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Old 10-18-2008, 10:47 PM   #1
Saint Aardvark
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Default First brew...and wow, higher temp than I expected!

Hi everyone -- I did my first brew today after spending the last six months collecting Grolsch bottles and reading lots. (No, I don't obsess...) Things went pretty well, I think -- no boilovers, no obvious contamination (though I'll know for sure in a week or so), and no mess. Woot!

The recipe is for Strathcona Pale Ale, a recipe from my local HBS; I'm using Wyeast 1332 in hopes of getting some nice English Ale aroma -- I have very fond memories of Bass Ale on tap when I lived in England. The OG came out higher than it should have been -- 1.056 or so, instead of 1.046 -- but I'm letting that go.

The one thing I'm wondering about is the temperature of the fermenter. I'm using a plastic bucket as primary, and I'm keeping it in the parking garage of my townhouse, where I have a storage room. The temperature in the room is dead set at 19-20C (66-68F), so I figured that would be perfect for the yeast. What I didn't count on was the rise in temperature in the few hours since pitching: the thermometer on the side of the fermenter says 30C (86F)! And since this is one of those sticky, changes-colour-to-match-the-temp thermometers, it must be right.

I've read -- many times -- the thread about ruining beer, and I've read Revvy's advice about time healing all wounds^Wbeer...so I'm not too worried. I've got a wet t-shirt on the fermenter, and hopefully that'll get the temperature down a bit too.

What I'm wondering is whether I should continue to pay attention to this -- keep wetting the t-shirt, point a fan at it, whatever -- or if I'm worrying too much. Yes, I'm a newbie, so worrying too much is probably gonna happen anyway. Until my home brew is ready, I've got some microbrew stocked up to alleviate the anxiety.

Anyhow...that's it. Thanks for the great advice in all the forums, everyone, and glad to meetcha!

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:06 PM   #2
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Hi everyone -- I did my first brew today after spending the last six months collecting Grolsch bottles and reading lots. (No, I don't obsess...) Things went pretty well, I think -- no boilovers, no obvious contamination (though I'll know for sure in a week or so), and no mess. Woot!

The recipe is for Strathcona Pale Ale, a recipe from my local HBS; I'm using Wyeast 1332 in hopes of getting some nice English Ale aroma -- I have very fond memories of Bass Ale on tap when I lived in England. The OG came out higher than it should have been -- 1.056 or so, instead of 1.046 -- but I'm letting that go.

The one thing I'm wondering about is the temperature of the fermenter. I'm using a plastic bucket as primary, and I'm keeping it in the parking garage of my townhouse, where I have a storage room. The temperature in the room is dead set at 19-20C (66-68F), so I figured that would be perfect for the yeast. What I didn't count on was the rise in temperature in the few hours since pitching: the thermometer on the side of the fermenter says 30C (86F)! And since this is one of those sticky, changes-colour-to-match-the-temp thermometers, it must be right.

I've read -- many times -- the thread about ruining beer, and I've read Revvy's advice about time healing all wounds^Wbeer...so I'm not too worried. I've got a wet t-shirt on the fermenter, and hopefully that'll get the temperature down a bit too.

What I'm wondering is whether I should continue to pay attention to this -- keep wetting the t-shirt, point a fan at it, whatever -- or if I'm worrying too much. Yes, I'm a newbie, so worrying too much is probably gonna happen anyway. Until my home brew is ready, I've got some microbrew stocked up to alleviate the anxiety.

Anyhow...that's it. Thanks for the great advice in all the forums, everyone, and glad to meetcha!
Welcome to HBT!
Yep, this is one of those things you should worry about. Controlling the fermentation temperature is probably one of the most important things in making the best beer you can. Those stick on thermometers are great- some would say they are not 100% accurate, but my feeling is that they are close. So, you're about 10-20 degrees too warm. Using the wet towel works great- can you blow a fan on it, too? That will really help. I use an Igloo cooler with some water and bottles of ice and put the fermenter in there.
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Old 10-19-2008, 02:59 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply and the advice! No outlet in the storage room, so a fan's out. But I just went down to check it, and with the wet t-shirt the temperature's already down to 24C (75F). I'll check in on it tomorrow, and maybe stick it in a big bucket of water with some ice.

Can't wait to meet this beer when it's done...

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Old 10-19-2008, 06:58 AM   #4
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Brilliant! Use an igloo cooler, then use it later on when you convert to AG

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Old 10-19-2008, 02:27 PM   #5
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Brilliant! Use an igloo cooler, then use it later on when you convert to AG
That was my plan- I bought an Igloo Ice cube with wheels. But I liked it so much for my "Yooper Lagerator" than I bought a different cooler when I went AG.

I have pictures of the cooler in my gallery. I made a different styrofoam lid for it, so just the airlock peaks out and I can lager it at 34 degrees in my basement. For ales, I just add less frozen water bottles, and keep it at 64 degrees or so in the summer.
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Old 10-19-2008, 03:19 PM   #6
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I have pictures of the cooler in my gallery. I made a different styrofoam lid for it, so just the airlock peaks out and I can lager it at 34 degrees in my basement. For ales, I just add less frozen water bottles, and keep it at 64 degrees or so in the summer.
That's a pretty slick setup. Silly question, but do you put water in there too, or just frozen water bottles?
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Old 10-19-2008, 10:52 PM   #7
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That's a pretty slick setup. Silly question, but do you put water in there too, or just frozen water bottles?
Water, up to the level of the beer. That's why the wheels are so great- that set up is HEAVY! The water insulates it, so that any temperature changes are incredibly gradual. That means, as the ice melts, that the temperature doesn't go up more than a couple of degrees, and when it is time, I just replace those melted water bottles.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:04 PM   #8
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Also, I forgot to mention that when my beer goes to the secondary fermenter, I keep it pretty cool, like 50-55F. Any thoughts on that?

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Old 10-19-2008, 11:06 PM   #9
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Also, I forgot to mention that when my beer goes to the secondary fermenter, I keep it pretty cool, like 50-55F. Any thoughts on that?
As long as fermentation is completely over, that's fine. Beer conditions faster at warmer temperatures, so you may need to leave it longer at those cooler temps.
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Old 10-19-2008, 11:11 PM   #10
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Thanks, Yoop. As usual, you have calmed my nerves. Actually, the Knuckle Ball Bock I'm sipping is quite calming as well.

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