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Old 11-25-2010, 01:30 PM   #1
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Default Best fermentation temp for ales

Ive been reading a lot about germ temps and I've yet to find a consensus on what the beat temp for an ale is. I usually try to ferment around 65 but my basement is now at 60. Is this going to cause me problems

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Old 11-25-2010, 01:45 PM   #2
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There's no consensus because there are too many variables. Ale is a broad base of drink to pigeon hole into one specific "correct" ferment temperature. It is very yeast/style/flavor profile desire dependent.

So what do you like to make, what yeast are you using, and what is your desire as far as ester profile?

I tend to ferment at 60*, but I also tend to make pale ales with S05 and want as clean a profile as possible.

(Side note, if you are brewing with no temp control system, and your basement ambiant temp is 60*, I wouldn't be surprised if the heat caused by the yeast themselves raises your fermentation temp to close to 65*)
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Old 11-25-2010, 01:46 PM   #3
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All of the yeast manufacturer's list the optimum temperatures of each strain on their website.

Some strains are fine at 57-59 degrees, while others need to be a bit warmer. I've made lager-like beers with pacman at 60, nottingham at 59, and alts and kolschs in the high 50s.

Remember that it's the actual fermentation temperature that's important- not room temperature. In a warm room in the the summer, I've seen the fermenting beer be 10 degrees warmer than ambient! Usually, a cool ferment will only be a degree or two warmer, sometimes three, than the ambient. If you get a stick-on thermometer for the fermenter, that's pretty close to fermentation temperature.

I have a cooler that I use to keep my ales cool enough in the summer. I put the fermenter in a water bath, and cycle frozen water bottles in it to keep the desired temperature. I do sort of the same thing in the winter, but this time it's with an aquarium heater in the water bath. It was cheap (under $10) and I can keep my fermenting beer at 70 degrees if I want, with that aquarium heater in the water bath. (There are pictures in my gallery if you want to wade through 100 other pictures first!).
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