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Old 02-02-2011, 12:55 PM   #1
Dec 2010
Espoo, Finland
Posts: 21

I am temporarily in a location where I don't have as much control over fermentation temperature as I'd like, nothing really beyond a wet towel (swamp cooler) etc.

I am able to keep my FV between 22-25C (72-78F) without too much trouble but keeping it below 22C for extended periods is a challenge (unable to swap out the towel often enough or control ambient temperature).

For making English Bitter and similar ales, which yeast would you recommend that would be most tolerant of temperature fluctuations in the 22-25C range and would not produce too many off flavors if much of the fermentation is on the higher end of that range?

(for the purists, yes, I *know* this is not optimal, I'm looking for best options given the above constraints, so please don't state the obvious "FV temp should be kept around 20C" etc...)

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Old 02-02-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
Aug 2009
Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 2,174
Liked 44 Times on 40 Posts

Wait, so do you have a swamp cooler? As in, a bucket for submerging your fermentor that you can fill with water? Because those things are pretty good at keeping the temp down, especially when it's only the 2-5 degrees C you're talking about. Remember, the first three days are the most important, after that it's okay to let it rise. I know it's a lot of work, and it sounds like you're pressed for time, but that's the way it goes.

The thing about English yeasts is they already put out a bunch of crazy flavors. If you ferment higher, I can really see a situation in which you make something undrinkable that you hate - estery to the point of gagging, a lot of diacetyl, spiciness, gourd/melon-flavored fruitiness... it scares me.

I use 1968 in most of my ales because I love its malty, estery profile, but I've even started cutting back and pitching around 62, letting free rise to 68, and finishing out at 72. The bulk of fermentation occurs around 65. My beers are still quite estery.

What about trying this: do you have the ability to chill the wort down to a pitching temp of about 16 or 17C? If so, you might get a little better fermentation early on before it gets too hot.

And I'm sorry, I just can't resist hammering the importance of fermentation temps. Forget all the science, all the reasons why - I experienced an ENORMOUS increase in the quality of my beers when I started controlling temps. It's the biggest single improvement I've ever made to my brewing... It's worth not brewing a couple batches, saving the money, and buying something to make your beer better. Good luck.

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Old 02-02-2011, 02:01 PM   #3
Golddiggie's Avatar
Dec 2010
Posts: 11,995
Liked 497 Times on 431 Posts

If you can keep it closer to ~75F for the top end, you could give Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale a shot... Not sure how it will come out on the higher end of the temperature scale, since I'm usually fermenting in the mid 60's (F) here... I would suggest just looking through the Wyeast strains to find one that also has a profile you like. You could, also, fire off a quick email to the people at Wyeast telling them what you're environment is like (temperature wise) and see what they suggest... I contacted them a little while back about their nutrient product, and had a reply pretty fast (emailed late one day, not long after they opened the following business day, I had a reply)...

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Old 02-02-2011, 05:03 PM   #4
El_Exorcisto's Avatar
Aug 2010
Herkimer, NY
Posts: 417
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Drop your fermenter in a bigger vessel like a plastic tote with 6" of water in it. Cover your fermenter with a wet towel with a fan blowing on it. The tote of water will keep your towel wet through osmosis, and you won't have the worry of having to change towels when they dry out.
On Deck: Saison "Jardin d'été" (3rd Gen 3711, Wild bugs, Pale ale malt, wheat, Willamette dry hop)
Primary: Saison "Vomissure de Grenouille" (2nd Gen 3711 from dregs, Pale Ale malt, Crystals and Willamettes)
Secondary: BM45/Spontaneous Bugs Experiment (down to 1.004, and tastes awesome), contemplating what fruit to add.

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