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Old 03-02-2011, 12:49 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation temperature

Hi there. I just returned to homebrewing after a 10-15 year break. I am not vastly experienced, I have made probably 20 batches, and to get back in the swing of things, I decided to just keep it as simple as possible for my first batch in such a long time and bought a tru-brew amber ale kit, all extract.
Here's my question/problem: In the past, I was brewing up north, and room temperature was usually 70-74 degrees. Now I live in Florida, and room temp is usually 76-80. Is this too warm for me to just leave the fermenter with no cooling? My amber started fermenting great but seemed to end to quickly, I base this judgment on no airlock activity after 36 hours following 24 hours of bubbling. I know I should measure the gravity before asking, I haven't, but will also be making more beer in the future, so the room temp will also effect my future batches, so...



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Old 03-02-2011, 12:52 PM   #2
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Yep, too warm. You'll want to keep things in the mid 60's for most ales, I ferment most of mine at 63F to get a really clean taste. You'll get some esters and fusels if you ferment too warm for a particular strain.

I am of the opinion that the best thing you can do to improve your overall beer quality is to control your fermentation temps. Pick up a free fridge or freezer and then purchase a temperature controller, you'll be amazed at the difference!

Cheers!



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Old 03-02-2011, 12:55 PM   #3
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Wow, thanks for the fast reply! Is it too late (72 hrs) to cool down this batch?

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:12 PM   #4
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You can try the cooling method I posted here at

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/cheap-temperature-control-hot-climates-221862/

as a cheap option. If you plan to invest some into brewing, I would definitly get a freezer with a temp controler as suggested or build a fermentation chamber with a small AC unit. You can find several projects online, at this forum or on the open web.

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:18 PM   #5
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So it doesn't have to be a fridge it can be a freezer as long as you have the controller?

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:19 PM   #6
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I live in a cooler climate, so it's easier for me to do it cheaply, but here's a picture of my solution:


I put a water bath around the carboy, and float frozen water jugs in the water, replacing as needed. I float a thermometer in the water, and also have a stick -on thermometer on the outside of the carboy. (You don't want to immerse those stick-ons, so it's near the very top of the beer, while the water is just below).

That will work until you get to 80 degrees or so.

You really want to keep most yeast strains under 72 degrees (beer temperature, not room temperature!) for best flavor. Some yeast strains get fruity over 72 degrees, but some actually become pretty foul tasting that warm (like nottingham). An active fermentation produces heat and can actually get 8-10 degrees warmer than room temperature! The warmer it gets, the harder the yeast work, and so it gets even warmer. Yeast work fast at higher temperatures, so the fermentation can get explosive. Keeping it in the mid 60s is ideal for almost all ale yeast strains.

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:28 PM   #7
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Like the Cooper's ale yeast I used the 1st two times. Cooper's says 18C-32C,I say,no way jose'! 20-22C is working pretty good for that strain,as an example. Too high,& you start getting lots of fruity esters,& various fusel alcohols.
But they can be lessened by letting the beer sit on the yeast cake. That gives the yeast time to break down it's own waste by-products. Then bottle aging/carbing does some more.
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:29 PM   #8
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I wouldn't cool it down now, it won't do much good. Most ester production happens in the first 48-72 hours of fermentation while the yeast are reproducing. It can be a chest freezer, or a fridge, or you can manually monitor the temps like Yoop does.

I am fairly handy so I purchased a temp controller from eBay for ~$30.00 and got a small chest freezer for free and wired it all up.

Bottle/keg your beer after 3-4 weeks in the primary, taste it 3 or so weeks after that. If you get some fruit or spice or a hot alcohol flavor that you don't think quite fits, that's from the higher fermentation temps. Think of how much better that same beer would be without those flavors in the mix. Then I'd make that same beer again, use the fermentation temp control method of your choosing, you'll be amazed at the difference!

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:27 PM   #9
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Ya I'm pretty sure my beer has that exact flavor your talking about. I am fermenting at room temp(73). So letting it sit a little longer will help? I think its been in primary for like 2 weeks now. I'm using safale t-58.

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Old 03-02-2011, 02:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewsClues View Post
Ya I'm pretty sure my beer has that exact flavor your talking about. I am fermenting at room temp(73). So letting it sit a little longer will help? I think its been in primary for like 2 weeks now. I'm using safale t-58.
Stop the train, T-58 is a Belgian Strain, you usually want those esters in a belgian beer. What kind of beer are you making? In this instance you probably want to ferment high, I just made an Ommegang Abbey Ale clone this weekend and am fermenting at 80F. Sure they need some time to mellow, but most Belgians are estery & spicy.


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