Avoiding the bananas...

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Will a beer develop that strong banana flavor from too high of a fermentation temperature if it's left in secondary at higher temperature (mid 80's) for a couple of weeks?

The reason I ask is that I am going to be out of town for a couple of weeks and unable to add ice/water to my garbage can to maintain a good fermentation temperature. I have about two weeks before I leave, enough time for primary fermentation to complete at the correct temperature and to rack the brew to secondary but once in secondary I'll be gone and the temperature will be at the mercy of mother nature.

Is it enough to avoid the banana flavor by keeping the temperature down during the primary fermentation alone, or does it have to kept cool (low 60's F) through the entire process? (Primary to secondary and then the bottle conditioning time)

The brew would be an irish stout DME kit, and uses Safale US-05 yeast.

Any advice on your own experiences with higher temperature banana flavored beer (yuck) would be appreciated.
 

cowstick

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The Banana flavor you are talking about is a characteristic of Belgiun yeast strains. If you can put your fermenter in the bath tub or utillity sink and fill it with water it should keep the temps down. Add some ice before you leave
 

cowstick

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I kinda skimmed over what you wrote the first time. I think if you keep it in the water it should still stay a little cooler than the ambient air. Leave a fan on it to keep the cooler air blowing on it.
 

nealf

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Those fruity esters you are talking about (banana type flavor/aromas) are generally created in the initial stages of fermentation, probably the first 4 to 5 days. So, if it warms up a little near the end it shouldn't be a problem; but, I would definitely try to keep it below 75.
 

Clonefarmer

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Will a beer develop that strong banana flavor from too high of a fermentation temperature if it's left in secondary at higher temperature (mid 80's) for a couple of weeks?

The reason I ask is that I am going to be out of town for a couple of weeks and unable to add ice/water to my garbage can to maintain a good fermentation temperature. I have about two weeks before I leave, enough time for primary fermentation to complete at the correct temperature and to rack the brew to secondary but once in secondary I'll be gone and the temperature will be at the mercy of mother nature.

Is it enough to avoid the banana flavor by keeping the temperature down during the primary fermentation alone, or does it have to kept cool (low 60's F) through the entire process? (Primary to secondary and then the bottle conditioning time)

The brew would be an irish stout DME kit, and uses Safale US-05 yeast.

Any advice on your own experiences with higher temperature banana flavored beer (yuck) would be appreciated.
The banana comes from only a select few liquid yeast strains like Hefeweizen. The strains that produce banana notes will usually say so in their description.

US-05 ferments very clean so you shouldn't have to worry about banana. Still ferment it on the cool end to prevent other off flavors.
 
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Those fruity esters you are talking about (banana type flavor/aromas) are generally created in the initial stages of fermentation, probably the first 4 to 5 days. So, if it warms up a little near the end it shouldn't be a problem; but, I would definitely try to keep it below 75.
You, Sir, are a lifesaver for an over-excited inexperienced "n00b". Thank you very much.

My first batch was overheated during the fermentation and came out with quite an Estery/Banana-like smell. I'd hate to repeat it but I'm dying to get another brew going and to let it do it's thing while I'm gone is all the better so I won't be thinking/worrying about it.

IIRC, the temperature on my first batch ranged from 45-85 F on a daily basis. If estery/banana smell is a feature in some beers, I would highly recommend sticking to that schedule.

(And for my fellow super-n00bs)
The beer from that batch was boiled just about a month ago and it's starting to taste alright. Not great, but it's not undrinkable. And if it takes me a couple weeks to finish that five gallon batch, I'll bet that the last one is going to taste pretty good.
 

viking999

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The banana comes from only a select few liquid yeast strains like Hefeweizen. The strains that produce banana notes will usually say so in their description.

US-05 ferments very clean so you shouldn't have to worry about banana. Still ferment it on the cool end to prevent other off flavors.
That's not strictly true. I got extreme banana flavor on my first batch for which I used dry Nottingham. I also got some banana flavor on my second batch with some White Labs American ale yeast (not sure the exact one). Both of those batches fermented at too high of a temperature, a problem that I have since fixed.
 

ifishsum

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I've never got banana flavor from US-05, and some of my early batches were definitely done warmer than they should have been. IMO It's probably the most forgiving strain of yeast as far as temps are concerned.

Regardless of yeast strain, the first 4-5 days are the most important for temperature control. If it gets too warm after that it generally doesn't seem to affect the flavor profile, at least from my experience. Temperature during the lag phase is critical if you're looking for clean flavor, and I usually won't pitch yeast into wort over 65* F (62 is better) because many of the yeast esters are created during that time. It's also much easier to keep fermentation temps down if you start with a cooler wort.
 

Shooter

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I'm hoping that the first 4-5 days is the key, because I've got a two gallon Mr. Beer batch, five gallons of sweet stout and three gallons of cider all in various stages of fermentation at the moment and the temperatures in Northern California should be hitting in the 90+ range today. However, the youngest brew of the bunch is eight days old and finished its active fermentation a couple days ago. I put a bucket of ice water with a fan blowing across it aimed directly at the three fermenters and switched on the ceiling fan to keep the air moving. Unfortunatly that's about the best I could do with my situation. I guess I'll have to let the SWMBO know that I'm just going to have to buy a little fridge to turn into a full time fermenter. Looks like I'll be able to do lagers if I go that route. Sigh, it is so rough to be me right now! :D
 

irasnyd

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I'm hoping that the first 4-5 days is the key, because I've got a two gallon Mr. Beer batch, five gallons of sweet stout and three gallons of cider all in various stages of fermentation at the moment and the temperatures in Northern California should be hitting in the 90+ range today. However, the youngest brew of the bunch is eight days old and finished its active fermentation a couple days ago. I put a bucket of ice water with a fan blowing across it aimed directly at the three fermenters and switched on the ceiling fan to keep the air moving. Unfortunatly that's about the best I could do with my situation. I guess I'll have to let the SWMBO know that I'm just going to have to buy a little fridge to turn into a full time fermenter. Looks like I'll be able to do lagers if I go that route. Sigh, it is so rough to be me right now! :D
An easy and cheap thing to do is go to the auto parts store, and buy a plastic oil pan big enough for your fermenter. Fill it with water. Wrap an old tshirt around your fermenter to wick up the water. Put a fan on it to increase the cooling if you need to. My beer has been pretty solid at 63F for 3 days now, even though it is 80ish in my house.
 

Shooter

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An easy and cheap thing to do is go to the auto parts store, and buy a plastic oil pan big enough for your fermenter. Fill it with water. Wrap an old tshirt around your fermenter to wick up the water. Put a fan on it to increase the cooling if you need to. My beer has been pretty solid at 63F for 3 days now, even though it is 80ish in my house.
That's a good idea, but don't let SWMBO hear it as it will totally ruin my plans for convincing her that a dedicated fermentation fridge is the ONLY solution!! ;)
 
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