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granpooba19 11-20-2012 03:36 AM

Basement fermentation
 
So I've been putting my ale pales in the basement to ferment because it maintains a steady temperature..~67*F. But the wort can get up to 70-72*F while fermenting.

Reading on here, fermentation temps seems to be one of the biggest variables that needs to be controlled. I do have a fridge and johnson controller I could use (I'd have to put my bottles elsewhere)...is that my best option for getting optimal fermentation temperatures? Or should I not really worry about it, since my beers all ferment and are decent (decent, not amazing, but that could be due to not hitting my mash temps that well). Thanks!

apratsunrthd 11-20-2012 03:56 AM

In short, yes. Out of the 300 or so beers I've judged over the past few years, at least half could be improved by good fermentation temperature control.

I've worked with one yeast I would recommend for the conditions you've described: Bastogne. Start it at around 67 and let it go wherever it will go. The best Trippel I ever made was using that yeast and that method. I started it in my basement at exactly 66. It easily reached 80 before fermentation ceased. That particular yeast is selected for such a fermentation. I understand some 'farmhouse' yeasts are the same, allowing up to 90 degree temps without excessive fusels. YMMV.

nukebrewer 11-20-2012 03:59 AM

Yeah, I didn't start thinking my beers were great until after I started worrying about fermentation temperature. I was in the same situation where my basement hits 70-75 F during the summer. My first few years of brewing I didn't care because my mindset was that it was more effort than it was worth to control the temp if I was turning out halfway decent beer. The first sip I had of a beer that I had really controlled the temp on (wet towel and fan method)... **** that was some good ass beer. Now I always take measures to make sure I am fermenting in the right temperature range. I would definitely say use the fridge for temp control. The bottles will be fine conditioning at 67 F. Cheers!

william_shakes_beer 11-20-2012 12:41 PM

As you brew your beer appears to get worse. In reality your taste is getting more sensitive. And that's a good thing. Try a BMC this afternoon, whatever you used to be your go-to beer in the old days before home brewing. That beer has gotten much worse .

duboman 11-20-2012 01:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by granpooba19 (Post 4605539)
So I've been putting my ale pales in the basement to ferment because it maintains a steady temperature..~67*F. But the wort can get up to 70-72*F while fermenting.

Reading on here, fermentation temps seems to be one of the biggest variables that needs to be controlled. I do have a fridge and johnson controller I could use (I'd have to put my bottles elsewhere)...is that my best option for getting optimal fermentation temperatures? Or should I not really worry about it, since my beers all ferment and are decent (decent, not amazing, but that could be due to not hitting my mash temps that well). Thanks!

If your basement really is ambient at 67 you can use a simple swamp cooler to maintain a consistent temperature for the first week without having to use the fridge, IMO. If your basement is that cold, I'll assume at this time of year your ground water is pretty chilly so if you add the colder water to the tub you can simply allow the primary to self rise to ambient for great controlled growth and fermentation!

Jayhem 11-20-2012 01:19 PM

I have the exact same setup. I ferment in my basement but I put the fermenters in my johnson controlled fridge for the first 5-6 days and keep the ambient temp in the fridge around 61F so that my beer doesn't get over 68F during fermentation. Once fermentaton has slowed I move the beer to the basement where the ambient stays between 66 and 70 this time of year.

RmikeVT 11-20-2012 01:37 PM

To the OP. I put my bucket in an igloo cube cooler while fermenting and have had success keeping my temps with in two degrees of my target, only checking on temps (adding frozen ice bottle) every 8 hours.

I just brewed an ESB with WLP002 and kept the temp between 60-62 for first three days and then let it come up to 65 and after a week just let it condition at ambient. I kegged this past thursday and I think this is the best beer I've brewed, all because of Temps.


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