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Old 10-18-2012, 05:44 PM   #1
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Default Beginning fermentation way too warm?

Hi everyone...First time brewer noob here, and done my best to search the forum and read the stickys and the 'did I ruin my beer?' threads, but haven't exactly found this answer.

I'll try to cut to the chase: I used a True Brew Oktoberfest extract kit (which uses a Muntons ale yeast), and I'm afraid the first 12-16 hours of fermentation was at way too high of a temperature.

I followed these instructions from Palmer: "Bring 3 gallons of water to a boil in a large pot. Pour this water into the fermenter and leave it to cool. Now bring another 3 gallons of water to boil in the brewpot. You will be boiling the malt extract in this water and diluting this concentrated wort with the water in the fermenter to make the total five gallons."

So, the initial 3 gallons got boiled and then poured into a 6 gallon glass carboy to "cool" while I boiled and cooled the rest of the wort. I got the wort to cool down to approx. 84 degrees in an ice bath, and then added to the carboy.

However, the original 3 gallons of boiled water sure hadn't cooled very much during the 2 hours before I added the wort. I pitched the yeast, and slight bubbling began within a couple hours. Twelve hours after pitching, the airlock was bubbling very vigorously. This was in my kitchen, and the ambient temperature was around 72 degrees. I moved it into the basement 16 hours after pitching, based on advice here that the ambient temp was too warm. All bubbling subsided within 36 hours.

So, with the combination of HOT water in the carboy, wort at 84 degrees when I pitched, and then the high ambient temperatures for the first 16 hours, did my fermentation happen at too high of a temperature, resulting in off flavors? I've read a bit about fusel alcohol and am wondering if this is a concern.

Sorry for writing a book. Very excited about my first batch of beer. I appreciate the patience and advice from experienced home brewers that must roll their eyes every time a noob like myself comes in here freaking out and looking for some hand-holding.

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Old 10-18-2012, 05:50 PM   #2
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Depends on exactly how high the boiled water was, but it does sound like a concern. There is no harm in letting the wort sit overnight if you are not sure if it has fully cooled at least to ambient temperature. Definitely let it ride out, DO NOT TOSS IT, but you may end up with some of the "hot" alcohol flavors.

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Old 10-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the answer. "Hot" alcohol flavors...what will that taste like? If I took a sample now (9 days after brew day) would I be able to tell?

During the most active time of fermentation, the aroma above the airlock I thought was awesome...very fragrant, somewhat fruity...but I'm wondering the the fruity aroma was a bad sign?

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Depends on exactly how high the boiled water was, but it does sound like a concern. There is no harm in letting the wort sit overnight if you are not sure if it has fully cooled at least to ambient temperature. Definitely let it ride out, DO NOT TOSS IT, but you may end up with some of the "hot" alcohol flavors.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:58 PM   #4
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BTW, this was how she looked 12 hours after pitching the yeast.

2012-10-10-08.45.45.jpg  
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:00 PM   #5
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You should be able to taste the "hotness", and though I've never personally had it happen yet, I imagine somewhat like the bite of vodka or the like. Was the fruity smell banana like? I believe that one is due to esters, which is also ferm temp related, but doesn't make it a bad batch and I believe it mellows out as opposed to the fusels. Hopefully someone else will weigh in if I'm wrong.

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:06 PM   #6
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Maybe I'll give it a try later today. However, my original plan was to wait at least 3 more days before taking a sample. Looking to bottle at the 2 week mark.

The aroma wasn't banana-like, at least in my opinion. Maybe slightly like a cider, but it's hard for me to say, or even describe.

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You should be able to taste the "hotness", and though I've never personally had it happen yet, I imagine somewhat like the bite of vodka or the like. Was the fruity smell banana like? I believe that one is due to esters, which is also ferm temp related, but doesn't make it a bad batch and I believe it mellows out as opposed to the fusels. Hopefully someone else will weigh in if I'm wrong.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:12 PM   #7
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IMHO, from very limited experience, the cider taste is probably just sign your beer is too green.

Might want to think about going 3 weeks in primary, and keep a good eye on temps from here on out.

What yeast did you pitch? (Sorry, I didnt see it in the original post)

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:17 PM   #8
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If you allow the wort to ferment above 80 degrees for more than a day or two, you will likely be left with some fusel alcohols. They are much less noticeable in a beer with lots of specialty grains (porter, stout). I recently did an English brown ale as my first all-grain batch and let it get too hot during the primary fermentation. The fusel alcohols are very noticeable in the aroma and the aftertaste. It can taste and smell a bit like nail polish remover, vodka, rubbing alcohol, etc. I'm preparing to order a plate chiller to help me get down to fermentation temperatures faster, as my lack of patience with my wort chiller likely got the best of me. If you experience these flavors/aromas in your beer, try mixing with another commercial beer to make it more drinkable.

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:18 PM   #9
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You'll probably have to taste it first and then let us know how it is. A week and a half after pitching, the damage is kind of done, not that you want it to get in the 90s or anything, but ambient temps now shouldn't really have much of an effect.

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:21 PM   #10
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Aaarggh....3 weeks in primary?!? Lol...how is it that homebrewing has made me as impatient as a six year old a day before christmas?

The yeast packet that came with the kit was a small yellow one...Muntons ale yeast. That's all I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehardt View Post
IMHO, from very limited experience, the cider taste is probably just sign your beer is too green.

Might want to think about going 3 weeks in primary, and keep a good eye on temps from here on out.

What yeast did you pitch? (Sorry, I didnt see it in the original post)
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