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Old 11-11-2008, 01:23 PM   #1
THEDIETZ
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Default controlling fermentation temperature

controlling fermentation temperature....here in Pennsylvania the cold weather is starting already. Not sure if you house is like mine but it is hard and expense to keep warm through the winter so we usually put on the sweatpants and sweatshirts and put the temp in our house to about 65 F. this is my first winter since i started my new hobby of homebrewing. I know last year the temp in my house would be 62F -65F which is lower than you should ferment most ales and higher than lagers. Does anyone else on here have temp issues during the winter time and if so how do you deal with this?


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Old 11-11-2008, 01:31 PM   #2
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down here, we tend to have the oppisite problem, but there are still many things that you can try to keep your brew warm. First off, 62-65 is not that cold, and with the right yeast strain you should not have any problem whatsoever. Nottingham dry yeast I know works quite well at those temperatures, and I ferment all my german ales/kolschs in that range.

If you are wanting to ferment warmer, say do a wit or something, a lot of people use a brew belt. You can also try using an incadecent light bulb (if you can find one) in a closet to try to keep it warm. If you are worried about light, a little aluminium foil over your carboy will take care of you. Another idea, is build a little box out of foam insulation that will go over a heating vent in your house and your carboy, allowing your carboy to get first dibs on that warm air.

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Old 11-11-2008, 01:36 PM   #3
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controlling fermentation temperature....here in Pennsylvania the cold weather is starting already. Not sure if you house is like mine but it is hard and expense to keep warm through the winter so we usually put on the sweatpants and sweatshirts and put the temp in our house to about 65 F. this is my first winter since i started my new hobby of homebrewing. I know last year the temp in my house would be 62F -65F which is lower than you should ferment most ales and higher than lagers. Does anyone else on here have temp issues during the winter time and if so how do you deal with this?
If you have a basement, check out temps in various parts of it. I found that near the heating equipment it was still mid 60s (sometimes it was in the 50's upstairs - but that's a separate issue!). I found that by putting the fermenter next to an exterior door I could get the temps down to low 50s - my amber lager turned out pretty good. Try insulation etc. to get temps a bit higher and water + ice to get it lower. I have an outbuilding in the garden - I'm going to see what the temp is over there for lagering and/or lager fermentation.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:40 PM   #4
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Oh, I definitely have the same problem! The good news is that most ale yeast LOVE the 65 degree range. I have trouble getting my beers up to 65 degrees!

I've found that with a proper starter, and pitching at around 65-70 degrees, that all of my ales have fermented fine. I found out by accident that pacman yeast will ferment nicely and cleanly at 60 degrees, but I try hard to keep my fermenter at at least 62. I put it in the warmest room of the house, in the computer room, and try to maintain the fermenter temperature at 62.

There are some yeast strains that do great at 60-62 degrees- nottingham for dry, wlp002, and almost off of Wyeast's ale strains do great at 60 degrees or so. If you can get up to 65 or so, almost all of White Lab's yeast strains are in that recommended range.

You might have some trouble making Belgians or Hefes, where the fruity esters are wanted in an ale. But for cleaner, neutral tasting ales, 60-65 degrees is actually preferred in most cases.
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Old 11-12-2008, 11:57 AM   #5
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You might have some trouble making Belgians or Hefes, where the fruity esters are wanted in an ale. But for cleaner, neutral tasting ales, 60-65 degrees is actually preferred in most cases.
Belgians - yes.
But I've just fermented 2 weizens in 62F, they are very good, full off bananas.
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Old 11-12-2008, 12:17 PM   #6
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Here in Wisconsin I'm looking at 55-60 in the basement but it is looking like the firnance is heating up the basement a tad (first year in a new built house for us). Look at different yeast - Wyeast looks to be better at lower temps then White Labs.

Remember it's only the first few days when you want the yeast to be in the 60's - the violent fermentation period is the important time.

I have an electric space heater I plan on using. In the middle or a cement floor with nothing around it seems OK (unless a cat sleeps on it). If it tips it shuts off.

Also - from my brief experience. If I pitch at 65 the carboy will heat up a few degrees even though the basement is 61.
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Old 11-12-2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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Our basement floor is 60F right now in PA. No worries though...



We haven't even turned our heat on yet. It's just the 2 of us so we don't have to keep any little ones warm.
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Old 11-12-2008, 09:24 PM   #8
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I am thinking that if you have the carboy sitting in a room that is 65 you may actually ferment at higher temperature than what you want. I would not be surprised that while the fermentation is really vigorous that temp of the actual fermenting beer is in the low 70s. Certainly not bad, but I like to keep it around 68.

When it gets too cold in the basement, I just use the Fermwrap heater with the Johnson temperature controller. Can be found here:
NORTHERN BREWER: Fermentation Temperature Control

In the summer, I just switch the jumper on the temp controller and hook it up to my Son of Fermentation Chiller to keep it all cool. Really was a good purchase. I have also used the heather/controller to keep the inside of a ice chest at 70 so beer would carb up at a reasonable rate during winter.
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Old 11-12-2008, 10:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by THEDIETZ View Post
controlling fermentation temperature....here in Pennsylvania the cold weather is starting already. Not sure if you house is like mine but it is hard and expense to keep warm through the winter so we usually put on the sweatpants and sweatshirts and put the temp in our house to about 65 F. this is my first winter since i started my new hobby of homebrewing. I know last year the temp in my house would be 62F -65F which is lower than you should ferment most ales and higher than lagers. Does anyone else on here have temp issues during the winter time and if so how do you deal with this?
dude, that is a perfect temperature for ALL ales.


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