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Old 10-28-2008, 02:56 AM   #1
nosmatt
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Default Ferm Temp Help Needed...

ok, so my first batch is done with primary. after rearding far too much, i have decided to let it sit another week before bottling (3 total).
i bought a high/low/current temp thermometer for my ferm area. this is a smalling closet that houses my water heater. the low temps were in the 68* range, and the high went up to 74.8


so, i have this room downstairs from my house, can only access via outside, and is funny enough, a bar... the previous owners/builders were local bar owners, so we have a ~85% finished bar! this room is not heated, nor cooled, but always seems very comfortable.

our ambient ranges from a low in the mid teens in the winter, to a max of about 105 in the summer. this room on the other hand is never warmer than 75, and never cooler than ~50.


now, getting to my questions,
i know 74+ is too hot during fermentation, what is too cold, room wise that is? i have NO thermometer on my bucket (yet).... would 61 ambient during active be too cold?? (ale yeast)

can fusel's be created ANY time during fermentation? or is it mainly during active fermentation?

can i brew the same types of beer using a lager yeast that i can with an ale yeast knowing my temp issues?



any other thoughts, suggestions are ALWAYS welcome in my posts.

i have learned a ton @HBT thus far, but sadly, i know less know then before i read my first book

thanks guys (gals too!)

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Old 10-28-2008, 03:27 AM   #2
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Depends on what brew you are making and what yeast you are using.
Different yeasts tolerate different temps.
Best thing to do is when buying or making a kit up, look at the yeast you are planning on using and check what temps it will tolerate.

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Old 10-28-2008, 03:43 AM   #3
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Welcome to HBT. Here are some answers:

61 isn't too low, depending on the yeast's ability to work at that temp, but most styles would be better in the mid 60's. The thing to watch out for is temperature swings at night that dip to the low 60s or below, as this could cause the yeast to flocculate and quit on you, resulting in a stuck fermentation.

Fusels are generally made in the early stage, and that is when temp control is most important. Several brewers allow their temps to raise toward the end of fermentation to assist the yeast in wrapping up their work and cleaning up diacetyl and other byproducts of fermentation.

Re intermixing ale/lager yeasts: You're best sticking with ale yeasts at ale temps. Better yet, use the appropriate yeast for the style you're brewing. Not that style is all-important, but it's a good place to start when your learning to brew.

Keep in mind the fermentation actually generates heat in the early stages, so even at 65F ambient, your beer can be in the 70s, and that can be warm enough to create fusel alcohols. Proper temp control is a major step in improving the quality of your beer.

Check out How to Brew - By John Palmer if you haven't already. It contains lots of advise about yeast and fermentation. Also there are several ideas about fermentation temperature control in several HBT threads. The search function can lead to a bunch of them. The wiki is another source of good info on this subject. Also check out the DYI section for some ideas that members here have developed to control their fermentation temps. These include 'cool boxes' made of insulating foam, fans and ice; placing fermentations in tubs of water cooled with ice and/or heated with aquarium heaters; placing carboys in chest freezers or dorm fridges that are temp controlled; etc.

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Old 10-28-2008, 08:21 AM   #4
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BrianP - Seemed to have covered everthing I know.
I would recommend using a large cooler, or a rubbermaid container, a blanket and trying to find someway to set the temp and control it. As in all things outside of women, cheaper is better.

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Old 10-28-2008, 02:57 PM   #5
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thanks guys.

fwiw, i used WLP001 for my first batch.

i used 5.21lbs of LME
1 cup of mr beer booster..

no o.g. reading

re: "how to brew" actually have read that, cover to cover, twice.
guess my retention is not so great


as for the big rubbermaid tub with an aquarium heater, brilliant. that sounds easy! i like easy.
my main hobby is soooooo expensive, and time consuming that easy/inexpensive is a great way to go.

i think winter brewing, with the tub, in a large rubbermaid container (i even have a monster of one) with the therm set @ ~65 would work quite well.

also, i picked up one of those little fridges @ a yard sale for 10 bux, works excellent, however not sure it would be big enough for a fermentor... i will have to check it out.

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