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Old 12-04-2012, 05:20 PM   #1
rodwha
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Default Yeast And Warmer Temps

I bought my friend the ingredients to make an extract honey wheat and gave him some of my harvested WLP 320.

He used his spare bath tub for his water bath, but used frozen gallon jugs and brought the temp too low. He's been struggling ever since (few days), and I can tell he's frustrated and considering going back to his Mr Beer kits.

He would place them (Mr Beer fermentors) on a concrete floor that he said stays fairly cold. He hasn't had issues with creating fusel from what I understand.

Could this be due to a wider base than a bucket and so there's more contact area keeping cool?

I looked at Mr Beer's yeast and it states the temps should be 68-76*, which really isn't far off from most other yeasts. Should he just try something like 1332 NW Ale, which shows a temp range of 65-75*?

I have no idea what kind of temps his beer gets up to or the temp of his concrete floor, but if his Mr Beer yeast is doing fairly well it seems to reason he could probably get away with doing it like that with some of the other yeast strains.

He is a restaurant manager who doesn't have much time to monitor the temp.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:22 PM   #2
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Is there kind of an average temp where typical American yeast strains begin to create fusels and/or off flavors?

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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I may be wrong, but I think high fermentation temperatures are the cause of fusel alcohol. Think 75+.

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Old 12-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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It sounds like "relax" might be a key concept here- if the concrete floor is fairly cool and he's made decent beer with the Mr Beer kits, there probably isn't a good reason to try to complicate matters.

I'd get more temp data. Get a good temp on the floor, then slap a stick-on liquid crystal thermometer on the side of one of the fermenters to get a ballpark fermentation temp for the next batch. Also- what would the water bath temp be without ice bottles? Maybe the water bath pulling the first couple days' heat off the fermenters would be enough to keep things nice.

In my experience, typical American ale yeast gets fruity or develop bite at 70 and above. Some produce off flavors I don't like, and others are kind of neat.

One option for warm brewing without temp control headaches might be Belgian styles. Those yeasts give lots of character at the warmer end of their operating range and cleaner results at the low end. Many tasty Belgian styles can be brewed at 70-75º. Maybe a Belgian Wit with some wheat extract and a bit of grain to steep? Or a blonde...and then after that get creative with the specialty grains?

Since I'm lazy, I'm coming around to the theory of adapting the style to the weather as opposed to taking even simple measures to control temperature. Managing ice bottles etc isn't exactly my idea of fun. Controls will give the best quality though...all depends on what you're looking for.

This list from White Labs has good general info and might help pick a good strain:

http://www.whitelabs.com/beer/homebrew_strains.html

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Old 12-04-2012, 08:20 PM   #5
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I suppose attaching a fermometer would be a very good idea.

I wish I knew a little more about the Mr Beer yeast he has been using, and why it's not producing fusels. I'd have assumed it would if he's not doing much other than placing his fermentors on the concrete. But I've tried 2 of his beers, and no fusels.

I've suggested the Belgian yeasts too, but I'm sure there will be styles he'd want to make not really in line with those yeasts. I know he loves wheat beers.

i hate to get pushy with him, but the fact is the Mr Beer stuff just isn't all that great. But the main reason is that he thought it was cheap. I showed him the costs of my extract with grains cost, and I can make twice as much beer that tastes three times as good (except the ones I screwed up on).

What about Fermentis yeast? They claim up to 75*. Anybody fermented a little higher with it?

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:05 PM   #6
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Fermentis US-05 developed quite a bit of yeast bite for me near 75. Honestly it wasn't a dealbreaker, but it wasn't exactly pleasant. BRY-97, which some people suspect is the same strain, showed no sharp off flavors a degree or two cooler, but was very very fruity. Several people liked that beer better than the identical one brewed with US-05 at 70º. Crazy, I say, but it was tasty even though it wouldn't win a competition.

Keep in mind that 75 on a stick-on thermometer probably means that the fermenter's internal temp is higher.

Also...this depends on your buddy's personality, but it might be worth experimenting with Belgain yeast and...well...whatever recipe he feels like? So long as he's happy with drinking decent beer that's not funky, but won't win any competitions, that might be a solution. I think it sounds like a fun thing to do in the summer.

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Old 12-05-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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I thought the fermometers did read internal temps accurately?
I have one in my cart just to see what the difference is between my 62-66* water bath and the beer itself.

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Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:10 PM   #8
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Just a note on yeast temp ranges (I'm sure lots of people know this, but since it is a beginners forum ill say it anyway). Some yeasts will give a very wide temperature range when it is actually a combination of smaller temp ranges. I'll have to look up the specific example if anybody wants, but basically I was choosing between two pilsner yeasts. I think they were from Wyeast. They both listed my style as a style they could be used for. One had a range of something like 58-65 and the other something like 57-75. Don't quote my exact numbers. I decided that i would use the one with the larger range because it would be more forgiving. If you read the fine print, what it meant was the second range was actually only 57-65, but could be used up to 75 if you were brewing a steam beer. It certainly wasn't a lie, and I don't think Wyeast is trying to deceive anyone, it was just a mistake I made that seemed to be an easy mistake for any beginner to make.

Here I thought I was doing my due diligence and reading instructions carefully...

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Old 12-05-2012, 09:53 PM   #9
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Liquid crystal thermometers give a good idea of what's going on, but during vigorous fermentation, all that metabolism cranks out heat, so it's safe to assume that it's "a couple" or "a few" degrees warmer in the middle of the fermenter. People have rigged probes to monitor this.

I figure that if my stick-on thermometer reads 66º and I'm using Wyeast 1335 British Ale II, I'll get the flavor profile I know and love. Whether it's 66, 68, or even 70 inside the fermenter, I just know to keep the thermometer at 66 if I want the results I like. (Although it's not much different at 68, you can tell a bit of a difference).

Likewise, Belgains won't produce the interesting flavors at the low end of their operating temperature. They end up on the bland side if you're shooting for a true Belgain style (which is why I wonder if they'd be OK for generic low-70's fermentation?). They like it warm. "How warm" in my opinion can be figured out by brewing a batch with a external thermometer reading in the middle of the strain's specs (unless it's a yeast with a dual range so to speak) and then working from there.

Anyway, I think every fermenter should have a stick-on thermometer! They're cheap, effective, and allow us to collect data in the notebook, even if that data's a bit skewed, it's still consistent.

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