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Old 11-18-2006, 11:09 PM   #1
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Default Oatmeal Stout Fermentation Issues

I just brewed up an oatmeal stout this afternoon, looks and smells great, but when I stopped by my LHBS to get the ingredients, the lady said that I would need to get my beer to around 55 degrees after the primary fermentation to properly condition/ferment the beer further, otherwise it would come out tasting bad. She said they had done a stout a month or two ago and let it stay in the 70s the whole time, and it came out tasting bad.

Now, they made have made some other mistakes, and I haven't really seen any talk about alternate conditioning temps, so maybe she just doesn't know what she's talking about. However, if I *do* need to get a cooler temp for the second week and beyond, I'd like to know ASAP so I can get something planned and set up by next weekend. So any advice or information would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 11-18-2006, 11:23 PM   #2
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For a stout, I wouldn't worry about it. Try and stay under 70, and it'll be fine. Cold conditioning is a good thing, but not necessary by any stretch for this type of beer.

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Old 11-20-2006, 01:11 AM   #3
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Okay, I pitched Saturday afternoon around 4:30pm, nothing before I went to work at 6pm. I'd put it in the bathtub with cool water and about a gallon worth of ice cubes to cool it, because I think it was around 80 degrees when I left.

When I got home at 3am, there was a nice 1-2" krausen, and it was bubbling rapidly. The temp was right around 75 degrees, though, and I got a little paranoid. I put a two litter bottle that I'd frozen that day in the tub and went to sleep.

Today it was down to about 71 degrees by this afternoon, but I got worried, so I decided to put it on my back patio. It's in the mid 50s outside here. Am I being foolish? Will I shock the yeast or anything, or will the carboy cool slowly enough that it shouldn't be too cold before it starts to warm up again tomorrow. Is it a bad idea to ferment outside in general, because of fluctuating temps? I just don't have a really easy way to get my temp below 70 degrees indoors yet.

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Old 11-20-2006, 01:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torchiest
I just brewed up an oatmeal stout this afternoon, looks and smells great, but when I stopped by my LHBS to get the ingredients, the lady said that I would need to get my beer to around 55 degrees after the primary fermentation to properly condition/ferment the beer further, otherwise it would come out tasting bad. She said they had done a stout a month or two ago and let it stay in the 70s the whole time, and it came out tasting bad.

Now, they made have made some other mistakes, and I haven't really seen any talk about alternate conditioning temps, so maybe she just doesn't know what she's talking about. However, if I *do* need to get a cooler temp for the second week and beyond, I'd like to know ASAP so I can get something planned and set up by next weekend. So any advice or information would be greatly appreciated!
FWIW, I have a batch of oatmeal stout that's bottle conditioning right now. It took a LOONNG time for carbonation to take place (almost the full three weeks), and the first time I sampled it, it tasted awful. I tried one again after I noticed sediment in my bottles, and it tastes o.k., but still a bit off. And, I did indeed have temps over 70 degrees for all stages of fermentation. I'm going to move all bottles in the basement and let them further condition at cellar temps for at least another month to let some of the flavors mellow out, at which point I think everything will be o.k.
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Old 11-20-2006, 01:08 PM   #5
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I made an oatmeal stout once that probably never saw a temperature below 70 from primary until it was put in the fridge for me to drink. It was the best beer I've made so far, and everybody who tried one ended up trying three more. Buncha drunks.

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Old 11-20-2006, 03:03 PM   #6
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I made one based on Papazian's 'Uckleduckfay' OS. Fermented in the 70's. Tasted fine. Then, going by Papazian's recommendation, I dryhopped for a couple weeks with Crystal hop pellets. It completely screwed it up...when I bottled it, it tasted like ketchup and olives. Ugh. I am optimistic, though...I think that after a few months in bottle, the hoppy weirdness will subside.

For your purposes, Torchy, I will note that Papazian recommends "lagering" the Uckleduckfay for a couple of months while in secondary, but not during fermentation. Once I'm sure it's carbonated, I'm going to put my bottles in my lagerator.

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Old 11-20-2006, 05:58 PM   #7
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Well, it cooled down to about 66º by midnight, and I wrapped it in a towel to insulate it. I checked it around 3am and it was at 64º, so I moved it inside because it was in the upper 40s outside. I figure I can move it in and out to keep it in the upper 60s without too much trouble. It's supposed to stay beteen 40º and 70º here for the rest of the week. I have no plans for dry-hopping. I'm not really sure what the effects of it are yet, and I'm trying to only change one thing at a time for each batch, although I suppose I've changed yeast and fermenting temps for this one. Oops.

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Old 12-01-2006, 08:30 PM   #8
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Well, here in Houston, we experienced a MAJOR cool down, about 40-50 degrees colder. I didn't have the heat on last night, and my stout, still in the primary, has cooled down to 59 degrees. Since it had been in the 60s during primary, it hasn't finished fermenting as fast as my other batches. Now that it's dropped into the high 50s, I'm worried that I might not get complete fermentation. Any more advice?

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Old 12-02-2006, 03:15 AM   #9
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It'll warm up slowly in your house. I know this cold snap won't last. I wouldn't worry about it. Just give it another week then rack to secondary.

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Old 12-02-2006, 06:33 AM   #10
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Hahaha, I don't HAVE a secondary fermenter yet. It's been in primary (or uniary?) for 13 days now. I was planning on trying to bottle it sometime between Saturday and Wednesday, which would be 14-18 days. Guess I'll just have to be patient.

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