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Old 07-27-2009, 10:58 PM   #1
reverendfrag
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Default A question about temperature

I'm brewing my first batch of beer right now (5 gallons of pale ale). I live in Atlanta in an apartment with poor air conditioning. The air temperature in the closet I've been keeping my fermenter in gets up to around 78 in mid-afternoon.

I understand that this is a few degrees higher than optimal. What I cannot seem to find is a coherent description of what a higher temperature will do to the taste of my final product. I can find a bunch of talk about esters and diacetyl, but since this is my first batch I do not understand what this means in terms of how the beer will taste.

Anyone want to clear this up for me?



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Old 07-27-2009, 11:11 PM   #2
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What I cannot seem to find is a coherent description of what a higher temperature will do to the taste of my final product.
Unfortunately, that is because there isn't one good answer. It can do a number of things depending on your recipe, most importantly the yeast you use.

You really won't have an answer until you drink it. So don't worry, for now.

For example, a yeast like Wyeast 1056/ of WLP 001 will kick off esters, phenols, and higher alcohols at that level. This would be bad because you would usually use those yeast when you want a clean beer. But these compounds can be welcome in some cases, or hardly noticeable in others. It depends on what beer you are making as to whether or not it is "bad". Frankly, I would'nt ferment anything at 78 but a Saison, or specialty belgian.

As for diacetyl, the yeast will kick of diacetly if the temp is too high when you pitch the yeast. Funnily enough, the way to remove diacetyl is to raise the temperature at the end of fermentation, the yeast will reconsume the diacetyl. Likely, you won't have much of an issue here, but if you take a sample and it tastes 'buttery' then let it sit at a warmer temp for 2 or 3 days before you seondary or package it.


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Old 07-27-2009, 11:28 PM   #3
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Well, 78 is the high end of the temperature. At night it gets significantly cooler in there.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see. The next batch is definitely getting the water bath treatment.

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Old 07-28-2009, 04:14 PM   #4
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The next batch is definitely getting the water bath treatment.
Good call.

It won't be totally ruined, but only you will know if it turned out the way you wanted.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:21 PM   #5
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Water bath with a tshirt over it will drop your temp into the lower 70's with no problems. upper 60's of you point a box fan at it.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:01 AM   #6
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Sampled the beer while moving it into the secondary tonight, and it tasted just fine, so apparently the temperature didn't screw anything up. I also washed some yeast for later use.

This is a great forum, very informative.

Next batch (a milk stout that I'll be mixing up this weekend) gets the water bath.

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Old 07-29-2009, 04:10 AM   #7
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Esters are a fruity flavoring in your brew as a result of fermenting in higher than normal/recommended temperatures. This is the main reason why a lot of people do not brew in the summer heat unless they can control the fermenter temp some...e.g., wicking on a t-shirt in a tub bath.

Diacetyl is a buttery flavor, think microwave popcorn butter, that is mostly associated with lager yeasts. I've never witness this in anything other than wine (not mine because I don't make wine).

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Old 07-29-2009, 04:55 AM   #8
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If you kicked the temp up on your next batch (milk stout) you might get some Diacetyl giving you a butter milk beer. Sounds delicious.

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Old 08-02-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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Got a water bath going on my new brew, and with a fan pointed at the bath and no ice it holds a temperature of about 71 degrees. This seems much more ideal. Thanks guys!



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