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Old 06-08-2009, 05:13 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation: Too Warm Vs. Too Cool?

I'm about to start Festa Brew continental pilsner kit and bought a Wyeast Activator yeast that indicates a proper fermentation temp of 9 to 13 degrees Celcius.

I've got a spare fridge in which I intend to ferment this kit and have been having trouble hitting that temperature range, no matter how many times I adjust it. Am I better off too be just a bit on the cool side, or just a bit on the warm side? I am thinking the warm side but right now the fridge is sitting at 8 degrees and I am tempted to get going on it.

Any advice? If I go with the cooler option, would it be smart to use a starter?

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:29 PM   #2
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I would pick the cooler rather than warmer option. When your brew begins to ferment, it will warm up due to some scientific process that I don't really understand. But I typically count of the fermenting brew to be 3 - 10 deg F higher than ambient (or room temp or fridge temp for you).
As far as the starter, I've never had any problems with Wyeast but I have heard of others making a starter for it. I think you'll be just fine without.

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:45 PM   #3
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For a lager, you definitely want to make a starter; preferably a large one, in the 3L area. Especially if you're going to be fermenting on the cooler side, you'll really need a big starter to get the yeast going.

check out this link: Mr Malty Pitching Rate Calculator to get an idea of the proper sized starter to pitch.

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Old 06-08-2009, 05:49 PM   #4
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+1 to fermenting cooler rather than warmer.

+1 to making a starter, especially so with a lager.

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Old 06-08-2009, 08:31 PM   #5
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also consider picking up a temperature control device.
Plug the fridge into it, and put it's thermo-sensing device into the fridge. The better ones have settable hi-lo ranges to keep the temp very close.

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Old 06-08-2009, 09:24 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies; I'll go on the cooler side, with a starter just to be safe, and check into the control device--sounds like a winner!

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Old 06-08-2009, 09:46 PM   #7
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+1 on the previous +1's

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Old 06-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noeldundas View Post
+1 on the previous +1's
+1

heh heh heh
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:09 PM   #9
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I try to get my as cool as I can within reason. I'm using the 60qt cooler with it half filled with water and soda bottles with frozen water. Then sit the carboy inside with the neck sticking up out of hte top of the lid.

Temps can drop pretty good depending on how many i use and if I keep at it.

I normally put two-three fresh bottles in and freeze the other 3 and switch out morning and night... gets pretty cold to the point wehre half the bottles are still frozen at switchout.



colder is better.

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Old 06-08-2009, 10:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BADS197 View Post
I try to get my as cool as I can within reason. I'm using the 60qt cooler with it half filled with water and soda bottles with frozen water. Then sit the carboy inside with the neck sticking up out of hte top of the lid.

Temps can drop pretty good depending on how many i use and if I keep at it.

I normally put two-three fresh bottles in and freeze the other 3 and switch out morning and night... gets pretty cold to the point wehre half the bottles are still frozen at switchout.



colder is better.
I do roughly the same thing. I have a big tub that my fermenter bucket sits in. I only have about 5" of water in it though, and ice bottles.

The other day, the ambient air temp in the house was 87F.

A thermometer sitting on top of the bucket (below the top of the tub) read 78F.

I dipped my digital thermometer through the airlock hole and 1/2" into the beer and it read 69F.

That was while swapping ice bottles out every 4 hours or so during the hot spell. Not bad a'tall.
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