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Old 06-10-2011, 01:20 PM   #1
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Default Pitched yeast a little high, but it cooled down rapidly...

So when I pitched my yeast it was probably 78 degrees or so. I now realize I should let it cool a bit more in my basement before pitching the next time. The ambient temperature in my basement is 65, and my beers cooled down before bubbling to about 68*.

My question is-- is this really all that bad? I hear the first few hours yeast doesn't start fermenting very vigorously, they populate. Would higher initial fermentation temperatures boost the yeast pop for a healthier fermentation, or am I going to get a lot of banana flavor?

Like I said, there was no airlock activity that went on above 72*. Beers have been sitting a week @ 66-68*.

Will I be okay?

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:15 PM   #2
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That temperature is actually preferable to yeast when pitching. I don't recall where I read it, however. It will be fine!

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
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A lot of guides say to pitch warm, and then cool it down. The problem with that though is that frequently fermentation will start, generate more heat, and before you know it the temperature has really run away on you. I wouldn't worry about it, 78 isn't too high to kill your yeast, and if you brought it down to 68 then I don't think you will have any problems. In the future I would recommend trying to get your wort down to the 60s, and possibly below your desired fermentation temperature, and let it rise to desired temperature. That seems to be what a lot of more experienced brewers do.

The higher initial temperature will help the yeast wake up faster, but there are much better ways to do that, such as making a starter or just using dry yeast.

What type of beer are you making? You shouldn't get over the top esters below 72, and 66-68 is a pretty good range for most yeasts.

I envy your basement. I live in a studio apartment 5 floors up, so I have to run the AC pretty strong to keep it at 75, much less 65

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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I'm making a Belgian Double Wit (OG 1.071) and a Sierra Nevada PA clone (1.052). Made 1L starters for both of them.

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:26 PM   #5
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I've heard others say to pitch cool, so that advice is not universal. In any case, though, those temperatures aren't hugely excessive. 78F is a bit hot, but if it cooled rapidly you should be fine. Wakadaka is right that the bigger risk is getting a runaway heating process, where the heat of fermentation makes it ferment faster, which makes it heat up more, etc., so even if you've got it in a 65F basement it doesn't cool down until after it's mostly attenuated and has produced a bunch of esters. But that didn't happen with you, so I wouldn't worry about it.

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoePro View Post
So when I pitched my yeast it was probably 78 degrees or so. I now realize I should let it cool a bit more in my basement before pitching the next time. The ambient temperature in my basement is 65, and my beers cooled down before bubbling to about 68*.

My question is-- is this really all that bad? I hear the first few hours yeast doesn't start fermenting very vigorously, they populate. Would higher initial fermentation temperatures boost the yeast pop for a healthier fermentation, or am I going to get a lot of banana flavor?

Like I said, there was no airlock activity that went on above 72*. Beers have been sitting a week @ 66-68*.

Will I be okay?

In general, it's best to pitch lower than your target temperature and let the brew warm up to increase activity. When pitching too high and cooling down, the yeast begin to shut down and go dormant, resulting in less activity.

It was once thought that pitching high then cooling was a good thing, but modern brewing practices have been getting away from this idea.

In your case, it seems you caught the high temperature at the right time: before major activity occurred. The first 48 hours of fermentation are critical for yeast and ester/fusel development. Temperature is very important during this time. It seems like you had a nice, consistent temperature once you got things under control though.

Don't worry, it sounds like your beer is going to turn out just fine.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nefarious_1_ View Post
I'm assuming this is a hefeweizen since you referred to a banana flavor concerning the high temp?

In general, it's best to pitch lower than your target temperature and let the brew warm up to increase activity. When pitching too high and cooling down, the yeast begin to shut down and go dormant, resulting in less activity.

It was once thought that pitching high then cooling was a good thing, but modern brewing practices have been getting away from this idea.

In your case, it seems you caught the high temperature at the right time: before major activity occurred. The first 48 hours of fermentation are critical for yeast and ester/fusel development. Temperature is very important during this time. It seems like you had a nice, consistent temperature once you got things under control though.

IMO, 66 - 68 is a little high for hefeweizen strains, if that's what you're making, but many people prefer this temperature range over the lower 62*F option.

Don't worry, it souds like your beer is going to turn out just fine.
No, you get banana flavors if you ferment @ higher temps.
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
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No, you get banana flavors if you ferment @ higher temps.
Yeah, I thought that was clear, I was confused by nefarious' comment. If you were brewing a hefe, I'd assume you would be less concerned about estery flavors!

Out of curiosity, what style is it, though?
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsweet View Post
Yeah, I thought that was clear, I was confused by nefarious' comment. If you were brewing a hefe, I'd assume you would be less concerned about estery flavors!

Out of curiosity, what style is it, though?
Belgian Double Wit and a Sierra Nevada PA clone =)
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Old 06-10-2011, 02:42 PM   #10
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Sounds tasty.

Yeah, I was just wondering, because let's say you did get some esters and such (which you probably didn't), how much that matters depends on the style. My first two batches I fermented hot the whole time. The first was a porter, and it has enough of its own flavor that I don't detect any esters or phenols. Probably someone with a more refined palate could, but it tastes fine to me. The second was a pale ale, and boy howdy, does it taste phenol-y. It basically ruined it -- I still drink it myself, it's not undrinkable, but I'm embarrassed serving it to anyone else.

But, before I scare you, I fermented it at like 75F ambient the whole time. So that was way hot. And, I stupidly used C-Brite (a chlorine-based sanitizer) to sanitize the bottles, and I think I didn't rinse all of them well enough, so some of them even have that horrible chlorophenol flavor -- which makes me wonder if there are some chlorophenols in all of them and that is intensifying the perceived phenol flavor. In any case, the point is, I did everything I could to screw up that batch, and lo and behold I succeeded

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