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Old 11-29-2012, 10:20 PM   #1
BonzoAPD
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Default what temperature should my beer ferment at?

My beer thermometer on my bucket is saying it is 63 degrees and the airlock stopped bubbling. I brewed an autumn amber ale extract kit from Midwest supplies for my first 5 gallon batch. What temperature should I be trying to keep it at? When should I rack to secondary?

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:25 PM   #2
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It depends on the recipe. Most ales are happiest below 75. Anything higher than that and you start getting wierd flavors. Ideal for ales is usually 68 or lower.

No activity in the airlock doesn't mean anything. Don't sweat it.

Racking to secondary is kind of a controversial thing. If you're dry hopping or aging over fruit or wood or whatever, then yeah, a secondary is a reasonable choice. Other than that, it's pretty much up to the individual brewer whether or not it's worth the trouble to rack it over or not.

In any case, you'd rack to a secondary (if you choose to use one) once the initial fermentation period is over. Your recipe should have a rough guideline of how many days to leave it to work in the primary, but if for some reason it doesn't, three weeks is about the norm for primary fermentation. When it's been in for a few weeks, take a hydrometer reading once a day for a few days - if it stays the same for three days in a row, it's done fermenting and can be secondaried if you want.

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Old 11-29-2012, 10:30 PM   #3
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I ferment my extract ale kits in my basement, which maintains around 63f-67f
year round, and the 2 batches that I have completed have been fine. I have another that I was worried about, but a gravity reading yesterday (10 days in primary) told me that I'm probably ok.
There are quite a few threads here about airlocks, bubbles, and secondary fermenters. Browse around.
Cheers!

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Old 11-30-2012, 07:24 AM   #4
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It depends on yeast strain, but 63F is good starting point. I usually ferment most of my ales at 63F, except when I want to get more "yeast character" or increase diacetyl or esters, then I"ll increase temperature.

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Old 11-30-2012, 07:59 AM   #5
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+1 to the comments on yeast above. fermentation temp does depend on the kind/strain of yeast you're using. what strain did you get? i know white labs lists comfortable temps for each yeast strain on their website. there's really no 'ideal' temp for all yeasts. more than likely, your fermentation temperature is within range for your yeast but as mentioned above, hydrometer readings are important to determine whether or not fermentation is complete. i can tell you my airlock stopped bubbling because my lid didn't seal properly check yer gravity if you haven't already, and you may have a better idea where to go. does the recipe from the kit give a final gravity? if you hit it, you can assume primary fermentation is complete. i will also 'rouse' the beer every day or so just to stir it up a bit more as well. just a gentle swirl for a few seconds, don't splash or slosh. and if fermentation seems to be taking too long, maybe it has gone to sleep a little, and i'll move it someplace just a few degrees warmer. if the beer has been fermenting for more than a week, it's probably just about done fermenting the major part of your beer. a little longer to give it a chance to chew up some of the esters wouldn't hurt. as suggested above, 2-3 weeks oughta do it. just a couple ideas.

regarding secondary: i mostly do pales/ipas, and dry-hop them. i do NOT secondary at all. as an example, i'll go in primary for a week, dryhop in primary for 5-7 days more, then cold-crash it by putting the fermenter in the refrigerator overnight. this causes most of the floaties to drop out to the bottom, and results in fairly clear beer. after the overnight cold storage, i let it warm back up to room temp (64-68f this time of year) before bottling that day or next.

why? because it's easier, and eliminates the possibility of infection and oxidation of using another racking cane, tubing, secondary vessel, etc. and i get clear beers this way. the argument for/against using a secondary will always wage on and i'm not trying to stir it up, i'm just offering my own personal experience. of course, if you want to secondary your beers, by all means go for it. if it works for you, that's all that matters. there are plenty of reasons to do it (fruit, huge hop additions, etc...), and plenty of reasons not to. i used to secondary because i heard it results in clearer beer. i tried it without secondary, and i get clear beers. and so far, no infections

enjoy!

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Old 11-30-2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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It really depends on that particular yeast strains temp range,which you can look up on brew supply wrsites like midwest. They even have PDF's that give all the info on the yeast as well. Look those up to find the numbers you need for any given yeast.
US-05,for instance can go down to 54F,57F being the nornal low range temp listed. But Cooper's ale yeast needs at least 64F to function normally. That's why I say it's best to look it up,& maybe keep some page in your notebook for info on yeasts you've used.
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Old 12-01-2012, 01:15 AM   #7
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I can't find anywhere on Midwest's site or on the instructions what yeast it was. What I can tell you is that it was a dry yeast in a yellow package.

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Old 12-01-2012, 01:24 AM   #8
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Did it look like this? http://www.dorsethomebrew.co.uk/shop/443-953-thickbox/fermentis-saflager-s-23-11-point-5-gram.jpg

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Old 12-01-2012, 02:21 AM   #9
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It looked similar to that, but not exactly that one.
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Old 12-01-2012, 05:48 AM   #10
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Don't think they'd pack a lagar yeast for an ale.
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