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Old 12-03-2011, 05:41 PM   #1
Salmonhouse
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Default Increasing temp after primary?

I'm running a temperature controlled fermentation on a conical fermenter.

I've been re-using So4 English Ale yeast and fermenting 64-66F with little temp fluctuations for two weeks before kegging. I would like to hold my beer a little longer but it would necessitate another fermentation chamber/ fermenter, imo.

My question is should I be increasing my fermentation temperatures after the primary phase of fermentation in order to 'speed it along'? I have heard of brewers using such a technique in large commercial breweries.

So, for example: My primary fermentation on a current batch of stout just took approx. 5 days from when it started being active. Now that activity has slowed down to almost nothing, would it be advantageous to heat it to 70+ F in order to finish it out faster or given that i still have another 9 days before i will keg will leaving it at ~65F be just as well?

Also should i cold crash?

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-Brad

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Old 12-04-2011, 01:30 AM   #2
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What style of beer are you making? Unless you are after the estery qualities of a warmer fermenting ale yeast I would leave it alone. Your temperature range looks very good for that yeast and in my opinion, speeding a yeast along is not a good idea. Making beer is about balance and complexity not about speed.

Just buy another carboy/bucket

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Old 12-04-2011, 02:16 AM   #3
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6 of one, half dozen of the other. If you're not kegging for 9 days it'll most likely be done fermenting either way. There shouldn't be any ill effects of ramping up since fermentation is just about wrapped up right now anyway.

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Old 12-04-2011, 04:56 AM   #4
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The beer is good at 65F for two weeks. If i give it a couple more weeks it's even better though. I just don't have that kind of real estate so i was hoping some more heat after the primary might speed along the aging process.

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Old 12-04-2011, 06:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helibrewer View Post
What style of beer are you making? Unless you are after the estery qualities of a warmer fermenting ale yeast I would leave it alone. Your temperature range looks very good for that yeast and in my opinion, speeding a yeast along is not a good idea. Making beer is about balance and complexity not about speed.

Just buy another carboy/bucket
Exactly...what beer style are you making and what yeast strain are you using? Both are huge in figuring out your help.
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Old 12-04-2011, 11:29 AM   #6
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If you are familiar with how a particular yeast strain behaves at a continuous ferment temp in a particular OG of beer, then you are on the right track to start thinking about fiddling with your process this way. If you're not there yet, just allow it to age at the same temp for longer.

When you pitch, your yeast goes through a growth phase followed by (and intermixed with) a ferment phase. During this process all available oxygen is consumed from the wort and vessel. In a moderate gravity wort with a average speed yeast within that yeast's happy temperature range, you're looking at 2 to 4 days in the fermenter for the bulk of fermentation to be over. Your beer is not done at that point by any means. It will still ferment a few points more, and the yeast will do lots of cleanup in the following days, getting rid of undesirable characteristics.

This is the point where your question comes into play. Once you know primary fermentation has largely completed (due to gravity readings, experience... not airlock activity) you can ramp the temperature up to expedite the cleanup phase for the yeast, without worrying about the ester or phenol production as you normally would, because primary fermentation is over. Just remember that increasing the temperature effects everything in the new beer, not just the yeast. Hop aroma, oxidation (which you can ignore if the beer is still in the conical), autolysis... So go gently and experiment. As with all things in your process, the change comes with a trade off. Is it worth it in your context? You decide!

Since you have a conical, you can dump your trub and collect/discard your yeast cake after primary fermentation is complete (say, day 6 for example in a moderate OG beer, use your knowledge) and then gently ramp over the next few days.

I have produced some of my best beer with judicious ramping, up to around 74-76F on an imperial IPA for example. Just don't hold it up there for weeks. Be gentle, cautious, experiment, and keep good records. I know from experience that you can both expedite and improve beers this way. Or your can screw them up if you're too yeehaw about it

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