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Old 05-27-2013, 06:04 PM   #1
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Default Wheat beer fementation temp question

I'm brewing a Belgian Wit, very light wheat beer, and am wondering about fermentation temps. Living in the mountains, I don't have A/C. In the morning, my house temp can be around 65, climbing to maybe 75 by the end of the day. Outside air temp is around 50 for a low.

Fementation temps will vary; if I brew in the evening, then it will start out cool, and slowly warm up in the day, then cool again the next night.

How sensitive is wheat beer yeast to this kind of temperature cycling? I'm going to invest in a keezer, but meanwhile ....

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Old 05-27-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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It's not so much the beer but the yeast and the range it performs best at.

Ideally you pitch cold and allow to warm and then hold at the desired temp. Yeast don't like fluctuating temperatures.

I'd consider using a water bath/swamp cooler set up to maintain an even temp. A large tub filled with enough water to cover 1/2-2/3 of the FV will create a stable temperature. You can use frozen water bottles to keep temps low or an aquarium heater to keep temps higher.

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Old 05-27-2013, 07:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
It's not so much the beer but the yeast and the range it performs best at.

Ideally you pitch cold and allow to warm and then hold at the desired temp. Yeast don't like fluctuating temperatures.

I'd consider using a water bath/swamp cooler set up to maintain an even temp. A large tub filled with enough water to cover 1/2-2/3 of the FV will create a stable temperature. You can use frozen water bottles to keep temps low or an aquarium heater to keep temps higher.
^This
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:48 PM   #4
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The water bath is going to even out your temperature. It sounds like your average temperature is around 70F. Your fermentation is going to roughly balance out the cooling effects of evaporation. Depending on your yeast and what esters you are after, that could be high or it could be perfect.

If you put a t-shirt over your fermentor, water wicking up the shirt and evaporating will drop your temp about 5F. If you set a small fan to blow on it, it will drop another 5F.

There are lots of other variables, like your humidity, but that should help you get in the ballpark.

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Old 05-28-2013, 11:54 PM   #5
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What I have been doing is putting the carboy back into its box. That keeps the light off, and also insulates it from the ambient air. I brewed last night, pitched this morning at about 70, and then put the box on. The house got to 75 again, but the reading on the carboy was 72. And it was bubbling and foaming in a serious way. Tonight, I'll take the box off, so the air temp (down to 65) gets to work on the carboy. Will report as this goes on.

Anybody else try using the carboy's box for insulation?

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Old 05-29-2013, 12:00 AM   #6
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@billpaustin, I used to use the boxes just to keep the light out. Now I use t-shirts since the boxes have long since become compost.

To the OP. Fermentation temp is always our enemy. But one thing to keep in mind is the time it takes 5 gallons of liquid to come up/down to ambient temp. Given the spice and yeast driven beer, you'd be fine just leaving it in whatever room you feel most comfortable.

But in the future, especially if trying to hit a specific temp, the above mentioned methods work awesome.

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Old 05-29-2013, 12:56 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by KeystoneHomebrew View Post
To the OP. Fermentation temp is always our enemy. But one thing to keep in mind is the time it takes 5 gallons of liquid to come up/down to ambient temp. Given the spice and yeast driven beer, you'd be fine just leaving it in whatever room you feel most comfortable.
That time lag is called hysteresis. Wind it up slowly, and it unwinds slowly, to paraphrase.

But what I was hoping to hear was that "wheat beer yeast is more forgiving than a stout or a lager."

edit: Keezer is next, just finished the kegerator
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Old 05-30-2013, 01:01 AM   #8
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I used a wet-tshirt and it worked extremely well. My house went from 66 to 74 in the day. Wort was at 66 this morning, and went to 65 at the end of the day after applying the wet-tshirt. It is extremely dry here (8% humidity now), so the swamp cooler method works really well.

thanks to all

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Old 05-30-2013, 02:04 AM   #9
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Bill, The Almighty has never produced a yeast as forgiving as Wheat Beer yeast. Seriously!

There's a reason the style is over 600 years old!

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Old 05-30-2013, 03:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Bill, The Almighty has never produced a yeast as forgiving as Wheat Beer yeast. Seriously!

There's a reason the style is over 600 years old!
Now THAT is what I was hoping to hear!

I fell in love with Weiss Bier in Munich, and the Belgian Wit (Hoegaarden) while in Brussels and Amsterdam. Before that, I didn't really drink beer. Hard to believe that some of my homebrew has been right up there with those.
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