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Old 01-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #1
JProulx
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Default High ambient temperature - what are my options?

I've started up my first batch of beer - a milk stout with OG 1.057. It's been fermenting in a carboy in the dark closet for about 18 hours now. I have a thermometer hanging in the room to check the ambient temperature. The ambient temperature is sitting at about 72F, fluctuating +/- 1 degree.

I have no ability to control the temperature in this place. I live in a basement apartment, and temperature is controlled by the tenants upstairs. It's always around 72F in this place with very little fluctuation throughout the day.

I know that higher temperatures will result in esters and, if extreme, fusel alcohol. I also know that the fermentation temperature is going to be higher than the ambient temperature. What are my options here? What styles are appropriate for me to be brewing, considering this temperature?

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:38 PM   #2
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Look up swamp cooler.

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
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I have great results with dozens of ales at 70-74. Haven't needed a "swamp cooler" and lagers aren't worth my trouble. Stouts, pale ales, cider and mead keep me busy.

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:41 PM   #4
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My thoughts were to let this batch just go at this temperature. Hang onto a bottle and brew the same recipe with a swamp cooler. Compare the bottles side-by-side and see if it's worth making a cooler like that.

Is this reasonable? Am I overthinking things?

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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You can definitely compare if you want but you will definitely get some off flavors with that temp. Your beer could have been in the low 80s which is too high. I try to keep mine in the low 60s.

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
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Got it. Thanks to both of you! Looking forward to my first batch.

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Old 01-21-2013, 07:52 PM   #7
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I wouldn't worry all that much. Relax and enjoy your first batch. I've fermented plenty of ales at 72-74 degrees before I got a chamber, and every one was drinkable. Maybe not a contest winner, but absolutely drinkable. I think your plan for saving a bottle and comparing when you have a temperature controlled fermentation is a great idea, and will help give you some perspective moving forward.

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:27 PM   #8
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If you like banana esters you can also brew a good hef at that temp (although high 70's may be pushing it).

Saisons ferment nice and hot, too. Look into those yeasts.

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