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Old 06-29-2009, 06:16 AM   #1
MurderMittenBrewing
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Default Ale Fermentation Temp - How high is too high?

Yes, another "did I screw up my beer" thread... sorry, and thanks in advance!

Last night I brewed what looks to be a tasty American Red Ale. Because of the temp of my cold water I was only able to get the wort to about 78 with my wort chiller. I pitched the yeast (Wyeast 1056) despite being a few degrees high, assuming the relatively cooler air temperature would bring the wort into proper ale fermenting territory.

Fermentation was well under way at 12 hours and 24 hours after pitching the temp was right around 76, with krausen all the way to the top of my 6 gal carboy. I took the carboy and moved it a few feet into my laundry sink, which I proceeded to fill with cold water and ice. This got the temp down to about 68.

So, will a day between 76-78 to terrible things to my beer? Was it wrong of my to move it to the sink to lower the temp, or should I have done it sooner?

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Old 06-29-2009, 06:23 AM   #2
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RDWHAHB! The best way to judge optimum temperature is check out your yeast manufacturer's website. They always list the optimal temperature range for particular yeasts. But if you go above that, it's not the end of the world. The main thing to be concerned with is esters getting into your beer with higher temps...and if you let the beer get well up into the 80s, then that also might effect your attenuation (IE yeasts get so hot and spent more quickly). But all of these are subtleties....you should still have very drinkable beer

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Old 06-29-2009, 06:25 AM   #3
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I would have done all I could to get the ambient temperature to the mid to upper 60s as soon as possible.

Is your beer ruined? No, not likely. Just leave it on the yeast for a few weeks and it'll likely clean up nicely.

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Old 06-29-2009, 06:31 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advice! I figured I hadn't messed it up too badly... I've done MUCH worse and still ended up with a drinkable result. Would there be any reason that I couldn't culture this yeast after racking?

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Old 06-29-2009, 06:32 AM   #5
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I did this too. The off-flavours created by esters were definitely noticeable (simulated banana flavour?). I found that if i made the extra effort to chill the wort sufficiently at yeast pitching time, those flavours were lessened. My fermentation was still kind of warm, though. If your tap water is that warm, maybe consider investing in a dual immersion wort chiller (one coil in an ice bath, the other in your wort).

Above points considered, I didn't throw away the beer, and one of my friends REALLY liked the banana flavour.

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Old 06-29-2009, 06:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurderMittenBrewing View Post
Thanks for the advice! I figured I hadn't messed it up too badly... I've done MUCH worse and still ended up with a drinkable result. Would there be any reason that I couldn't culture this yeast after racking?
No, go ahead and culture it. Any esters it might have produced are not a genetic thing, just a product of the environment.
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Old 06-29-2009, 07:28 AM   #7
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First, how much high temps. affect your beer depends highly on the yeast strain. The effects can be subtle or you can end up with bubble gum beer. Second, the bad flavors will fade with time. Read this post:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

His experience isn't unique. I've also had bubble gum beer, and the flavor did go away after 6 months or so.

Learn your lesson. If you want good beer you must do one of two things:
1) Control your temperature.
2) Use a forgiving yeast.

There's nothing wrong with doing both at the same time.

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Old 06-29-2009, 07:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brian_g View Post
First, how much high temps. affect your beer depends highly on the yeast strain. The effects can be subtle or you can end up with bubble gum beer. Second, the bad flavors will fade with time. Read this post:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/neve...en-beer-73254/

His experience isn't unique. I've also had bubble gum beer, and the flavor did go away after 6 months or so.

Learn your lesson. If you want good beer you must do one of two things:
1) Control your temperature.
2) Use a forgiving yeast.

There's nothing wrong with doing both at the same time.
Thanks for the link! That thread definitely gives me some hope for this batch. How forgiving do you think Wyeast 1056 is?
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MurderMittenBrewing View Post
Thanks for the link! That thread definitely gives me some hope for this batch. How forgiving do you think Wyeast 1056 is?
I don't really know, since I've never used it before. From my experience, I've found that Cooper's Ale yeast is pretty forgiving. I started brewing with a Cooper's kit. The instructions say to pitch the yeast ideally at 70-80F, but if it's under 90F go ahead and pitch anyway. 90F is pretty hot for yeast! My first batch, I was in the mid 90s and I pitched anyway. I wont say it was my best beer ever, but I didn't notice any off flavors. Although, as it was my first batch, I didn't know what off flavors I was looking for, but it certainly didn't tasted like bubble gum.
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Old 06-29-2009, 08:56 AM   #10
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Typically the more you brew, the more you notice off flavors, the more equipemnt you buy, the cooler your ferment runs.

Your beer is gonna be fine, don't worry.

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