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Old 11-09-2012, 03:53 PM   #1
yourhuckleberry
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Hello, I'm new to homebrewing and new to this forum. You can check out my first brew, an all-grain Bee Cave Brewery Kolsch, here.

I live in Montreal and it gets quite cold here in the winter and hot in the summer.

Right now my fermentation room is at around 59-60 degrees F which I think is more or less okay for the style. During the most active part of the ferment, when there was a large Krausen, the temp next to the carboy was ~64 F. Now it is 60 F.

I know for the summer I will probably need to look at a "Son of Fermentation Chamber" or keezer if I want to continue to brew.

But for now, in the winter do you think I should be looking at actively controlling the heat of the fermentation with a heating pad and a temperature controller?

Or is it enough to just insulate the carboy very well and let the yeasts regulate their own temperature.

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:25 PM   #2
Jayhem
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Yeast produce heat during fermentation but yeast can't keep the beer in the ideal temperature range if it's too cold or too hot in your fermenting area. If the beer gets too cold the yeast will go dormant, if it gets too hot the yeast will produce esters and create off flavors. Temp control is one of the most crucial parts of homebrewing.
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:27 PM   #3
mb82
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They don't regulate their temp. They do produce heat during primary fermentation. So once primary fermentation is over the temp of the beer( I guess you call it beer at this point) will drop to the temp of the room, if this is below the yeasts preferred temps they might drop out of solution.

edit: Jayhem beat me to it
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:28 PM   #4
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A temp controller will keep you closer to your desired temperature. No control will lead to temperature swings which have the potential to make your yeast flocculate and quit fermenting your beer. You can probably get away with not having temperature control and I will be fine but since you're thinking about building a fermentation chamber for the summer anyway, why not just go ahead and get a controller to use for now?
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:33 PM   #5
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If this is your first batch, you have bigger fish to fry than fermentation temp precision. Get several batches under your belt and then decide where you want to make changes. Can you give us an idea of your equipment?

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 04:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsme6582 View Post
If this is your first batch, you have bigger fish to fry than fermentation temp precision. Get several batches under your belt and then decide where you want to make changes. Can you give us an idea of your equipment?
I disagree. Fermentation temperature control is one of the most important things to address. That is not to say you can ignore other processes. It just should be at the top of the list.

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10

I disagree. Fermentation temperature control is one of the most important things to address. That is not to say you can ignore other processes. It just should be at the top of the list.
This!
Yeast make beer, without yeast, no beer. Fluctuating, too high, too low temperatures are primary reasons beer does not turn out the way it's supposed to.

Temperature control of fermentation should be a first priority in the quest for making beer!
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
yourhuckleberry
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Thanks for the insights.

So it sounds like I want to keep the temperature at a consistent 68 F for the whole fermentation (3 weeks) until I am ready to crash cool and drop the yeast out.

Alright so my understanding is if I was reading 64 F just outside my carboy during Krausen than the brew itself was warmer on the inside probably close to the 68 F it is meant to be fermenting at.

Now that it has been a few days and the fermentation has slowed (see this picture from yesterday) is it still going to be a warmer temperature in the centre of the carboy than I am reading just outside? Should I still be aiming for 64F outside the carboy?


The carboy was sitting on a heating pad which I kept turned off as it would raise the temp to 70 which is much too high for this beer. I have just now added more insulation between the pad and the carboy hopefully keeping it on low I will hit my temp (which should be 64 F?) without need of a regulator this time around.

Should I be be gently shaking my carboy to wake the yeasts up as well as raising the temp? I am on day 5 of my fermentation.

I have pretty basic equipment:

10 gallon aluminum pot, electric stove, grain bag for BIAB, 5 Gallon Marmite canner for Mashtun heated in oven, floating therm, 6 gal glass carboy. Looking to do 1-2 gallon batches.

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:46 PM   #9
yourhuckleberry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
This!
Yeast make beer, without yeast, no beer. Fluctuating, too high, too low temperatures are primary reasons beer does not turn out the way it's supposed to.

Temperature control of fermentation should be a first priority in the quest for making beer!
Is it the up down, up down fluctuation that is bad? If I keep it consistent (well insulated) and it slowly drops is that okay?

The yeast is WLP029 German Ale / Kolsch yeast and my temp is at 60F at the moment (day 5 of the ferment) compared to 64 F (days 1 and 2)

 
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Old 11-09-2012, 05:50 PM   #10
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Honestly, the steady temperature is most crucial when active fermentation is going on - i.e. your gravity is steadily dropping as the yeast metabolize sugars. Usually, this is in the first few days of a typical brew.

Once the gravity stabilizes, temperature conrol isn't as big of an issue (large temperature swings are still bad, but minor fluctuations with ambient temp aren't as big of a deal).
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