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Old 12-22-2011, 03:47 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chamber

For those of you that use converted refrigerators, etc to maintain fermentation temps for ales, how long do you keep the temp down, before you let it increase. Assume a 3-4 week primary with no secondary. Thanks.

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Old 12-22-2011, 05:09 PM   #2
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For a lager, I generally follow the same instructions (I assume you're speaking about a lager and referring to a Diacetyl rest in the OP..)

~50 days in primary (50F)- usually at this length of time in the primary a Diacetyl rest is unnecessary, but it won't hurt if you turn the temp from 50F to 65F for a couple days if you do happen to taste Diacetyl or without tasting would rather be on the safe side.

5 weeks - ~2months in secondary (35F-40F) on most of our lower gravity lagers. You mentioned though not using a secondary - I almost always do. In that case it wouldn't hurt to leave your lager in the primary for two months. Autolysis takes another few months to kick in so no worries.

Hope this helps; if not, you'll get the answers you're looking for here eventually...

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Old 12-22-2011, 05:16 PM   #3
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For a lager, I generally follow the same instructions (I assume you're speaking about a lager and referring to a Diacetyl rest in the OP..)

~50 days in primary (50F)- usually at this length of time in the primary a Diacetyl rest is unnecessary, but it won't hurt if you turn the temp from 50F to 65F for a couple days if you do happen to taste Diacetyl or without tasting would rather be on the safe side.

5 weeks - ~2months in secondary (35F-40F) on most of our lower gravity lagers. You mentioned though not using a secondary - I almost always do. In that case it wouldn't hurt to leave your lager in the primary for two months. Autolysis takes another few months to kick in so no worries.

Hope this helps; if not, you'll get the answers you're looking for here eventually...
I was actually referring to ales, not lagers. I keep the chamber at 62F normally. Any thoughts?
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Old 12-22-2011, 05:38 PM   #4
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In that case, after four weeks in a primary at 62F, I don't see a need to raise the temp at all. Ales don't typically produce the perceivable Diacetyl in quantities that lagers do, so again, I don't see a need for it.

If you're having a problem with perceived Diacetyl you could pick up a product called "Biomat DAR" (Diacetyl Arrest) from your local HBS. I'm no chemist but from what I understand it inhibits the production of Diacetyl, if that's what you think you're having a problem with. I use 5 drops in almost all of my beers, lager or ale - it helps with maturation time.

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Old 12-22-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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Do you mean controlling the pitch and early fermenation to low temps, then letting them rise towards the end? That's how I do my Belgians and some english/american beers if minor esters are desired. I think it depends on the gravity, the yeast strain, and the quantity/vitality of the yeast. Sometimes I will keep the temps down for 4 or 5 days if it's moving along slowly, then let it rise for the last 2-3 days of active fermentation.

With the 2H clone I have going right now, I pitched a large quantity of very active Bells yeast. It seems to have fermented most of the 1.062 gravity within the first 3 days. It was highly exothermic during the first 2.5 days, then made a rather abrupt change as most of the residual sugars have been consumed. I actually switched to heating towards 70F to create some minor esters and help it finish up. The entire fermentation should be complete within 5 days with this one. I will still leave it in primary for 3 weeks though (last two will be room temp & uncontrolled).

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Old 12-22-2011, 05:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by HopToItHomebrew View Post
In that case, after four weeks in a primary at 62F, I don't see a need to raise the temp at all. Ales don't typically produce the perceivable Diacetyl in quantities that lagers do, so again, I don't see a need for it.

If you're having a problem with perceived Diacetyl you could pick up a product called "Biomat DAR" (Diacetyl Arrest) from your local HBS. I'm no chemist but from what I understand it inhibits the production of Diacetyl, if that's what you think you're having a problem with. I use 5 drops in almost all of my beers, lager or ale - it helps with maturation time.
Diacetyl hasn't been a problem, I'm just trying to prevent any possible future episodes. Does it hurt to leave it at 62F for 2 weeks, and then let it rise to 68F-70F for another 2 weeks?
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solbes View Post
Do you mean controlling the pitch and early fermenation to low temps, then letting them rise towards the end? That's how I do my Belgians and some english/american beers if minor esters are desired. I think it depends on the gravity, the yeast strain, and the quantity/vitality of the yeast. Sometimes I will keep the temps down for 4 or 5 days if it's moving along slowly, then let it rise for the last 2-3 days of active fermentation.

With the 2H clone I have going right now, I pitched a large quantity of very active Bells yeast. It seems to have fermented most of the 1.062 gravity within the first 3 days. It was highly exothermic during the first 2.5 days, then made a rather abrupt change as most of the residual sugars have been consumed. I actually switched to heating towards 70F to create some minor esters and help it finish up. The entire fermentation should be complete within 5 days with this one. I will still leave it in primary for 3 weeks though (last two will be room temp & uncontrolled).
You're right, it definitely depends on the yeast amongst other factors. Duvel for example lets their temps get into the 90'sF towards the end of their fermentation, but hey that's a Belgian with big estery notes. I'd personally be afraid of a highly exothermic fermentation - I've never had good luck with beers that fermented out so quickly (~3days), but hey - that's MY experience. Depending on the yeast (belgians mostly) and alc% (higher gravity) and preferred yeast charicteristics - you probably aren't off base letting it raise to 70 or higher, like Duvel. Also, if it is a higher gravity ale you're doing a secondary wouldn't be a bad idea to let the flavors meld and character to come together.. If not, it might be a banana bomb.

Personally, like our lagers, I follow generally the same schedule for most all of our ales. Primary for ~30, Secondary for 2weeks-till' OR primary for 60 and keg. Patience is a virtue and I never rush 'em anymore - not that you do..I'm just saying..
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:27 PM   #8
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Diacetyl hasn't been a problem, I'm just trying to prevent any possible future episodes. Does it hurt to leave it at 62F for 2 weeks, and then let it rise to 68F-70F for another 2 weeks?
Thats about what I do for ales. Helps to keep the yeast happily active for clean up. Generally 2 wks. primary, and raise temp 7-10 days to around 68F; cold crash 1-2 days and bottle. I seldom use a secondary, even dry hop in one bucket. Clear and tasty. Cheers
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:42 AM   #9
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I control the temps for about 1-week. After that I move the fermentor into the house where it rests at room temp for another week or two. Then I keg it.

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Old 12-23-2011, 03:03 AM   #10
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I generally cool the wort and drain my boil kettle into the primary carboy. I chill that for 24 hrs w my temp controller set to 67*F. After 24 hrs I pitch my yeast. I hold that same temp until primary and secondary have completed and I transfer it to the keg which usually between 2 and 3 weeks. Good Luck!!

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