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Old 01-04-2013, 04:13 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation temp too cold?

Hi again all, I put my first batch of beer into primary on New Years eve, and have been checking on it every other day or so, and it has been bubbling away through the airlock up until today. I know that what I probably need to do at this point is take a hydrometer reading, but it seems a bit premature since it's only been fermenting for 5 days now. I am wondering if the issue is the temperature - I've done some reading up on other threads to get more info, but my fermenter is on the concrete slab in my basement, and the thermometer on the side of the bucket is at 59F/15C. Do I need to get this temp up? I'm wondering if that's why I'm not seeing any bubbles (sat and watched the airlock for 2 or 3 minutes, it didn't move a bit) or if I'm just being paranoid since this is my first batch and it's done fermenting. Thanks everyone!

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:16 PM   #2
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After 5 days,initial fermentation is likely over. It'll now creep slowly,uneventfully down to FG. Was 59F a constant temp since you pitched the yeast,or did it go down? I know US-05 can take a low temp like that. Others would stall out.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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Most yeasts will ferment at the cooler temps, but as fermentation dies down and the beer cools, the yeast can floc prematurely. I would bring your fermenter upstairs and let it warm up to 70* for a couple of days before bottling.

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:30 PM   #4
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65F would be better. Some yeasts start producing esters,etc at 70F.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:30 PM   #5
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Temp when yeast was pitched was 71F, and I thought after 3 days (checked it on the Jan 2nd) that it would have reached its resting temp, it was 63F then. It has dropped down to 59F now, so no 59F was not a constant temp. The yeast used was a Lallemand yeast that came with the kit, and I threw the packet out after using, so I don't have a strain reference number. How do you advise - warm it up and hope it starts back up? Warm it up and repitch? Or should I just let it sit for another 2 weeks in primary and test for FG then? Thanks again, this is the second time you've helped me out with this batch!

-Edit-
Just got the other posts, will move to a slightly warmer location, and if nothing happens in the next few days, I'll probably update this post for advisory on whether or not I should repitch or let it sit.

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:33 PM   #6
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Warm it up a few degrees,then gently swirl the fermenter to stir up some yeast back into solution. Just don't splash,o2 at this point is your enemy.
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Old 01-04-2013, 04:41 PM   #7
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In general, you want to maintain a consistent temperature throughout fermentation or slowly increase the temperature after high krausen has passed. Decreasing the temperature through fermentation can stress the yeast and/or make them prematurely flocculate.

At this point, I agree with others - increase the temperature and then swirl to re suspend the yeast. I think 70 F is reasonable - you don't have to worry too much about ester production after high krausen.

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Old 01-04-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Don't prematurely think about repitching or "fixing" the batch either. Honestly after 5 days I'd assume the airlock will be pretty much dead. I don't see a huge problem here. In fact, you don't actually know if you have a problem at all yet. Warm it up for a few days to give the yeast some time to finish up their job and then take a hydrometer reading and see where it's at. Without that bit of info you have no idea if the yeast stalled or finished the job or what. RDWHAHB (or since this is your first batch, RDWHACB)

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Old 01-04-2013, 08:35 PM   #9
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Thanks everyone - your advice was exactly what was wrong - the wort temp is back up to 61 and rising (I just took it off of the cement floor and put it on a workbench), and the airlock is active again after moving the fermenter around a bit. Thanks again to everyone, I guess I am just super paranoid about this first batch. I'm so hooked that I'm actually starting a second batch tomorrow - Yooper's Dead Guy ale clone. Thanks again and happy brewing to everyone!

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Old 01-04-2013, 08:50 PM   #10
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Just because the airlock is bubbling doesnt mean fermentation has restarted. You warmed it up so the air in the headspace increases in pressure naturally. This will cause the airlock to bubble 100% of the time regardless of fermentation. Also, as yeast produce co2, some of it is absorbed by the beer. The colder the beer is the more that is naturally absorbed. now that the beer is warming up, some of this co2 will come out of solution again causing the airlock to bubble.

So, while indeed 59 is a bit low, and warming up to the mid 60s is a good idea. You still don't know that anything is/was actually wrong, or that the beer wasn't already finished fermenting. Given that the beer was in the 60s during fermentation, it's likely that the yeast did just fine. Take a gravity reading in a couple days and report back what it says. That's the only true measure of fermentation happening.

One other thing. You said it was a Lallemand yeast. I am gonna venture a guess that it was Nottingham yeast as it's by far their most common strain around. If it was, then 59 isn't actually too low of a temperature. Their site says that Nottingham's temp range is 57-70.

Directly from their site:

Quote:
The recommended fermentation temperature range of this strain is 14° to 21°C (57° to 70°F) with good tolerance to low fermentation temperatures (12°C/54°F) that allow this strain to be used in lager-style beer.
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