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Old 06-06-2009, 03:28 PM   #1
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Default Hot Temperatures and the Secondary

How much can temperature affect the beer when it is in the secondary? Since I live in Texas and summer started two months ago, it gets kind of hot in my house during the day. The wife won't let me keep the A/C set at 65, so you can see my problem.

I've done the putting the fermenter in water with a t-shirt on it trick on my last batch. But that was a wheat ale that is going straight from 3 weeks in the primary to bottling today.

Do I need to keep the secondary in the swamp cooler as well? Or since fermentation is done, can I just leave it out?

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Old 06-11-2009, 08:38 PM   #2
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I would still at least keep in a cool and dark basement or closet. Even in the secondary the yeasties are still performing.

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Old 06-11-2009, 08:44 PM   #3
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Boiling...Otherwise you're fine...Temp control is actually only crucial in the first few hours of fermentation, that's when off flavors can be caused by too high a temp affecting the yeasties...after that, especially after the first couple days, it really doesn't matter...You don't want it too hot, but you don't need to sweat the temp at that point (or while in the bottle) either.

And if you waited til fermentation was completed before racking it won't matter in the secondary one bit. Secondary is for clearing the beer, so no fermentation should be happening there that the temps would casue any problems.

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Old 06-12-2009, 12:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
Boiling...Otherwise you're fine...Temp control is actually only crucial in the first few hours of fermentation, that's when off flavors can be caused by too high a temp affecting the yeasties...after that, especially after the first couple days, it really doesn't matter...You don't want it too hot, but you don't need to sweat the temp at that point (or while in the bottle) either.

And if you waited til fermentation was completed before racking it won't matter in the secondary one bit. Secondary is for clearing the beer, so no fermentation should be happening there that the temps would casue any problems.
+1.

Even if you're 90% of the way through, fermenting the last 10% hot won't likely cause problems at all.

In the interest of full discolsure I would add that storing beer at warm temps can accelerate a variety of reactions - good or bad. For example, if you expose the secondary to a bunch of oxygen and then leave it for a month at 80F, it will display oxidation very quickly - much faster than it would at say 50F. So try to limit the time it's kept warm if you can.

That's a relatively minor concern in the grand scheme though.
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Old 06-12-2009, 12:31 AM   #5
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I temp control for the first week, after that I move them to another room to make room for another new brew. They've reached 75-78 without any noticeable bad effects, it's the first week (and probably the first 3-4 days) that really matter.

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Old 06-12-2009, 01:16 AM   #6
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Um. . . the above advice comes from far more knowledgeable brewers than myself, but I'm pretty sure that the style of beer you're brewing, and the yeast you're using, will be of importance. . . are you brewing a lager, for instance, or a bock?

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:06 PM   #7
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How cold can an ale seconday be? Is 55 (below the range of most ale yeasts) too low?

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:33 PM   #8
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The lower the temperature, the slower the action of the yeast. In MY experience, lower temperatures for ale yeast won't produce dramatic off flavors, but at that temperature you should expect to secondary at least a week longer than you ordinarily would.

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Old 06-12-2009, 02:37 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Nanobru View Post
I would still at least keep in a cool and dark basement or closet. Even in the secondary the yeasties are still performing.
Texas doesnt have basements

I use the swamp cooler and replace out 4 frozen water bottles before work and after, stays around 63 degrees in it.
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Old 06-12-2009, 07:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boondoggie View Post
How cold can an ale seconday be? Is 55 (below the range of most ale yeasts) too low?
I think that's a great question with plenty of answers. From what I've seen people tend to secondary in slightly different ways. Here's my guess:

If you're transfering to 2ndary after fermentation is totally complete and your goal is simply to have the beer drop clearer, than this is fine.

However, if you're expecting results that require active yeast, like a diacetyl rest or if your still a few points off your gravity, than this probably is too low.

I don't 2ndary at all, except for dry-hopping, and for that I want it warm so that there is some activity from the yeast to clean up O2 i introduced with hops. I've never done a fruit beer, but same deal I would think.
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