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Old 03-29-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
Dec 2010
San Francisco, california
Posts: 31

So I live in Northern California--where there is no such thing as air conditioning for apartments/houses. I have been relying on the mild climate here to regulate my apt for my fermentations (been a steady 66F for every brew this year). It's about to heat up around my area for the next 2-3 days, and I doubt i can keep my apt around 66F during these afternoons. What kind of damage (off flavors, etc) should i expect in my brews that are in primary, in secondary, and in bottles, if my apt is around 72-75F for 2 afternoons? If you need more info just ask, but i assume someone has experienced a heat spike during a fermentation/conditioning period and might have something to say about this...thanks

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Old 03-29-2011, 09:32 PM   #2
Mar 2011
Chester, IL
Posts: 435
Liked 15 Times on 12 Posts

You could use a swamp your fermentor in a large bucket or cooler add water half way up put an old T-shirt over the fermentor so it hangs in the water and add frozen bottles to bring the temp down...

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Old 03-29-2011, 09:34 PM   #3
Feb 2011
Denver, CO
Posts: 288
Liked 10 Times on 7 Posts

If you're really concerned about the heat spike, you could try what I used on my most recent batch:

Get a towel soaked, and wrap it completely around the carboy. If you have a fan, point it at the now towel-wrapped carboy and turn it on. The evaporative cooling from the towel should keep the carboy at least from getting above 70, since I can keep it easily at 65 in my 70-degree apartment.

Take the towel off and flip it over every once in a while, since gravity will move the water down towards the bottom of the carboy. I've been using the same towel for 3 days, rehydrating the towel necessary.

If your beer is during its most active part of fermentation, you could potentially get butter/butterscotch (diacetyl), and/or banana (esters from higher yeast activity) flavors in the beer, as well as fusel alcohols that smell like rubbing alcohol, taste like jet fuel, and lead to significantly worse hangovers.

If you look up John Palmer's "How to Brew," there is a free, online edition. Go to chapter 8.1.3 and it will give you a good idea of how fermentation temperatures affect the finished beer. Section 21.2 details off-flavors and their most common causes, and a few of them can be attributed to too-high fermentation temperatures.

Good luck!

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Old 03-29-2011, 09:36 PM   #4
Golddiggie's Avatar
Dec 2010
Posts: 11,995
Liked 496 Times on 431 Posts

At what stage are your brews? If the fermentation isn't active, you could be ok... If the yeast was just pitched, you could be in for some off flavors, but those should go away with some extra time... I don't see <75F as being a major issue though, for ales...

In secondary, you probably won't have issues... Personally, I don't put into another vessel unless the brew is set to age on a flavor element.

In bottles, probably no impact at all. If anything, they might carbonate a little better/faster if it's been less than a month since being bottled...

I would just ride it out, give the brews an extra week before you sample them and then decide what you need to do... Chances are, a little more time on the yeast cake is all you'll need to make them great.
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:39 PM   #5
Dec 2010
San Francisco, california
Posts: 31

Thanks guys--I'll try the towel method and hope for the best. None of the brews are still in the 'active' part of the fermentation so with your comments, hopefully all should be well..

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