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Old 01-21-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
gwalt
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Default Heating pad to start fermentation

Good morning.

Background: I brewed an American amber ale Monday evening. While cooling the wort I had to field a call from work while left my wort sitting in the ice bath for about an hour. When I finally siphoned to the fermenter I had a really nice hot/cold break. I had a dry yeast (Nottingham) that I floated in warm warm and gradually added about an oz. of wort every 5-7 minutes while on this call.

I placed the fermenter upstairs where the temp usually stays between 66-69. The next morning nothing. Lunch nothing. That afternoon I touched the side of the fermenter and it was quite cold to the touch. So, I decided to wrap the fermenter in a blanket with heating pad on medium. This morning when I woke up I found that the yeast had started working and splashed a lot of the water out of the blowoff pan. From what I understand the Nottingham is a high flocculating yeast. I really need to purchase a crystal thermometer strip for the side of the carboy. (I wish this one was in glass!)

QUESTION: It there an issue with having heated the wort like this? I removed the heating pad and left the blanket around the fermenter this morning.

I assume everything is going to be fine, but I figured it would not hurt to poll the deep knowledge base here. ( Thanks in advance!)

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Old 01-21-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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Yes and no... Temp control is important, too high a fermentation can cause the potential for off flavors. But at the same time if it's too cold the yeast could want to go dormant.....I had a similar issue with a belgian a couple of weeks ago, so I pointed a ceramic heater at it for a couple hours til I saw the krausen begin to form, them turned it off....

You could do the same...once fermentation begins it is going to be generating it's own heat...so you don't want the base temp to be too high.

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Old 01-21-2009, 01:49 PM   #3
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Then I should be okay since the heat was only on it for about 6-7 hours and not super high. The side of the bucket didn't feel too hot this morning. I removed the heat this morning.

I suppose I should consider one of those heat wraps or build a box for better temperature control in the future.

Thank you for the prompt response and babysitting!

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Old 01-21-2009, 01:54 PM   #4
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66-69 is fine for ferm. Some would consider it high but it depends what ur after. If you had left it alone, I'm sure it would have started up on its own. 66 on glass is going to feel cold btw. Fermentation can sometimes take a bit to kick off. Having said that, I'm sure your fine.

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