On 7/15 I brewed the Raison d' Saison from Brewing Classic Styles. Mashed at 146 and got an OG of 1.065 (recipe OG 1.060). Pitched a decanted 2L starter of 565 at about 70 and then put it in the swamp bath at 67 and the yeast got down to business. I kept it about 68 for the first two days, then started ramping up the temp a few degrees each day.
Recipe final gravity is 1.008. On day four the bath was about 7980 and the SG (all temp corrected) was at 1.012. Krausen had fallen, but still lots of airlock activity. The sample tasted fairly dry, slightly fruity and peppery, it was nice. Day seven it was up to 84 and SG at 1.008. Still was some airlock activity The sample tasted perhaps a little boozier, maybe even slightly hot, which I didn't notice on the first sample.
Took a reading today, day eleven and SG is 1.007. Bath has been steady at about 8586 for several days. The surface of the beer is mostly clear except for some spotting of solid yeast bits that are still hanging out on top. No airlock activity at this point, or at least it's very slow if there is any. The sample tastes similar to the last, slightly hot.
So here are my questions. I know that the flavor of the yeast is mostly imparted in the initial days of fermentation, and this beer was at ~68 for the first few days. Also there was no hotness at all on the first sample at day 4. This is only my 6th brew, but I'm wondering if a) the hotness could be isolated to beer at the top of fermenter and since my thief only takes shallow draws I'm picking up a hotter tasting sample, and b) the yeast will clean up after themselves thereby diminishing the hotness.
I'm also wondering if I should transfer this to a secondary after about 2 weeks in primary, or just bottle after I hit final gravity, or let it go in the primary for about 34 weeks then bottle. Also, should I keep it up in the 80s for conditioning/secondary? I've never done secondary before, only 3 and 4 week primaries, which have worked well. This is my lightest color beer yet.
I know a lot of this stuff is personal preference and the primary vs secondary debate is well documented here, but I'm mostly wondering about the hotness (diacetyl?) that wasn't there initially, and if anyone knows anything for me to think about.