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Old 09-14-2010, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default Pitch warm or pitch late?

That is the question. I’m using an immersion chiller, and in my garage in the summer it seems like the best I can do with that method is 78 degrees. That is, until I move the fermenter to the basement, and get it covered in a wet shirt with the fan blowing on it. A couple hours later she drops to below 70. When the AC is running, I’ve got a basement bathroom I can lock the beer in which will hit 64.

So, which option offers less risk to the final product?

A. Pitch my yeast into oxygenated 78 degree wort, then cool the fermenter to 64-68 over the next 2-4 hours.

- OR -

B. Wait for the wort to cool over 2-4 hours, then oxygenate and pitch.

The first is not optimal for the yeast, I know. There is a risk that they’ll become lethargic with the drop in temperature and who knows what else. (That's a serious question. Who does know? What are the other risks of method A?)

The second is optimal for the yeast, but how much am I risking infection or other detrimental effects as unpitched wort sits around cooling?

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:40 PM   #2
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I do method B. Letting it sit just two hours in a sealed container will hardly allow infection. I put both my fermenter and yeast inside my fermenting freezer for them to equalize in temps after my brew. An hour or two later I pitch.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:41 PM   #3
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B. It will be harder too cool once that fermentation starts going.
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Old 09-14-2010, 04:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMan View Post
I do method B. Letting it sit just two hours in a sealed container will hardly allow infection. I put both my fermenter and yeast inside my fermenting freezer for them to equalize in temps after my brew. An hour or two later I pitch.
Not bad. Do you transfer from kettle to fermenter with or without splashing? Would early oxygenation be a concern over those two hours?

I don’t have any sort of a fermentation chamber other than the basement I already mentioned, but it’s a plan to get one. Are you setting your freezer to pitch temp or do you set it to ‘freezing’ to accelerate temp drop? How long does it take you to get to the 50’s? (Assuming a person with a fermentation freezer has done lagers.)
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judochop View Post
Not bad. Do you transfer from kettle to fermenter with or without splashing? Would early oxygenation be a concern over those two hours?
You want oxygen in your wort, but only when its somewhat cool. If your fermenter can handle it, put it in at the appropiate temp, seal it, and pitch when the wort is before 70 (for most beers. some need cooler). If you are very worried about air when its warm, wait until its at pitching temp to shake it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Judochop View Post
I don’t have any sort of a fermentation chamber other than the basement I already mentioned, but it’s a plan to get one. Are you setting your freezer to pitch temp or do you set it to ‘freezing’ to accelerate temp drop? How long does it take you to get to the 50’s? (Assuming a person with a fermentation freezer has done lagers.)
Like other posters have said, your infection risk is small with proper sanitization, well cleaned fermenters, and a good airlock on the primary. Just set the freezer/chamber to a few degrees below where you want the beer to be. Better yet, calibrate with a plastic water bottle and some water. Then you will know where to be. No need to rush the cooling, the freezer will do its thing just fine.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:42 PM   #6
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Go with the second option. A couple of hours is insignificant in terms of the overall arc of fermentation and even the standard lag time. The high temperatures are not, and could definitely throw some off-flavors.

I do the same thing in the summer when my IC can't get me below 78. I always wait until pitching to oxygenate, and hit it with a diffusion stone and O2 tank at that point.
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Old 09-14-2010, 08:43 PM   #7
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wait, wait wait until you are at pitching temps. You would be suprised how fast yeast start at that higher temp and like someone already said, they damage they are doing will be hard to reverse when they finish their job so quick
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:48 PM   #8
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Option B. My IC will only get it down to about 80, then I put into my fermentation chamber and cool overnight (I usually brew late at night) and pitch in the morning.
Risk of contamination is a bogus argument as the wort is sitting in the fermentation bucket with an airlock, which is where it will be for the next 3-4 weeks anyway...
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:43 AM   #9
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Here in Canada most brewing is done with a bucket with loose fitting lid as far as beginners go that have not read everything HBT has to offer. I am still trying to figure out if you guys use anything except carboys for initial fermentation and secondaries.
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:11 PM   #10
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One trick I've found is that straining/aerating the wort into the fermenter always drops it several degrees for me.

After the wort chiller I'm usually able to get my wort down to about 76 degrees. After that I siphon from the BK to the fermenter through a strainer which does 3 things at once:
-removes hop/break material
-properly aerates the wort
-drops the temp from 76 to around 70.

Of course, I'm brewing inside so that helps. Maybe you could try moving your BK inside after the wort chiller step then strain/transfer the wort to the fermenter in there?
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