Am I fermenting too cold?

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Surface_Tension

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I'm doing Edworts IPA which I have done numerous times and love it. I try to keep the fermentation around 60 or 62 but it tends to take 14 or so days. this last time, even after 14 days it had a few points to go, so I raised it to 70 and it took off again for about a day.

Am I fermenting too low of a temp? I am trying to avoid off flavors but am thinking I might be slowing the little guys down.

I get my yeast at Orlando Brewing Company and the brewmaster said it was a S-05.

thanks.

Dave
 

tolkheleknar

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Fermentation should produce some amount of heat, but 60 deg F as an external temperature might be a little too cold, depending on your batch size. If you have control on your external temps (jealous!), I would probably dial it in to around 65, but them I'm still on 5 gal batches so you might want it a little cooler if yours are larger.
 

CHRGRS100

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I was just asking myself this same question. I just started using a chest freezer with a temp control. If I want to ferment at 67 what would be appropriate external temp (temp inside the chest freezer)???
 

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I have an IPA going right now that has been in the 55-62 range, but I used Notty which is supposed to work well with the lower temps. Haven't taken a reading yet (only been a week) but it has calmed down and cleared up nice.
 

wailingguitar

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As long as the yeast is working, it isn't too cold. If you like the result at that temp, let it go and do it's thing... it will be a pretty clean beer. If you want it quicker and a little fruitier (that's a relatively clean yeast anyway) you can bump the temp up to 70ish and have good results a little quicker.
 

dale1038

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You can get anywhere from 5-10 degree increase from active fermentation. I have run every test you can imagine to figure out the best thing to do in a chest freezer setup. Simply enough, the answer is duct tape a washcloth over the temp probe right to the side of the carboy.
 

CHRGRS100

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dale1038 said:
You can get anywhere from 5-10 degree increase from active fermentation. I have run every test you can imagine to figure out the best thing to do in a chest freezer setup. Simply enough, the answer is duct tape a washcloth over the temp probe right to the side of the carboy.
Perfect. I'll try this. I have 4 5gal batches fermenting at all times in this freezer.
Thanks!
 
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Surface_Tension

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I use a fridge with temp control, but the thermostat is way off, so I look at the temp strips on the side of the glass carboy. I am assuming they are closer to the external temp than the internal temp, since they are on the external surface.

So the cooler the temp, the cleaner the beer is what I am hearing. I've also heard a couple days at room temp is good for an IPA as well.

I am most concerned that the fermentation is complete, as I had a bottle bomb episode a while back that I don't wish to repeat. Lately my fermentations just seem to drag on at the latter portions, slowly bubbling for several days. I'll just keep a close watch on the gravity to make sure it has stabilized.

Thanks for comments.

Dave
 

samc

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60F is right near the bottom range of 05 yeast. I assume you pitched a slurry of yeast, so did you aerate or oxygenate your wort? Especially at colder temps the yeast is going to be slower acting and that initial growth phase of yeast needs Oxygen.

Some brewers have reported Peachy esters from cold fermenting of 05, so I don't agree with the "cooler the temp, the cleaner the beer".

I usually use 05 in the 64-68 range and am happy with those results.
 

dale1038

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If you have 4 batches going you're going to have to pay attention to quite a bit. Realize if you do the tape and towel, your freezer will be colder than what the temp probe says during active ferment.

If you're worried about the beer finishing out, just move it to room temp right as the krausen starts to drop.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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I use a block of insulation foam with a cut out for my probe to nest in, then I tape it tightly to the side of my carboy. Like this:

IMAG0148.jpg

IMAG0149.jpg

I use low tack painter's tape also, it sticks well and comes of clean.

Since fermentation temps within your fermenter are 5-8°f warmer on average, I usually set my temp controller to 62-63°f during the initial phase of fermentation (~3 days), this translates to a max fermentation temperature of 67-72°f (within most yeasts' optimum fermentation temperature range) I I will bump up the temps after fermentation slows if necessary.
 

dale1038

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Schnitzengiggle said:
Since fermentation temps within your fermenter are 5-8°f warmer on average, I usually set my temp controller to 62-63°f during the initial phase of fermentation (~3 days), this translates to a max fermentation temperature of 67-72°f (within most yeasts' optimum fermentation temperature range) I I will bump up the temps after fermentation slows if necessary.
This is where I say I've done the research. If your temp probe is covered properly and taped to the side, then that's the temp. Period. It's not warmer in the middle. Stick a high precision thermometer in the middle at the height of fermentation. It's the same as what your controller reads.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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dale1038 said:
This is where I say I've done the research. If your temp probe is covered properly and taped to the side, then that's the temp. Period. It's not warmer in the middle. Stick a high precision thermometer in the middle at the height of fermentation. It's the same as what your controller reads.
Good to know.

Have you conducted controlled experiments on temp probe placement?

It is interesting to learn that there is any variance due to temperature probe placement.
 

dale1038

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Schnitzengiggle said:
Good to know.

Have you conducted controlled experiments on temp probe placement?

It is interesting to learn that there is any variance due to temperature probe placement.
Yes, I've put it on the lower and upper part of carboys and buckets. It really doesn't seem to make a difference. I was very obsessed with this for quite a while. I'm no scientist but I think its the fact it takes a large volume of liquid a lot to change temp.

I still wonder what else I could do to solidify my findings. Maybe I'm missing something. I don't see what can be better than sticking a thermometer in the wort literally at every stage. If there's anything you want me to try please let me know.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Yes, I've put it on the lower and upper part of carboys and buckets. It really doesn't seem to make a difference. I was very obsessed with this for quite a while. I'm no scientist but I think its the fact it takes a large volume of liquid a lot to change temp.

I still wonder what else I could do to solidify my findings. Maybe I'm missing something. I don't see what can be better than sticking a thermometer in the wort literally at every stage. If there's anything you want me to try please let me know.
I guess a good test would be a thermowell with temp probe, and on the same fermenter, a temp probe taped to the side, to see if the temperature indeed does vary throught fermentation.

It's probably unrealistic to measure the temperature constantly unless you have some sort of software or application that could record the temperature every 30-60 seconds over the course of the entire fermentation for each probe independently. (unless you could sit there and record any temperature increases and decreases over the entire fermentation period, but like I said --unrealistic.)

If you were able to collect the data under those controlled conditions and then analyze the data to see if there is actually a consderable difference in temperature between the inside of the fermenter and the side of the fermenter a feasible determination can be made.

Actually having the ability to monitor the temperature over the course of 3-5 days constantly with precise measurements during the most active period of fermentation would be the key to ensuring accurate data collection can be attained in order to make a sold determination, IMHO.

So if you have the ability, and have yet to conduct a simlar experiment, it would be a worthy experiment to conduct.
 
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Surface_Tension

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I imagine all the mixing that is occurring during active fermentation keeps the temp. relatively uniform in the vessel itself.

It would seem the greatest variance is going to occur across the sidewall of the actual vessel. If there is a five degree gradient between inside and outside, then that change is occurring across the cross section. I think the foam piece is a good idea and captures the temp of the vessel more accurately.

I need to get my temp probe accurized before I could use that technique. The temp strips seem to work pretty good and I just add a few degrees during the most active fermentation.

Based on what I'm hearing though, I'm going to bring my overall temp up a little bit.

The fermentation really seems to be where the rubber hits the road in brewing and is where I am having the most difficulty with repeatability and quality. I feel like I’ve got the all grain, mash and boil nailed, but the ferment has been variable. Rather than using slurry from the brewery, I might start making starting for all my batches also.

thanks all.

Dave
 

dale1038

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Schnitzengiggle said:
I guess a good test would be a thermowell with temp probe, and on the same fermenter, a temp probe taped to the side, to see if the temperature indeed does vary throught fermentation.
I know jamil has done a lot of research on this as well. I'm pretty sure he's used a thermowell and done this. There's a brewing network show about it. My thermapen in the middle, 5 or 6 times over the course of a few days isn't a computer reading. But I really don't think the temps changing that much.
 

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It is surprising this didn't turn into a flame war. You would be surprised how many people advocate placing the probe in the air, and are passionate about it.

You guys are on the right track. Placing the probe directly on the wall of the ferm vessel, then insulating is the way to go. A little bit of influence on the probe by the internal ambient air is a good thing. It helps prevents overshoot by the probe hitting the setpoint a little early, and shutting off the compressor. The freon coils and air will continue to cool the vessel for a bit after. It is surprising how much insulation can be placed over the probe and still get this effect. A good airtight fit of the probe to the vessel is critical to get a true reading of the wort/beer.

There is some radial stratification that happens during less active phases, as one guy alluded to. Guys used multiple thermowells and found this out. The consensus was that the external probe was easier and worked better. If all you have is a thermowell, angling it so that it is close to the outer wall is what the recommendation was. I can't remember where the meat of this discussion was, maybe the ebay aquarium controller thread. It was from reputable guys, though. I think BobbyM was a major contributor.
 

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Look at the temperature range on the yeast you are using, myself I like the cooler temps to keep the esters down.
 

copyright1997

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I've been trying to ferment at lower temperatures as it seems to have improved my beers, but I just had my first "stalled" batch. My basement is now in the 57-58 range, and on Thanskgiving morning I did a batch and re-used some s-04 for a Captain Hooked on Bitters clone. I keep my batch in an old refrigerator (not turned on) and for the first 24 hours or so, after the fermentation took off, I had to actually keep the refrigerator door opened to keep the fermentation temperature in the 64-65 degree range (where I like it). Anyway, within 36 hours of brewing the visible activity was gone and the fermentation bucket temperature was 57 degrees. So when all else fails, take a SG reading which was at 1.025 (vs. an expected 1.013). Oops.

I am attempting to rescue it by raising (slowly) the temperature to 67 degrees using a covered light bulb. I've done so, rocked the bucket a couple times and I took another SG reading last night which is now 1.020. So, I *think* fermentation is slowly proceeding. (The sample tasted pretty good so on that front all is ok.)

I will try to be patient and LEAVE IT ALONE (at 67 degrees or so) until the end of the week and then check the SG level again.
 

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Can low temps cause diacetyl? Are rests even needed for ales? I ask because edworts pale is tasting pretty buttery after a month primary at low temps

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LKABrewer

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If the yeast flocculates before it is finished cleaning up, then you can be left with diacetyl. Warm it up and it will usually go away.
 

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I just checked the split batch I brewed this past Sunday, it has been in the Ferm chamber since about 1:00pm Sunday. The kreausen has begun to fall already, so I bumped my temps up from 63f to 65f, just incase it tries to stall.

I heard the WLP 007, was quick at getting the job done. Extremely vigorous active fermentation stage. The WLP 013 will probably take a bit longer to finish up.

I think I am gonna attempt grain to glass in 10 days or less with the WLP 007 batch.
 

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I guess a good test would be a thermowell with temp probe, and on the same fermenter, a temp probe taped to the side, to see if the temperature indeed does vary throught fermentation.

It's probably unrealistic to measure the temperature constantly unless you have some sort of software or application that could record the temperature every 30-60 seconds over the course of the entire fermentation for each probe independently. (unless you could sit there and record any temperature increases and decreases over the entire fermentation period, but like I said --unrealistic.)

If you were able to collect the data under those controlled conditions and then analyze the data to see if there is actually a consderable difference in temperature between the inside of the fermenter and the side of the fermenter a feasible determination can be made.

Actually having the ability to monitor the temperature over the course of 3-5 days constantly with precise measurements during the most active period of fermentation would be the key to ensuring accurate data collection can be attained in order to make a sold determination, IMHO.

So if you have the ability, and have yet to conduct a simlar experiment, it would be a worthy experiment to conduct.
The analog Johnson controller was kinda getting on my nerves so here's what I did. I bought a weather sensor from weatherdirect.com. It displays the ambient temp and records the temp of an attached probe stuffed down a thermowell.

Then I got a cheap X-10 appliance module. X-10's been around for years and it was cheap. I ditched the Johnson Controller and plugged the freezer into the module. My buddy and I wrote a small script that scrapes the temp info from the weatherdirect website and based on that information we turn the freezer on and off. It updates every 5 minutes and is pretty darn accurate. I posted a few pics to illustrate. Weatherdirect also keeps a downloadable log to track over time.

Photo Nov 29, 11 45 37 PM.jpg


Photo Nov 29, 11 46 54 PM.jpg


Photo Nov 29, 11 49 00 PM.jpg


fermtemps.jpg
 
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Surface_Tension

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:eek: Scoundrel, put down the slide rule and back away from the fermenter...

Just kidding man. That is awesome. I wish I had the skill set to do that kind of stuff.

Dave
 

scoundrel

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:eek: Scoundrel, put down the slide rule and back away from the fermenter...

Just kidding man. That is awesome. I wish I had the skill set to do that kind of stuff.

Dave
You can do it. I'm gonna get all of the particulars together and eventually post a how to thread. I'll write an application so you won't need programming skills and a list of exactly what to do. As long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you should be good to go!
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Sweet! So does it require the update from the website to control the fermentation temps, or is the website simply collecting the temperature data captured by the X-10?
 

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Here is what I do, I chill my wort down to 62F with my plate chiller and set my fermentation chamber @ 64F. I let that go for 4-5 days (to ensure the growth phase for the yeast is over) then slowly ramp that up 2F every day until I hit 74F. I hold that temp for a few days (usually until around the 14 day mark) and then check my SG. If I'm where I want to be I cold crash for a few days then keg/bottle. While the fermentation chamber is @ 64F the internal temp of my beer never goes above 65F internally, that is with a temp probe for the fermentation chamber taped/insulated on the outside of my fermenter (sanke keg) and confirmed with a digital lab thermometer placed inside the wort.
 

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I have my controller probe duct taped to the side of my fermenter. I have tried using a thermowell, but unless you have a jacketed cooler I dont think its very responsive. So now its duct.tape. I feel as though it takes into account your ambient temp as well as your ferm temp this way. I keep an eye on my thermowell temp and it generally reads 2F lower than my controller so I up my controller 2F to compensate. The ambient air temp is generally near 10F cooler than my fermenter durring active fermentation.

If you have multiple batches in one fermenter they have different needs based on the given yeasts needs at their respective stages in fermintation, something to be aware of...

I also harvest and store my yeast in a frige. I make sure to add some wort to it the day before brew day and let it sit at room temp and airlock. Its good to liven em up, i've had incomplete fermentations otherwise.

Hope this helps.
-brad
 

scoundrel

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Sweet! So does it require the update from the website to control the fermentation temps, or is the website simply collecting the temperature data captured by the X-10?
Good question. Yes its an update from the site. When you buy the weatherdirect startup kit it comes with a gateway device that you add to your home network and it sends the info to the site. My script gets the updated info every five minutes from the site and an X-10 signal is sent over my house electrical lines. The X-10 module detects the signal and turns the freezer on or off depending on what was sent.

What's nice is that I have control to a tenth of a degree and I get more flexibility by stepping up temps. For example, the Tripel I just brewed Sunday started at 64 for the first 24 hours. If the temp crept to 64.5, I'd turn the fridge on and pull it back down. Then day 2 I stepped the temp to 65 with the same .5 threshold. Currently, its at 66 and will end up at 70 where it will hold.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Good question. Yes its an update from the site. When you buy the weatherdirect startup kit it comes with a gateway device that you add to your home network and it sends the info to the site. My script gets the updated info every five minutes from the site and an X-10 signal is sent over my house electrical lines. The X-10 module detects the signal and turns the freezer on or off depending on what was sent.

What's nice is that I have control to a tenth of a degree and I get more flexibility by stepping up temps. For example, the Tripel I just brewed Sunday started at 64 for the first 24 hours. If the temp crept to 64.5, I'd turn the fridge on and pull it back down. Then day 2 I stepped the temp to 65 with the same .5 threshold. Currently, its at 66 and will end up at 70 where it will hold.
I asked because I was curious as to whether five minutes was too long of a time interval during active fermentation to compensate for the temperature swings.

But it sounds like you have it down to a science.:mug:
 

scoundrel

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I asked because I was curious as to whether five minutes was too long of a time interval during active fermentation to compensate for the temperature swings.

But it sounds like you have it down to a science.:mug:

Sorry for misunderstanding :) At first I thought the same thing but liquid temps swing far less than air temps. At absolute most, the temp would swing by .2 of a degree over 5 minutes.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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Sorry for misunderstanding :) At first I thought the same thing but liquid temps swing far less than air temps. At absolute most, the temp would swing by .2 of a degree over 5 minutes.
Very well, and very interesting way of controlling and recording temp data.

Prost!
 

scoundrel

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Such nice responses from such well respected members is very humbling. Thanks guys. I've attached a small log. I wanted to show more but I had to keep it under the 19.5k pdf limit. Anyway, I was screwing around with the ambient temp but you can see that the probe for the liquid is nice and steady.

I'm in the process of writing a windows app that will create a fermentation schedule using weatherdirect and possibly other wifi or usb devices. I may even write it to grab the fermentation schedule from Beersmith. It will really depend on the demand. If people are satisfied with Johnson Controllers with the 4 degree variance than I won't bother. But if I see enough people who don't want to invest in serious automation but are looking to automate the fermentation process for under $100, then I'll spend the time developing it.

View attachment fermexample.pdf
 

copyright1997

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Such nice responses from such well respected members is very humbling. Thanks guys. I've attached a small log. I wanted to show more but I had to keep it under the 19.5k pdf limit. Anyway, I was screwing around with the ambient temp but you can see that the probe for the liquid is nice and steady.

I'm in the process of writing a windows app that will create a fermentation schedule using weatherdirect and possibly other wifi or usb devices. I may even write it to grab the fermentation schedule from Beersmith. It will really depend on the demand. If people are satisfied with Johnson Controllers with the 4 degree variance than I won't bother. But if I see enough people who don't want to invest in serious automation but are looking to automate the fermentation process for under $100, then I'll spend the time developing it.
Ok, the programmer in me is definately interested in this. Can you post links (not just the pictures) for the actual devices you've bought? In my case, I would like to not only allow for cooling but also alternatively for heating (as my ferementation is done in the basement and it gets too cold in the winter). So, I would need two x10 devices to be supported.

I don't have an issue writing my own code to screen scrape the site or to control an x10 device, but would be interested in anything you come up with!
 

scoundrel

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Ok, the programmer in me is definately interested in this. Can you post links (not just the pictures) for the actual devices you've bought? In my case, I would like to not only allow for cooling but also alternatively for heating (as my ferementation is done in the basement and it gets too cold in the winter). So, I would need two x10 devices to be supported.

I don't have an issue writing my own code to screen scrape the site or to control an x10 device, but would be interested in anything you come up with!
Adding the additional x-10 device is no problem for heating. I do it now with a light bulb.

Here are links to the X-10 site. They've been around since 1978 and it looks like their website is 30+ years old. It's laid out like a bad infomercial and the best deals are in packages.

The CM15K is what you care about in this package. The software is useless (at least when I bought mine). It sends the on/off commands over your power lines. I haven't found a way to buy it alone, but for $29 its no biggie.

X10 Million Dollar Promotion: ActiveHome Pro System Lowest Price Ever - NOW ONLY $29.99

Here is the appliance module package. It comes with 4 appliance modules (2 2-pin and 2 3-pin). It also comes with a mini controller you may never use, but the appliance modules are much more expensive sold separately.

X10 BEST EVER 5-Piece Mini Controller System - NOW ONLY $29.99

Here is the a link to the place I bought the weatherdirect stuff. You want the TX60U-SET. You can buy it from Amazon for $10 cheaper but this place delivered quick and nothing was missing.

WeatherDirect TX60U-SET Internet Wireless Temperature & Humidity Remote Monitor

Other than programming an application, that's it.
 

Schnitzengiggle

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scoundrel said:
I'm in the process of writing a windows app that will create a fermentation schedule using weatherdirect and possibly other wifi or usb devices. I may even write it to grab the fermentation schedule from Beersmith. It will really depend on the demand.
Using Beersmith in conjunction with your app would be sweet.

scoundrel said:
If people are satisfied with Johnson Controllers with the 4 degree variance than I won't bother. But if I see enough people who don't want to invest in serious automation but are looking to automate the fermentation process for under $100, then I'll spend the time developing it.
FWIW, I use Love temp controllers, and the one on my Fermi chamber has a 1 degree hystersis.

I have been really happy with it, but if I could achieve tighter control, and receive data to see exactly what was happening with my fermentation for under $100, that would be a good deal IMHO.
Perhaps start a new thread and use a poll to see what demand there might be.
 
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