Here is something I've been wondering about for awhile now. When a fermentation is recommended (68 degrees, for example), are they referring to the temperature surrounding the fermenter or the temperature of the fermenting wort?
I ask because the temperature of my fermenting wort is often 5-6 degrees higher than the temperature in the room. For example, right now the fermometer on my fermenting dunkelweizen says it is 72-73 degrees in the carboy while the temperature of the room is around 67-68 degrees. I can't get my basement much colder than that without the temperature in the rest of the house dropping as well.
I know many people use fermentation cabinets or fridges, even for ales. If you're trying to ferment at 68 degrees, do you set your fermentation chamber for lower in order to account for the five degree rise you're sure to get from the first couple days of vigorous fermentation? If you do this you would need to raise the temperature as the fermentation becomes less vigorous and the temperature in the carboy becomes the temperature of the room around it. Or do you simply set it at 68 and let it ride?