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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Questions on Wyeast, and fermentation temp
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Old 12-21-2006, 03:17 AM   #1
Eye8oneu812
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Default Questions on Wyeast, and fermentation temp

Hi everybody,
I'm working with Wyeast, and I have a London Ale strain pitched in a porter, and a Bavarian Wheat strain in a wheat beer. I didn't notice either one have an extremely vigorous fermentation (though they did bubble for the first 3 days or so rather vigorously, to the tune of a bubble every 4 seconds or more often). The krausen was maybe an inch thick. I did make a yeast starter and pitched it from that.
I only worry because I'm new to homebrewing, and I've seen videos of some really, really energetic fermentations. They are in my basement, and the temperature is 61 degrees, a little warmer at times. The yeast is supposed to be between 65-75 degrees, but I don't really have space to get them warmer. Should I worry, or am I just being paranoid?
Thanks!

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Old 12-21-2006, 03:24 AM   #2
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I wouldn't worry. If your temps are at the lower end of the yeast's temperature range, your fermentation could be slower. I would make sure you give your beer plenty of time to finish and don't rush it. Keeping your temps in the 60's will give you a cleaner beer also.

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Old 12-21-2006, 03:58 AM   #3
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I am currently brewing with temps of about 59-61 in my basement. I did an IPA with wyeast British Ale yeast and right now have a altbier happily fermenting away that used Wyeast 1007 German Ale Yeast. The IPA took about 48 hours to get going, but once it got going it fermented well. It took about a week to finish. The altbier took off right away (as it should have, since I used 9 lbs. of extract). It is still going over a week and a half later.

Generally your ferments in cold weather will be slower, longer, but result in nice clean beer.

You may want to try a kolsch next, or even a lager.

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Old 12-21-2006, 02:26 PM   #4
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Yeast is alive and temperature sensitive. You may have a problem with the final gravity, because yeast might flocculate and stop working too soon. It's very easy to warm up the fermenters slightly. Something as simple as wrapping them in a blanket to retain the fermentation heat or a small space heater blowing warm air on them.

Since you are fermenting cold, do not go by the 1-2-3 guideline, check the gravity.

Select your next yeast/brew based on your fermentation temperatures. I only do lagers in the winter.

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Old 12-22-2006, 12:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42
Yeast is alive and temperature sensitive. You may have a problem with the final gravity, because yeast might flocculate and stop working too soon. It's very easy to warm up the fermenters slightly. Something as simple as wrapping them in a blanket to retain the fermentation heat or a small space heater blowing warm air on them.

Since you are fermenting cold, do not go by the 1-2-3 guideline, check the gravity.

Select your next yeast/brew based on your fermentation temperatures. I only do lagers in the winter.
Yeah, the next beer I'm going to brew, I'll use the Wyeast American Wheat strain, which says it prefers temperatures from 58 to 75, I believe (I'm sure of 58 as the low number). I do love a good clean beer, so maybe my cold basement will be a blessing in disguise. Thanks for your responses!
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Old 12-22-2006, 10:24 PM   #6
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I've made 2 batches with Wyeast, both without starters, and neither has been vigorous. I'd say more like barely chugging along. One actually got stuck.

Compare this with a little pack of Cooper's, which blows the top off and fully ferments out in 2 days. I'm guessing this is why most people recommend a starter. Seems weird to me, though, considering an activator pack is supposed to start with helluva lot more yeast than a dry pack.

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Old 12-29-2006, 06:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnich
I've made 2 batches with Wyeast, both without starters, and neither has been vigorous. I'd say more like barely chugging along. One actually got stuck.

Compare this with a little pack of Cooper's, which blows the top off and fully ferments out in 2 days. I'm guessing this is why most people recommend a starter. Seems weird to me, though, considering an activator pack is supposed to start with helluva lot more yeast than a dry pack.
The beer that is fermenting with the Wyeast American Wheat strain seems to be fermenting nicely, tho certainly not incredibly vigorously, and honestly, I like that, since I wouldn't want to see lots of krausen blowing the airlock off of my carboy. It did build up a krausen of about 2 1/2 inches, about 2 days after being put into the primary. I just bottled a Porter that I brewed with a Wyeast London Ale, and it seems that it fermented completely, and shouldn't be a problem at all. Is it that big of a deal if fermentation isn't particularly energetic, if you will?
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:41 PM   #8
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Default yeast temps

Yeast temp range seems to be very important, even at the bottling stage (which for me has been using the residual suspended yeast in the beer - I haven't pitched extra yeast so far). This fall after the basement temp was down around 60-61F, just below the 62-72F range of the 1275 Wyeast that I used, and after 2 weeks I had no carbonation in the bottles! I then put the bottles in an upstairs room with a space heater, giving me maybe 68-72F and got carbonation another 2 weeks after.

I'm of the opinion that the strain of yeast plays a significant enough role in the flavor of the beer that one should find ways to change your brew environment to accomodate the yeast, rather than change your yeast to accomodate your environment.

The "small room, space heater" trick works but uses a lot of electricity relatively speaking - I think using the space heater method was costing me about $30 per brew in electricity! Turning up the central heat would also increase costs unnecessarily. So to keep only the beer warm in the most energy efficient way I could think of, I decided to build a brew box, using 2x3s, 1/8" fiberboard panels and polystyrene insulation panels, big enough for a glass carboy or 2 cases of bottles. That in conjunction with an 18Watt seedling heating mat (similar to those heating pads that some homebrew stores sell) gives me a box that I can keep about 6F warmer than the ambient air temp, which is enough for most ale yeasts, and using only a tiny fraction of the power. The brew box will pay for itself after a few winter brews. You can do the same trick with any small enclosed and insulated space, so if you have a spare fridge/freezer, that will work also. You might have to get one of the more expensive (about $100) temperature regulator devices that controls heating as well as cooling devices - my current setup has no feedback, but luckily for me the box temp is just about perfect without one, but I may need a regulator later on.

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Old 12-30-2006, 07:45 PM   #9
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My take on fermentation temps. My first three batches I did indoors, and the temp stayed in the low 70s. My fourth batch, a stout, I did outside because it finally cooled off enough to so do. It was in the 60s the whole time, and actually got down to 59º towards the end. What I ended up doing was moving it just inside the door, which eased it back up a few degrees.

What I figure is, if you chill the wort down to about 70-75 degrees, then put it somewhere that's in the low 60s, it will slowly, oh so slowly, cool off over a period of days. The heat from the fermentation will keep it from chilling too fast, and wrapping a towel around will help preserve the temp as well. Do you have a fermometer on the carboy? They're extremely helpful.

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Old 01-02-2007, 12:47 AM   #10
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I don't have a fermometer, but I do have a liquid crystal strip thermometer on the outside of the carboy that is reading about 61 degrees. Since my yeast strain should work at 58 and up, it seems to be just fine. I'll be racking it into a secondary soon, so I may take a hydrometer reading to get an idea of how far along the fermentation is.

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