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Old 02-24-2013, 02:32 PM   #1
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Default Temperature choice for fermentation...

I have brewed my second beer - porter this time around - and am trying to decide where to store it for the next 3 weeks. I have a number of areas in the house that maintain a steady temperature of 69-70F all day, but have been reading this might be a bit high considering the wort will warm up during the fermentation process. My other choices are a closet that keeps considerably cooler during the winter months at ~64F or just outside the closet near the door where it's ~67F due to a gap in the closet door.

My concern is that I have no regulation over the cooler closet temperature as it depends on outside conditions. I don't expect much fluctuation considering it is winter here, though. Is it better for me to store the fermentation bucket in the closet at the lower temperature but not have much control over what happens or in another closet that will be a stead 69-70F for the entire fermentation?

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Old 02-24-2013, 02:37 PM   #2
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After fermentation is finished, the warmer temperatures won't hurt it.

Fermentation temperature really depends on the yeast strain. Some yeast strains do better at 62 degrees, while others can do just fine at 69 degrees.

One thing that can help maintain a good steady temperature is insulating the fermenter. For example, putting the fermenter in a water bath helps keep temperature fluctuations from affecting the beer inside, and often just covering it with a blanket helps it maintain temperature.

Generally, cooler is better with most ale strains. Which strain are you using?

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Old 02-24-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
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I would say that lower is better. As long as the fluctuation isn't more than a few degrees the first couple days you should be fine.

Otherwise look into a swamp cooler that you can put anywhere.

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Old 02-24-2013, 02:51 PM   #4
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I am using american ale yeast from wyeast. I think it was #1056.

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Old 02-24-2013, 02:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dybz View Post
I am using american ale yeast from wyeast. I think it was #1056.
From Wyeast:
YEAST STRAIN: 1056 | American Ale™

Back to Yeast Strain List

Very clean, crisp flavor characteristics with low fruitiness and mild ester production. A very versatile yeast for styles that desire dominant malt and hop character. This strain makes a wonderful “House” strain. Mild citrus notes develop with cooler 60-66°F (15-19ºC) fermentations. Normally requires filtration for bright beers.

Origin:
Flocculation: Medium-Low
Attenuation: 73-77%
Temperature Range: 60-72F, 15-22C
Alcohol Tolerance: 11% ABV


So, I'd go with the cooler spot, and just monitor it for fluctuations. If it's only a degree or two, it shouldn't affect the beer. Keep it wrapped up in a blanket (or in a water bath, or both) and it'll be fine as long as the beer stays above 60 degrees.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:35 PM   #6
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+1 on cooler. Always find out the yeast's optimal ferm temp, or your beer will not be as expected.

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Old 02-24-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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Wow that's surprising. I could have sworn that it said to keep it between 65-75F on the packaging. Thanks for everyone's help. I'll keep it in the cool closet and watch the temperature. It shouldn't fluctuate too much as the reason it is cooler is it has a wall on the exterior of the house. Hoping with winter temperatures supposed to remain somewhat level over next few weeks the brick wall will act as the temperature buffer (no room to set up a water bath in there).

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Old 02-24-2013, 10:15 PM   #8
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The lower temp closet will be good for initial fermentation,which is the most temp critical stage of the process. That's when off flavors from normally produced compounds happens if it's too warm.

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Old 02-25-2013, 03:35 PM   #9
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I figured I would ask this in here instead of making a new thread... what should I look for when checking for fermentation occurring? For some reason my airlock is not bubbling, nor showing signs of higher pressure in the bucket. I know buckets might not seal well enough to make the airlock bubble, so not too concerned. I did take a peak in the airlock hole and saw a good krausen on top - is this enough to consider the fermentation is going as it should? I am a bit hesitant to test the gravity as its just another chance for contamination to occur.

It has only been ~36 hrs since I pitched the yeast and I saw the sticky that fermentation can take up to 72 hrs to really get going, so I am not particularly concerned, just wondering how to know that all is going well.

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Old 02-25-2013, 04:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dybz View Post
I figured I would ask this in here instead of making a new thread... what should I look for when checking for fermentation occurring? For some reason my airlock is not bubbling, nor showing signs of higher pressure in the bucket. I know buckets might not seal well enough to make the airlock bubble, so not too concerned. I did take a peak in the airlock hole and saw a good krausen on top - is this enough to consider the fermentation is going as it should? I am a bit hesitant to test the gravity as its just another chance for contamination to occur.

It has only been ~36 hrs since I pitched the yeast and I saw the sticky that fermentation can take up to 72 hrs to really get going, so I am not particularly concerned, just wondering how to know that all is going well.
Yeah, the krausen is a good sign that fermentation is happening. Since it's formed, your best COA is to seal it back up and forget about it for a bit. After it's been in for 12 days or so, take a hydrometer reading. Seal it back up and take another one 2 days later. At that point, they should both be the same. (i.e. really close to, if not at FG) Seal it back up and wait another week or so, then bottle.
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