I have a quandary. I intend to brew this weekend. A bitter using WLP002.
Late winter/early spring in Oklahoma is a tricky thing. During the weekdays this week, we're going to get into the mid 70s. Saturday, brewday, a cold front comes through. Our highs and lows for the next few days after that look to be all over the map from the low 60s to the upper 30s depending on the day.
My garage is well insulated and its ambient temperature generally stays about 10F higher than the outside temperature. My fermenting refrigerator is also well insulated and will hold its set temp if I am not doing a lot of opening and closing of the door.
I'd like to ferment out there but am afraid I will not be able to keep it warm enough. I don't have a heater and my temp controller is only the analog/dial kind that will not allow me to control a heating and cooling element.
My other alternative is an upstairs bathtub which I use in the dead of winter. I made a stout a few weeks ago (also with 002). With all the vents closed, that room fluctuates between 67-70F. Optimum temp for the yeast is 65-68F, but I was really hoping to start the yeast off low and let it ramp up to 66-68F. The stout I did sat in primary for 4 weeks. At bottling, it had a very, very faint banana ester that I attributed to the higher than desired fermenting temps.
The upstairs tub is workable, but not exactly what I was wanting. The garage, I think may get too cold and cause it to stall (I am planning on a 1200ml starter for a 1.044 OG)
So what do you think would be best? Ferment a little warm since fruity esters would not be entirely out of character for this beer? Or put it in the garage, perhaps with a blanket stuffed in there for good measure, and hope for the best (perhaps just accounting for a longer ferment and a little rousing when the temperature goes back up)?