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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Fermentation Temperature
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Old 04-08-2010, 03:16 PM   #1
Old Crow
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Default Fermentation Temperature

I know there are a lot of threads relative to controlling the temperature of the fermentation. However, I am quite hard headed and feel that I must beat the dead horse...
I ferment ALE without the use of temperature control. I have seen some primary temps rise as high as 80F. The normal range of my house and fermentation is about 75F. I have made some really good beers but have always thought that my bad beers were bacterial. I am now beginning to think that its all in the fermentation.

My question is: Am I kidding myself that a 75F fermented beer can turn out good? How about 78F.?

Second question: If I invest in controlling my temps, will I solve my bad beer problems? How important is temp control?

Please help.

Thanks.

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Old 04-08-2010, 03:48 PM   #2
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Temp control is a big deal. Yeast do different things at different temps, and depending on the style, it might not be helping your beer by having it ferment at such high temperatures.

There are styles though that may benefit from being that warm.

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Old 04-08-2010, 03:51 PM   #3
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Well, I would use your high temps to your advantage. Brew some belgians, outside of that I think it is much to warm to get consistently clean results from most ale yeasts.

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Old 04-08-2010, 04:24 PM   #4
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Agreed. If you want to brew a variety of beer styles then I would build a fermentation chamber or figure out some way to control the temps better. A lot of Ales prefer to ferment down in the 60's to low 70's.
I wouldn't go so far as to say this will solve ALL your beer problems but it will eliminate one reason for a beer not turning out well.

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Old 04-08-2010, 04:35 PM   #5
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if your not convinced you can always experiment. make a batch and split it in half. ferment half your usual way and ferment the other half with temp control. bottle separately and let age side by side. then drink them. you may be surprised at the difference. you may want to do this with a few beers. just because one is fine doesn't mean they all will be fine.

i would look into building a swamp cooler. from what i hear they are cheap and work well. if you like the results then you can consider spending more money to get more reliable temp control.

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Old 04-08-2010, 07:43 PM   #6
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I'm in a similar situation. I live in Florida and always have to deal with warm household temperatues and no cellar. My house is at 77 most of the year (72 in the short winter), so I'm always fermenting at higher than desired temps. My beers are all pretty good. Not best of show, but good nonetheless. So, I'd recommend the ole RDWHAHB if you're generally happy with your beers. I do think fermenting ales below 70 will help trememdously tho. For the first time, I've set up my own temp control system using spare parts from my other hobby, reef aquariums. I have 2 aquarium chillers that were collecting dust and decided to put one of them to use for beer. I'm using a modified swamp cooler setup using a rope handled bucket with enough water to come up to the beer line in by 6.5g glass carboy fermenter. A spare aquarium power head pumps water out of the bucket, thru the chiller and back to the bucket, creating a nice flow around the fermenter to maintain constant temps.

The chiller I'm using atm is a peltier based chiller, so its not too powerful, but it is managing to keep the water temps at 66-68 deg in a 77 deg room. My other chiller uses a compressor so it's much stronger and could probably chill this amount of water down to 60 or less, but it is a bit noisier and uses more power. The peltier one is pretty quiet as it only as a small fan creating noise and it draw very little power to operate. All things my wife appreciates. This is the first time I've tried it out and the beer is still in the primary. I'm looking forward to a much cleaner ale.

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Old 04-08-2010, 10:31 PM   #7
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Great responses. I really appreciate your help. The "off" flavors that i am getting are not bandaid, but rather like there is a chemical in the aftertaste. The initial sip is very good, smell is delicious, however, once it hits your tongue it's not so good. I'd say it tastes a little like chlorine or something similar. Yes, i'm using tap water from the city, but i've used well water too and with it i get the same results. So... this is where I'm starting to wonder if it's the fermentation temp resulting in these chemical aftertastes.

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Old 04-09-2010, 03:55 AM   #8
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Others probably have other experiences and comments, but I wanted to ferment the Wyeast 1010 at 58-62, and was worried it would be too warm in my basement, so I just put my 5 gallon carboy in my cooler with water at 60 degrees. I put a couple of wet t-shirts over it and would take the temp every few hours (when I was home...obviously from work it was a little difficult to monitor the temp). The water temp was always between 58 - 62, and then after 4 or 5 days I moved it out of the water onto the concrete (it's getting cool again here, so it's probably 60 degrees in the basement). If you have a cooler and a thermometer, you're golden. I'm sure others have invested in more expensive equipment....and that IS better, but I'm a cheapskate.

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Old 04-09-2010, 04:30 AM   #9
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I've only recently returned to homebrewing. I brewed a lot throughout the 90s, then stopped for a lot of reasons that in hindsight were stupid. So, after about a decade, I've just started back up this year. In my earlier brewing days, I never used any temp control whatsoever and consistently made very good beers in the warm climate of Florida. Occasionally, a bad one would crop up, but never so bad that it was undrinkable.

How long are you letting your beers age before trying them out? It might take a little longer for ales brewed at higher temperatures to age out a lot of defects. I'm drinking a wonderful honey wheat beer that I brewed at 77 degrees in my house with no temp control. It is putting a huge smile on my face right now, but when I first tried a bottle, it was fairly harsh and puckering dry. A few weeks later, the harsh notes have mostly gone away and I'm extremely happy with this beer. Bottom line, age does wonders to mellow out the off flavors.

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Old 04-09-2010, 05:00 AM   #10
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I am in the same boat temp wise pretty much most of the year and I think I know the off flavor you are taking about. Just try to control the temp for the first few days of ferment if you can. I use the plastic storage bins ($5) and cut a hole in the top for the bucket or carboy. Put some frozen water bottles in there with a couple inches of water switching them out every day. After a few days I forget about it. Just doing that has significantly improved my beers taste.

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