Advice: Calibrate your fermentation chamber BEFORE you brew, and then LEAVE IT ALONE
That is what i learned yesterday.
Last week, I bought a 5cf freezer of the commercial sort. A reach-in. Like they stick in a wide aisle at a grocery store. This one advertises Reddi-Wip.
After some fiddling with the knob on the front, i determined that it is capable of some measure of holding temperature in ale fermentation ranges without any modification. I have a 110v aquarium controller all lined up for the job, but no time to install it yet.
So on Sunday i brewed an interpretation of Revvy's pumpkin porter (just the porter, not the full partigyle).
Sunday night i ended up fiddling with the controls until i thought i was in the right range, then Monday morning i find my wort sitting at about 45f.
I fiddle with the controls some more, go to work, come home, and find the wort sitting about 70f. Not great, not terrible.
So i fiddled with it some more. a few episodes of over and under through the evening.
6:30am Tuesday i wake up, stumble to the closet i stuck it in, open the door, and see condensation on the inside of the glass.
Thermometer stuck to the carboy reads over 80f.
I slide open the top and get a snout full of banana bread odors and carbonic acid.
S-05 really does put out some heat, doesn't it. First time I've used it. Notty never did this to me!
Whatever i did to it in my tuesday morning panic has it holding steady at 60, but it's clear that this beer is not going to be everything it could have been.
Take it up to room temp (~70) and leave it for a few days. If it's still off, bulk-age it.
I've heard that it's near impossible to hold a very steady temp near the edges of fridge/freezer's upper range. Now you're confirming that :D
Well, the poor man's solution is to unscrew the coarse adjustment screw on the thermostat several turns, making the fermentation ranges it's middle range. But i didn't do that either.
The offgassing doesn't smell like banana bread anymore. We'll see. Fermentation had slowed enough this morning that i could have taken off the blowoff tube and installed an airlock. I will probably install the airlock tonight.
Interestingly, this is the first brew I have done that has not ejected krausen and left krausen clinging to the inside of the neck of the carboy. Even that time i underpitched pacman yeast i had an eruption. Even my apfelwein ejected some krausen (premier cuvee yeast). With this brew, i have a thick head of krausen on top of the wort - maybe an inch and a half thick - but nothing on the glass above that. Maybe that's just because it's a 6.5g - first time I've used one that big.
Here's the plan as it stands now:
I will let it sit at 60 in the reddi-wip cooler, untouched, until this coming sunday, and then probably move the carboy to the end of the basement closet next to the apfelwein, where the temps have been in the low 70's lately.
After 3 weeks there, I'll keg it and let it sit until Halloween as planned, and then try it.
Plan sounds solid to me.
My primary fermenters before this were 6g glass carboys, and before that 1g jugs that clearly lacked headspace. I guess the extra half gallon in the new one does the job.
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