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Old 11-21-2010, 02:07 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Strong Dark with WLP500: Temperature Problems

Hi Everyone,
I'm brewing a Belgian Strong Dark (along the lines of a quad) and I pitched my yeast Friday night. By the next afternoon it had really started to get going. I have the carboy in my living room because that's most most consistent room temperature-wise at an even 68 degrees. I took some temperature readings of the beer itself and it was right around 70 degrees.

This morning I woke up and the beer is really going strong, but the temperature of the beer has climbed to 80 degrees! It is not near any heat source, but I do have the carboy wrapped in a blanket to keep the light out. The "optimal" temperature range of the WLP500 is 65-72, so I am worried this is going to give the beer off-flavors.

I think my best move is to remove the blanket and instead of keeping the carboy upstairs, move it to the basement into a dark closet which is around 60 degrees. I think the heat being generated by the beer will keep it warm enough in the lower temperatures and help balance it a bit better in the appropriate range. Any thoughts on this?

And secondly: if my final gravity is still high when this round of fermentation is completed, can I transfer to another carboy and pitch another round of the same yeast strain to try to get it lower?

Thanks!

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Old 11-21-2010, 02:17 PM   #2
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Your best bet is to put it in a tub of water and cycle frozen water bottles in and out. You don't want the temperature to get that high on a big beer because you might get some undesired fusels.

I think that if any yeast would be a little forgiving of high temps, it would be Belgian yeast since some ester character is desired.

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Old 11-21-2010, 06:11 PM   #3
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Belgian yeasts like fermenting high (maybe not 80 though). Don't worry about it, it will have lots of wonderful Belgian yeast flavors.

Remove the blanket and replace with a T-shirt.

Don't worry about the yeast finishing; that yeast will do fine. Expect at least 80% attenuation.

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Old 11-21-2010, 06:15 PM   #4
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i agree with Calder Belgians and particularly Belgian strongs are supposed to be fermenting around that temp. RDWHAHB

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Old 11-22-2010, 02:23 AM   #5
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The guys doing the Westy 12 clone were fermenting up to 82-83 with WLP530, if I remember correctly. A lot of the characteristic dark Belgian flavors come from fermenting that high. If it were me, I'd let it rip. YMMV.

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Old 11-22-2010, 02:29 AM   #6
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Jamil recommends on a Belgian Strong to slowly raise the temp up to 82 degrees over the course of a week.........I think you will be fine other than that maybe it got too warm too fast.

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Old 11-22-2010, 01:02 PM   #7
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Thanks for the responses!

Before reading all these updates I moved the beer to the basement and it cooled down to right around 68-70 by this morning. Then, after reading these responses, I decided I should probably let the beer do what it wants rather than what I want it to do. The ambient temperature is 68 degrees. If this thing wants to race up to 80, let it go. I'll just pull the blanket off and replace it with a t-shirt so it can release more heat and let it do its own thing.

Thanks for the advice-- much appreciated. OG on this one was 1.106... I'll post back with the TG later on. I plan to leave it in the carboy for a couple weeks.

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Old 11-24-2010, 03:19 AM   #8
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The temperatures evened out around 68-70 degrees F. I did a quick check today on the current gravity and the beer came in at a 1.020, right around 11.5% ABV. It's a little higher than I wanted, but the flovor is right on the money so far! It's still bubbling through the airlock every now and then so I am going to let it sit until next week when I am back from visiting family for Thanksgiving. Looks like this will work out just fine. Thanks again for the advice!

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