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Old 02-01-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
fellbrew
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Default Tripel Fermentation Temp Issue Advice

Brewed a Tripel on Saturday, OG of 1.080. Pitched 4 vials of WLP500 Trappist Ale Yeast at 6:30pm. Temperature at pitching was 65 degrees. 65-72 is the ideal temp range for this yeast.

Well I live in an old rowhome and the heat isnt that great, so in the dead of winter I have a choice between the warm parts of the house that are 65-70 degrees and the cold parts which are 50-55. I decided to put the carboy in one of the warmer parts, 67 degrees. Fermentation had a long lag time, which from doing research sounds right for this yeast. It took about 24 hours to show visible signs of fermentation. On Monday morning, about 36 hours into fermentation a nice krausen was developing, bubbling nicely, smelling of fresh bananas, temp was 68, all was good. So I went to work.

When I came home at 7pm, i checked and was astonished to see that the temp on the fermentor was 77 degrees!, 10 degrees hotter than ambient. I usually expect 3-5 degrees hotter than ambient, so was shocked and horrified. Airlock was bubbling faster than once per second and the wort was churning away violently under the krausen.

I immediately moved the fermentor to an area that was 55 degrees and left it over night. This morning it was back down to 64 degrees, so I went to work again, currently it is still holding at 64-65 degrees and bubbling steadily.

When I think about the 12 hours I was gone and it the temperature growth from 68 to 77, it probably was in the mid to upper seventies for 5-6 hours, then another 5+6 or so hours to come back down after I moved it.

Under normal conditions this slow yeast can take 10+ days to ferment down a high gravity ale to a dry Tripel FG. Well obviously my fermentation didnt start slow - i havent opened the fermentor to do a gravity reading, but I bet that my gravity dropped significantly during the crazy yeast frenzy.

I am trying to get a feel for peoples thoughts on what this period of high temperature might do. I know I can probably expect more estery and hot alchohol flavors, which I am dismayed about since the brewday was great, the wort tasted great, and I was excited about this beer. Hopefully since I tried to do damage control it wont be totally ruined.

Any advice or experience in a similar situation with a similar yeast?

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Old 02-01-2011, 09:31 PM   #2
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It should be fine. looks like it was 5 degrees above the yeasts recomended temp. no worries.

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Old 02-03-2011, 08:17 AM   #3
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That yeast worked well on the tripel I used with it. I started at 62 and it took off. I crept it up to 72. It's been in corked bottles for over two years and drinking great. Do get back to us on how it comes out. I had it primary for 4 weeks, and not sure how long secondary. I should write more down.!

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Old 02-03-2011, 08:53 AM   #4
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Chimay lets their fermentations rise up into the 80s. At 77F you were in a good place. I'd be far more worried about messing with the fermentation temps (i.e., dropping them suddenly so they yeast go dormant) than anything else. Stick that carboy back in your warmer room and let it finish up.

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