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xenomaniac 01-31-2013 11:40 PM

Keeping the fermentation warm
 
I just brewed my first batch of Pecan Porter and it's in the first stage of fermentation. This past week, the weather has been perfect keeping the house at a nice 72 - 74 Fahrenheit which is what the batch calls for. Just last night we had a cold front move in and dropped the temps in the house to 65 (35 outside). I live with a roommate and he doesn't like to use the heater in the house to save money (in which I agree with) so we each have our own space heaters.

I was out at work downtown when the cold front came in so I didn't get home till 3am. As soon as I got home though, I grabbed a bath towel and wrapped it around my fermentation bucket while the house thermostat stays at 65. I'm hoping this will keep it warm enough till I move to the second fermentation process in which I'm probably move it to my room where it stays a nice 72 - 74 degrees constantly.

One problem, I don't have a lot of room in my room. I've been looking online to look at ways to keep your batch warm for fermentation and I noticed someone suggested using an aquarium heater. My question is, for a brewer on a tight budget, is this a great idea or are there other things I can do to keep my temps exactly where they are suppose to be?

Yooper 01-31-2013 11:43 PM

Actually, a room temperature of 72-74 is probably too warm, as normally you want the fermentation temperature (not the ambient) to fall within the range specified. Since fermentation itself produces heat, it is not uncommon for the temperature of an active fermentation to be 5-10 degrees higher than the room temperature.

The thing to look at is the yeast strain- that's how you decide fermentation temperature. For example, say you're using White Lab's California ale yeast. If you go to their website, that strain says:

WLP001 California Ale Yeast
This yeast is famous for its clean flavors, balance and ability to be used in almost any style ale. It accentuates the hop flavors and is extremely versatile.
Attenuation: 73-80%
Flocculation: Medium
Optimum Fermentation Temperature: 68-73F
Alcohol Tolerance: High

In other words, if using that strain, keep it UNDER 73 degrees for best results.



What strain are you using?

duboman 01-31-2013 11:45 PM

First off what yeast is being used for this porter, those temps actually seem a little on the warm side.

You can use a swamp cooler set up with an aquarium heater in it or you can get a brew belt or Ferm wrap with a temp control device although that would be more expensive.

The porters I brew are fermented in the mid 60s which is why asked about what yeast is being used

xenomaniac 02-01-2013 01:09 AM

Hmmm I think I'm using an SafAle S04.

EDIT: Just did a search myself and found this. "Optimum temp: 64-75 F"

So guess I'm in the clear.

elpenoso 02-01-2013 01:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xenomaniac (Post 4850594)
Hmmm I think I'm using an SafAle S04.

EDIT: Just did a search myself and found this. "Optimum temp: 64-75 F"

So guess I'm in the clear.

Well maybe, I still think its too warm. The fermenter temp will always be higher than the ambient air temp. I shoot for 62 to ensure the fermentation does not go over 68. Try it both ways then you decide.

Yooper 02-01-2013 01:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by elpenoso (Post 4850738)
Well maybe, I still think its too warm. The fermenter temp will always be higher than the ambient air temp. I shoot for 62 to ensure the fermentation does not go over 68. Try it both ways then you decide.

I agree. That strain gets sort of funky over 72 degrees. I ferment it at about 64 degrees, in a 60 degree room, to keep it "clean".

You're absolutely fine in a 65 degree room, and in fact that would be far preferable for 99% of the ales you'd brew, so I'd err on the side of cooler instead of warmer.

xenomaniac 02-01-2013 03:12 AM

Ok thanks for the info. The temp gauge on the side of the fermenter is well within the Ale range as well.

homebrewdad 02-01-2013 03:44 AM

Agreed with your other advice - if possible, get this beer to an area with ambient temps in the low 60s.

BigFloyd 02-01-2013 04:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebrewdad (Post 4851238)
Agreed with your other advice - if possible, get this beer to an area with ambient temps in the low 60s.

+1, especially for the first week.

duboman 02-01-2013 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by xenomaniac (Post 4851135)
Ok thanks for the info. The temp gauge on the side of the fermenter is well within the Ale range as well.

That very well could be but it doesn't take into account the type of ale or the yeast being used. Just because a stated range is given for a yeast doesn't necessarily mean it won't produce undesirable flavors in that range.

Ideally and for many strains the middle is the best place to be and as previously stated active fermentation can raise the temperature in the primary 5-10 degrees.


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