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Old 01-15-2013, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default Fermentation temps

I found a kit at my LHBS for a California Common. Since I happen to like Anchor Steam and Liberty ales, I decided to go for it. Besides, the only other choices I had were very light lagers and so forth.

I decided to do some reading before jumping in, and also I'm waiting on the FedEx man to bring me a couple small things I need before I can get started. So I read that California Common beers are actually lagers. Cool, because it's colder than a well digger's bottom right now, and I don't like to keep the house any warmer than I just absolutely must. Colder-fermenting yeasts are welcome this time of year. However, I checked the instruction sheet for the kit, and it says ferment at 68°-72°F. Is that right? Or should I lower it to around 62°-65°?

Follow up question: If I keep my thermostat on 60° all the time, and the house stays pretty well that temp, will I need to blanket the primary, or will the normal heat of fermentation keep it warm enough? Do I need to find a warmer spot to put it? If need be, I could put it in the guest bathroom with a small space heater. At least that way if it blew a bunch of Kräusen it would be in the tub and therefore easier to clean.

Thanks for the help.

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Old 01-15-2013, 03:30 AM   #2
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68-72 is way too warm for a Calif Common. Keep it in the low 60's and I would suggest a 2L starter if you are able to.

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Old 01-15-2013, 03:44 AM   #3
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A quick Google search tells me a "2L starter" is a way to activate the yeast and get it going before actually pitching it. Am I on track?

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Old 01-15-2013, 04:07 AM   #4
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Yes. A Yeast starter gives a large amount of yeast to tear into a beer. This style is in between a lager and ale in fermentation temps, with about 10 degrees cooler than normal ale temperatures.

I am currently brewing a California Common and have had it in the coldest part of my house and it's been around 56-60 degrees most of the time. The target on my recipe was 62. I made a 1.6L yeast starter using a Wyeast 2112 Lager. Yeast starters are a little advanced if you are a rookie, but you can read up and decide. It should have an appropriate yeast to get it done in the kit.

I made a German Altbier for my first beer that I didn't get to ferment at cold temperatures until it was in secondary. No yeast starter either. It came out awesome, plan on trying an altbier again soon.

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Old 01-15-2013, 12:44 PM   #5
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Okay, I'm willing to try. I don't have one of those cool beakers, though, but I have several quart-size mason jars sitting around.

I've found a couple threads on here on how to do it. The only thing is that the yeast that came with the kit is dry yeast. What do I need to do differently to account for that?

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Old 01-15-2013, 02:24 PM   #6
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I think pitching the yeast directly will be fine for this attempt. Most dry yeast is best pitched either dry or rehydrated, but starters are not used for dry yeast.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/yeas...y-yeast-79535/

For this batch I would just go with the kit directions and pitch it dry or rehydrate it. Starters are more for liquid yeasts which take a little more knowhow.

I wouldn't be worried about it since the kits are already refined. Most dry yeasts will have less yeast character than a liquid yeast, but that shouldn't be a big issue with this beer.

I went through about 6 batches before making a yeast starter.

The directions included will suffice.

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Old 01-15-2013, 07:19 PM   #7
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Ah, gotcha. Like "proofing" the yeast when I bake bread or something.

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarefootFriar View Post
Ah, gotcha. Like "proofing" the yeast when I bake bread or something.
Bingo!

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Old 01-26-2013, 05:52 PM   #9
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Update: Brewed this up today. Kit called for a partial boil, but I had read enough on here about full boils that I went ahead and did that. I managed to get the wort cooled to 62°F in about 45 minutes. I hit the estimated OG right on the nose -- 1.048. Rehydrated yeast has been pitched and now it's in my guest bathroom in the fermenter, blow-off tube installed, and going to work.

Only one mishap, and that was that I looked away for a sec and had a boilover. Not a huge deal because it was outside, but dang that was quick! I'll know for next time.

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