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Old 05-13-2011, 08:06 PM   #1
jacobezzell
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Default Pitching temp vs fermenting temp: when to transition?

Last night i pitched a vial of WLP029 directly into my fermentor, wort was at 72F. The instructions on the vial say to make sure you are above 70F until the yeast starts to work. The recipe I'm using says to brew with WLP029 at 68F. My airlock started bubbling after about 10 hours, but i wouldn't say it's terribly vigorous. About 6 bubbles a minute, and I can see the currents flowing nicely in the primary. I have a thin layer of krausen up top. So is it now time to drop the temp down to 68F? The Fermentometer was reading ~73-74F (up from last night), and my air temp in the fermento-rator was set to 72F.

Besides RDWHAHB, any suggestions about when to drop the temp? I don't want to shock the yeast by dropping it too fast, but if the primary is only going to take 3-4 days I don't want to spend half the time at 73F.

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:15 PM   #2
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I know White Labs says to pitch above 72 and wait for fermentation starts to continue but, for an ale I've always just made sure my wort was around 70 and pitched. Then I'll put the fermenter into the fermentation chamber that is set to the temp I want. No waiting around for it to begin, and never a problem. 73 to 68 won't shock the yeast at all.

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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When a recipe says ferment at 65, I pitch as close to 65 as possible and the temp control brings keeps it right there.

As I understand it, the first 24-48 hours are key for ester profile.

Also, once the yeasties are rocking, I don't like to lower the temp. I'll raise it up 1-2 degrees once active fermentation starts to slow down just to make sure they clean up their mess and fully attenuate, but other than that, I keep a tight rein on the temp.

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
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Thanks Hammy. I've had a couple batches turn out really cidery, probably because of the high fermenting temps, so I'm really cautious about temps now. I set my primary already down to 70F, I'll just drop it to 68F and call it good.

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:27 PM   #5
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"No pitchee warmy! Pitchee coldy!" - Jamil

I agree with the above. Pitch at fermentation temperature. Did you make a starter? Chances are, white labs states to pitch at the higher temp to promote yeast reproduction, especially for a hybrid yeast style like wlp029. If you are pitching the right amount of yeast, there is no problem with pitching at your fermentation temp.

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:28 PM   #6
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I always pitch at my ferment temp and have had good results with that.

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:34 PM   #7
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Brettwasbtd- I didn't make a starter, no, Mr Malty's yeast calculator said for my 2.5 gallon batch the one vial was sufficient.

Next time I'll just shoot to pitch at my fermenting temp and see how that goes. Thanks for the suggestions!

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Old 05-13-2011, 08:59 PM   #8
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I would suggest pitching a few degrees below your target fermentation temp then letting the temp rise to your target.

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Old 05-13-2011, 10:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brettwasbtd View Post
"No pitchee warmy! Pitchee coldy!" - Jamil
Haha! I loved that episode... I can't remember if it was Brew Strong or The Jamil Show... but it cracked me up and opened my eyes. I have definitely been getting better beer since I started cooling to my fermentation temp (usually mid 60s) before pitching my yeast.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjbeerman View Post
I would suggest pitching a few degrees below your target fermentation temp then letting the temp rise to your target.
Exactly. If I'm fermenting at 68F I'll pitch at 64-66F.

It's better to let it warm up than cool it down. The yeast are very sensitive to temperature changes and even a slight drop will signal to them that it's time to go to sleep.

By pitching cool (like Jamil advocates) you minimize off-flavor production because most of those are produced early on in fermentation. Then a slight rise keeps the yeast active so that they finish fermentation, but they'll be past the point of producing off-flavors. It's similar to a diacetyl rest.
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