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Old 04-22-2011, 02:19 AM   #1
Amberlover14
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Default Think I killed my baby

Hey guys, new to the forum and pretty new to brewing itself and I think I may have screwed up my 2nd batch, heres the story.

I brewed up a batch of Nut Brown Ale, took a OG reading, added my dry yeast and put my carboy in a small room. Now the issue I had with the first batch I made was with keeping the fermentor at a steady temp without running up the electric bill. This time around I tried using a small space heater to keep the beer around a steady 70 degrees F. However I checked the fermentor the next day and the heat was on wayyy too high, reaching about 85 degrees. The kraussen had reached up to the airlock ( no overflow but very close) so I lowered the heat and it has been around a steady 70 degrees since then.

My problem: I noticed the rising kraussen and high temperatures about 18 hours after I began fermenting the brew. A day after I adjusted the temp to a steady 70, the brew had almost completely stopped looking active in the liquid. The airlock was still perculating once every 15 seconds or so, but the brew itself looks dead. I am wondering if I killed this batch with the high heat? The kraussen is all above the 5 gallon mark (none on the surface of the liquid) and the liquid in my carboy isnt bubbling or anything, I brewed the batch on Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I noticed the extreme heat, did I kill my baby?

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:39 AM   #2
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You didn't "kill" it. But the higher temps will lead to a quicker more vigorous fermentation and the yeast will produce more esters and fusel alcohols. Let it go for a couple more weeks and then bottle it up. I would plan on some extra conditioning to help with the off flavors from the high temps (some of those flavors won't fade). What is the temp normally in this room? Chances are that you didn't need to heat it at all, once the fermentation gets going, it will generate its own heat.

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:45 AM   #3
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I don't think You killed it but it is going to have some off flavors due to the high temps..
Most likely it is done fermenting..at high temps the yeast will work really fast..
70 degrees IMO is to high for most beers unless your using a Belgian or hefe yeast and want the flavors that they produce at higher temps..
Was the temps you stated ambient temp ...if so the beer will be a minimum of 5 degrees warmer..
All in all you still made beer...may not be the best but still beer

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:59 AM   #4
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i would give this beer a looong time to bottle condition and drink sparingly with lots of water. at 85 degrees, you can almost be sure to have a few fusel alcohols in there.

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Old 04-22-2011, 04:20 AM   #5
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Okay, sounds good then. The way I recorded the temperature was by taping a thermometer to the outside glass of the carboy. The temp in the room gets down to around 50 degrees at night without any heat, especially because it hasnt been much warmer here during the day. I'll let the brew sit for another 1 1/2 weeks before bottling, then i won't be touching it for at least a month after that. Also, I'll check the SG before bottling to see where I'm at alcohol wise. Would someone mind explaining what fusel alcohols do to a beer?

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Old 04-22-2011, 04:31 AM   #6
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FYI, yeast is most happy around 100F. Won't do your beer any favors, but will reproduce like there's no tomorrow.

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Old 04-22-2011, 04:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amberlover14
Okay, sounds good then. The way I recorded the temperature was by taping a thermometer to the outside glass of the carboy. The temp in the room gets down to around 50 degrees at night without any heat, especially because it hasnt been much warmer here during the day. I'll let the brew sit for another 1 1/2 weeks before bottling, then i won't be touching it for at least a month after that. Also, I'll check the SG before bottling to see where I'm at alcohol wise. Would someone mind explaining what fusel alcohols do to a beer?
As long as the room hits 56-58* at some point it will be fine as an ale. I fermented a smash brew at 60 (temp control set to 57) and it finished in a couple days.
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Old 04-22-2011, 06:24 AM   #8
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As long as the room hits 56-58* at some point it will be fine as an ale. I fermented a smash brew at 60 (temp control set to 57) and it finished in a couple days.
Really? Thats good to know, I've always been under the impression that the room needed to be somewhere between 65-70.
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Old 04-22-2011, 12:43 PM   #9
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I ferment most of my Ale's at 63F, then after active fermentation is finished I ramp up the temp slowly over a week to 68-70. It makes for a much cleaner beer in most cases.

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Old 04-22-2011, 03:36 PM   #10
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You've gotten lots of good advice. As you probably figured out, this batch will not go down as one of your best.

As you get more serious about the quality of your beer, you can start looking for some serious fermentation temperature control - it makes a world of difference. Until then, I agree with a couple of the other posts, and I say just try to keep things cool and stable. Cool temperatures will lead to a slightly slower fermentation and conditioning period, but it will skirt the issues you are going to have on this batch with fusel alcohols.

Chalk it up to the learning process.

Joe

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