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Fermentation temp to high

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brewcephus

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So, whats the worst thing you that can happen with fermenting too high?

I brewed my first batch over the weekend and everything went great through the brew process. A buddy brought his wort chiller over and we cooled everything down and transferred to the primary. oxygenated and pitched at about 74 degrees.

Went out that night and when I came home I was just eager to check on it and man was it ever fermenting. sounded like an aquarium bubbler going through the air lock and all the yeasties were stirring the wort around in the fermenter.

Well, I checked Sunday morning about 9am and nothing was happening. I checked my fermometer and there was no indication to temperature, which tells me that it was above 80 degrees.

So i put the fermenter in the bath tub in an ice bath and brought the Temp down to around 64 degrees.


I feel like the beer will be fine, but was just wondering how bad its going to taste. Being my first batch I'm not that concerned with making a mistake, just sad that after all the research I did about how important stable fermentation temps are and that was the part that I screwed up :(

Thanks for you help.

RDWHAHB!!
 

bja

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Hard to say with the little information you provided.

IMO, pitching at 74 was your first mistake. I pitch no warmer than 60 (usually 52-56) and depending on the strain let it rise to 60-65.
 

duboman

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Good to know you got the temperature down as 80 would have been way too high. It is possible you got some high esters going which would produce an overly fruity type of off flavor. Leave the beer alone for at least 10 days and keep the temp stable where it is. Note, things may slow a bit as the yeast may have shocked a bit from the temp drop but they'll keep working for you.

At day ten take a gravity reading and taste to see where the beer is at. If it tastes fine then monitor to confirm FG. If it tastes a little off leave it go another 2 weeks to help clean up the off flavors and clear.
 

unionrdr

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It sounds like you'll get some off flavors. But cooling it down that quick will've minimized them. Check it at 2 weeks to see if it's done yet. When you get a stable FG,give it another 3-7 days on average to clean up & settle out clear or slightly misty.
 

bja

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Good to know you got the temperature down as 80 would have been way too high.
It sounds like you'll get some off flavors. But cooling it down that quick will've minimized them.
Really? He said that activity had stopped BEFORE he cooled it down, which indicates that the bulk of fermentation had already occurred.
 

F250

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Really? He said that activity had stopped BEFORE he cooled it down, which indicates that the bulk of fermentation had already occurred.
Yeah, whatever was going to occur at those temps probably has. My biggest concern would be fusils. :eek:

Rick
 

duboman

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Really? He said that activity had stopped BEFORE he cooled it down, which indicates that the bulk of fermentation had already occurred.
Appears I got his timeline wrong as it wasn't really clear...........standing quite corrected, DOH!
 

unionrdr

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While most off flavors do occure during initial fermentation,lowering the temps when he did would help minimize making them worse. Just because initial fermentation is over,the brew isn't out of the woods yet. Ime,things can still get worse after initial fermentation,since it's not done fermenting yet. Initial fermentation doesn't take care of 3/4's of the fermentation or anything. It can,but not always ime.
 

bja

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While most off flavors do occure during initial fermentation,lowering the temps when he did would help minimize making them worse. Just because initial fermentation is over,the brew isn't out of the woods yet. Ime,things can still get worse after initial fermentation,since it's not done fermenting yet. Initial fermentation doesn't take care of 3/4's of the fermentation or anything. It can,but not always ime.
My head hurts from reading this post. Regardless, since "most off flavors do occur during initial fermentation" isn't the rest moot at this point?
 

unionrdr

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After initial fermentation forms them,in my experience continued high temps just make them more pronounced. Lowering the temps after initial fermentation the way he did would start to reverse the process.
 

bja

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After initial fermentation forms them,in my experience continued high temps just make them more pronounced. Lowering the temps after initial fermentation the way he did would start to reverse the process.
IME, there is no reversing this process.
 

unionrdr

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If it's not too pronounced,it can be done. Did it on my first two batches. Time & patience can go a long way. If your's didn't clean up,you either had a bad case of them,or you didn't give it time. The yeast feeds on these off flavor compounds after the sugar is gone. They settle to the bottom as they finish eating this stuff. I've even noticed a bit more clean up in the bottles,since those first two weren't clear when bottled. It took 3-4 weeks.
 
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brewcephus

brewcephus

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thanks for the replies.

As I stated, it's going to continue sitting on the ice bath for a while and I will rack to the secondary in a couple of weeks. I will be building my fermentation chiller before my next batch goes to brew.

I'll let ya know how it all comes out.
 

kombat

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Expect a strong fusel alcohol flavour. It's going to taste like someone dumped nail polish remover in your beer. Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the off-flavours that time cannot fix. I've had beers age for literally 5 years and the taste was still overpowering. They don't go away.

We've all made similar mistakes, the key is to not give up. Taste your beer anyway, so you'll recognize the taste in the future. Now you know that fermentation temperature is probably the single most important factor in brewing great beer. If you're using ale yeast, pitch at 65, use a water bath, and maintain a temperature in the low-to-mid 60's during those crucial first few days of fermentation.
 

unionrdr

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^^Not quite. Many off flavors can be lowered below the threshold of human senses. Fusels being the easiest one. It's produced in small quantities like some of the others in a normal fermentation. but the yeast starts cleaning them up when the sugars are gone. I've noticed some of it cleaning up in the bottles too. Especially if the beer is a bit misty going into them. So if the off flavors aren't the only thing you taste,then there's a good chance the yeast can clean them up. I've done it,so I know anyone else can. Anyone saying it can't be done is a noob or in denial to pick arguments.
 

Ricochetbrew

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unionrdr said:
^^Not quite. Many off flavors can be lowered below the threshold of human senses. Fusels being the easiest one. It's produced in small quantities like some of the others in a normal fermentation. but the yeast starts cleaning them up when the sugars are gone. I've noticed some of it cleaning up in the bottles too. Especially if the beer is a bit misty going into them. So if the off flavors aren't the only thing you taste,then there's a good chance the yeast can clean them up. I've done it,so I know anyone else can. Anyone saying it can't be done is a noob or in denial to pick arguments.
kombat said:
Expect a strong fusel alcohol flavour. It's going to taste like someone dumped nail polish remover in your beer. Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the off-flavours that time cannot fix. I've had beers age for literally 5 years and the taste was still overpowering. They don't go away.

We've all made similar mistakes, the key is to not give up. Taste your beer anyway, so you'll recognize the taste in the future. Now you know that fermentation temperature is probably the single most important factor in brewing great beer. If you're using ale yeast, pitch at 65, use a water bath, and maintain a temperature in the low-to-mid 60's during those crucial first few days of fermentation.
In many cases fusel alcohol will esterify during secondary fermentation. There is a much higher likelihood that the beer will have a banana flavor to it over the solvent like fusel flavor (at least after the beer has aged). Additionally I have had beers fermented in the summer at high temps before I had a means of cooling past normal indoor temp. In many cases once the beer had been in bottles 4+ weeks the off flavors were eliminated. I agree with unionrdr. Yeast can and does eliminate off flavor in beer. It's the old adage that time heals sick beer. All in all this is far from a worse case scenario and is why diligent note taking is important. Note what you did so that you can see what effect it has on your beer. Then you can learn from the mistake and improve on future brews.
Good luck on future brews.
Ryan.
 

eyemind79

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I'm very new to brewing too and just wanted to give my vote of confidence to you. I suggest letting it sit as the others have. My third brew in, I miscalculated my pitch temp too. Almost the same situation.

First taste after letting it sit 10 days was horrible. It was strong banana/artificial sweetener/bubble gum scent and flavor that was completely offensive. It was so overwhelming I was really bummed. I scoured the internet (this forum included) and let it ride out. Three weeks later it was much better! Very drinkable and actually quite delicious. I bottled it this weekend.

Good luck! I think you'll be fine. In a few days sneak a taste after a gravity reading and keep us posted. I'm starting to learn that even if you may make mistakes, beer is like a good friend - very forgiving if ya just give it some time.
 
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brewcephus

brewcephus

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update.

I sat in the room with the fermenter last night and the smell is somewhat fruity and sweet. While sitting there I heard activity in the air lock, which tells me that the yeast is still active and working, so that is a plus.

Again, thanks for all the replies and reassurances. I'm sure everything will be fine and looking forward to drinking my first batch of home brew, even if it isn't too great for several months :)
 

cluckk

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The fruitiness is a yeast byproduct and a warm fermentation increases it. Much of it will age out. I see that you are in the South (Mississippi) so the ambient temps are probably not that low. Being in San Antonio I understand how hard it can be to keep temps down on an active fermentation. I tried everything and finally just settled on putting my carboys in a water bath (a large grey tub from Wallyworld that I fill with water. It stays a few degrees below ambient and when I need to push it down further I use frozen milk jugs that I float in the water. With my current container I can put two carboys in there. I'll attach a file showing it. I keep everything in the closet during seasons when temps swing pretty wide here. During the fall and spring when temps are fairly stable and moderate I keep it in the garage. I used to judge by the weather whether to put a carboy in or not. Mow everything spends at least one week in the water bath.

2013-01-15 14.24.43.jpg
 
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brewcephus

brewcephus

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Yes, in South Mississippi. Mine has been on a water bath for almost 48 hours now and is sitting at 64 degrees.

I am looking into building a ferm chamber before I brew my next batch, which will be in 2 weeks. I've seen lots of different DIYs on how to do it and they are fairly inexpensive to build and even easier to maintain as far as keeping the carboy at a stable temperature.

I'm sure that will make my wife extremely happy, then I can get my carboy out of the bathtub in the front bathroom :)
 

cluckk

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Tell her in Mississippi you only need the tub once a week--sorry but I couldn't resist that one.
 
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brewcephus

brewcephus

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Tell her in Mississippi you only need the tub once a week--sorry but I couldn't resist that one.
lol, that is pretty funny. We actually don't use that bathtub at all. We have a master bathroom where we bathe, so the front bathroom is for guests and considering we don't have many overnight guests, the bathtub has not been used for quite some time. Perfect place for my swamp cooler ;)


Sorry to resurrect this old post, but wanted to give an update.

I took a gravity reading yesterday, after patiently waiting these last 2 weeks. Beer turned out ok, FG was about 1.020 which puts the abv somewhere around 5%. Not too bad and it tastes pretty darn good too. Going to rack to the secondary tonight and let it sit for another week or 2.

Thanks all.
 

cluckk

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unionrdr said:
Just make sure the FG is stable before racking.
You can rack to secondary even if it has a few more points to shave. The yeast in suspension will go right along working on it. I do it all the time. You only need the gravity to stabilize before you bottle.
 
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