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Old 01-29-2009, 03:57 PM   #1
ThatGuyRyan
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Default Am I fermenting too warm? 68-72

Most of the beer kits or recipes that I brewed say to ferment between 65-70. I have a dedicated room with a dedicated heat source so I can regulate the temp. So far I started brewing my first 3-4 batches at 69 degrees in the room but the stick on thermometer on the primaries read 72. My last few brews I lowered the room temp to 67 so the primaries are holding at 70 now.

My oldest beers are just 7 weeks old with one in the bottle for three weeks (cream ale) and the Dbl Belgian bottled about 2 weeks. I crack open a bottle every week to sample and note the difference and both seem green. The Cream Ale is more Skunk tasting almost like Becks. The Belgian is very green the first week it was more of a cider taste now its more molasses tasting so it is changing. But all my beers have a sweet taste to them when I sample at racking or during gravity readings.

Is this just because they are so young or because the first few I was told 10 days primary 7 days second then bottle. I now know that was not long enough for the primary and now hole them for 3 weeks and skip the secondary all together for some beers. But it seems that from what I read some of these off flavors can also be from too high of a temperature during fermentation.

So should I just keep them in the primary longer or should I be lowering my temp?

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Old 01-29-2009, 04:00 PM   #2
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sounds like you are at the high end as far as temps go.

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Old 01-29-2009, 05:55 PM   #3
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The temp will be dependent on the yeast strain and the type of beer your making.

Most yeasts will have an optimum fermentation temp listed. It's best to stay within that range unless you know what you're doing with it. Staying near the upper end of the range will be more likely to attenuate further, thus reducing the sweetness of the final product. Too high of a temp can result in off flavors, but it's usually just more fruity/estery depending on the yeast strain and more high alcohols (taste or smell like solvent).

As far as your primary/secondary length is concerned, that also depends on the beer. 10 days in the primary should be long enough for most ales but 3 weeks will work as well. The only way to really know is to take gravity readings a couple of days apart after you see the bubbling the airlock slow way down. If the reading doesn't change then it's done. I'd recommend leaving it alone for a couple more days to allow the yeast to clean up and then go ahead and bottle. I'm in the "no secondary" camp. So I never use a secondary except for unusual cases like fruit beer or something like that.

Once you get all of that figured out, if you're still having too much sweetness in the final product the you should substitute some table sugar in place of some of the extract. Some brewing software can help you make the right amount of subtitution. I'd start at a couple percent and then you can go with more sugar if it doesn't dry it out enough.

That was probably too much information, so as always RDWHAHB.

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Old 01-29-2009, 06:48 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bigjohnmilford View Post
sounds like you are at the high end as far as temps go.
I agree.

I know some people ferment that warm, but I prefer to be on the cooler side of the fermentation range if possible. Beer just tastes better to me that way.
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Old 01-29-2009, 06:53 PM   #5
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I ferment everything at 65F or less.

As for the skunky flavor you mentioned, it is usually caused by light exposure. Make sure your fermenters are shielded from light, especially if you are using glass, by draping a towel or t-shirt over them.

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Old 01-29-2009, 07:05 PM   #6
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With most ale's, the major amount of fermentation seems to take place in the first few days.

How critical is the temperature after the first few days?

Aren't most of the fusels and other off tastes created in the first few days?

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Old 01-29-2009, 07:15 PM   #7
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With most ale's, the major amount of fermentation seems to take place in the first few days.

How critical is the temperature after the first few days?

Aren't most of the fusels and other off tastes created in the first few days?
I believe that. Lately I've been keeping my ales at 62-65 for the first 4-5 days, once they slow down I like to bump up the temperature a little to maybe 68-70 just to help make sure they finish out well. It seems to be working well, I'm getting good attenuation without any off flavors.

When I started brewing this last summer I was fermenting at 72-75 and I was not near as happy with the quality of the beer. Keeping at the low end of the recommended temperature for the first few days definitely made a huge difference. Leaving them in the fermenter longer also helps reduce off flavors, I give them all at least 3 weeks before bottling. Half of that time is usually in a secondary carboy, but you can also just leave them in the primary.
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Old 01-29-2009, 07:22 PM   #8
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We keep the house at 68 all year round for the kids allergy's. My ales ferment fine, no off flavors, and I can lager in a spot in the barn at work( I love my boss, as long as I cough up a few long necks, no problem with storing anything there. )

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Old 01-29-2009, 07:23 PM   #9
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I have a cream ale that is ALMOST great. It is on the strong side, about a 7% ABV, which is OK.

However, it was very warm when I started it. It has some harsh, fusel tastes. Not a lot, but it doesn't take a lot, more of an aftertaste. It is a good beer, but if I had used better temperature control, it would have been a great beer.

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Old 01-29-2009, 07:27 PM   #10
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Another thing to consider is fermentation is exothermic. Therefore, as I was taught by the members here, it is usually a few degrees warmer inside the fermenter than outside.

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