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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > cold house = slow fermentation
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Old 04-07-2006, 01:21 AM   #1
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Default cold house = slow fermentation

I keep my house around 60-62 degrees in winter so my ambient fermentation temperatures are pretty low. I've noticed that fermentation takes a little longer than one would expect--I usually have to wait another 3-7 days for my final gravity to stop moving.

Is there anything wrong with letting the wort bubble away for these 'extended' periods in those cool temperatures?

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Old 04-07-2006, 02:52 AM   #2
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from my limited experience, as long as you are in the working range of the yeast you chose, you should be fine. generally the lower end of a yeasts range produces the best beer.
a more senior brewer will correct me if i have mis-spoken.

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Old 04-07-2006, 03:18 AM   #3
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I'm totally a cold fermenter. I do everything in the basement, and for lagers proper I have an insulated box that hangs around 50-55 and the ambient in that room is seldom above 65, and my ales work out really well. Never had any off tastes. I think some of my fermentations have been pretty slow compared to my buddies who brew at higher temps, but I've never had an ale that needed more than about 3 weeks of conditioning before being dead clear and totally fermented.

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Old 04-07-2006, 03:18 AM   #4
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Ya, there isn't anything to worry about. Its all about the final product. My apt. is usually in the mid to high sixties and I've never had a problem. The low temperatures are more than likely the reason why you have slow ferments. But beer is always good the longer you wait, right?

It is possible to get more lager styles of beers if you use an ale yeast at a lower temperature, around 57 F. And, lager beers do take longer to ferment, so this is why your beer takes a little longer.

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Old 04-07-2006, 03:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rod
from my limited experience, as long as you are in the working range of the yeast you chose, you should be fine. generally the lower end of a yeasts range produces the best beer.
a more senior brewer will correct me if i have mis-spoken.
I don't know if I'd say a low temp produces a 'better' beer, but I would say that it produces a 'cleaner' beer. Sometimes clean can be the goal, but lots of ales would seem strange if you cut down the ester content of them with a low temp fermentation.

I usually do all of my ales in the mid-range of the yeast. The only exception to this is my 80/-, which I do at the low end of wyeast's scottish ale strain (in the mid 50's).

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Old 04-07-2006, 03:25 PM   #6
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For almost all ales cooler is better, so long as the yeast is still in its active range. There are a few styles where the esters produced at higher temperatures ARE the style. It's much easier adding a little heat than cooling. I can't brew much in the summer, unless I manage to get busy and get the old garage cleared out and the fermentation cabinet built before June.

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Old 04-07-2006, 04:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
For almost all ales cooler is better, so long as the yeast is still in its active range. There are a few styles where the esters produced at higher temperatures ARE the style.
This sums it up pretty well, I think. If you're using a very neutral strain like 1056 or WLP001, then you want that very neutral flavor profile that a cooler ferment will give you.

Belgians and Hefes fermented overly cool will tend to come up tasting like American bastard stepchildren of those styles--like, say, New Belgium beers or American Wheats. I'm not saying that's bad, unequivocally: I generally like New Belgium's beers, but they're not terribly Belgian tasting. I do tend to find American Wheats boring, though.
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Old 04-07-2006, 05:30 PM   #8
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Low temps = cleaner beers Higher temps = more esters

However this is all dependant on which yeast you are using.
There is nothing wrong w/ a slow ferment but a slow start will give bacteria a chance to settle in. So always make a starter for you batches so they get going right away.

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