Is there a temperature control wiki or FAQ?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

hanshananigan

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Richmond, VA
Hi All, I'm trying to get my primary fermentation to stay about 70F, but it sits at about 68F at night and on cool days. It's been 3 wks (hey, I've been busy!) and the the SG went from 1.035 to 1.022 but hasn't changed in about a week (I've swished a few times and put it in a warmer place, but it still sits between 68-70F.

I'm planning to buy a tub and aquarium heater to regulate the temperature. But before I do, I'm interested in seeing a comparison of the many heater methods that are mentioned in threads, in terms of cost, effectiveness, safety, etc. Does such a thing exist?
 
OP
H

hanshananigan

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Richmond, VA
I'll add this observation - although the brew belt looks like the simplest option, I do worry about localized heating that might not maintain a consistent temp throughout the fermenter. And, as I look around at stores online, they variably state that the brew belt will maintain temps of 73F, 75F and 75-80F. The products all look the same to me, so which is it? :confused:
 

Nugu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
143
Reaction score
1
Location
Nebraska
Position on the belt effects the actual temp (of the liquid). Think it was high on bucket = lower temp, low on bucket = higher temp.

I don't see why you want to warm it up though unless this is special high temp brew. Most yeasts have ideal operating ranges usually ranging from 60-75 (ale) or so I think. The consensus on the forums seems to be to try and aim for the low end of the spectrum since it prevents off flavors like the dreaded banana. :ban:

Also, what's the directions say your FG supposed to be?
 

Kungpaodog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
494
Reaction score
2
Location
Lafayette, CO
I had some similar problems with early batches, and I decided it was poor pitching rates. It is possible that you have a stuck fermentation for some other reason, but that's my $0.02. After what seemed like more than long enough (4 weeks) I bottled those batches and they were just a bit sweet. Look into starters (very easy, just need to plan ahead a bit) and that should help your attenuation. Of course, I never had one that started that low and ended that high.
 

Got Trub?

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Messages
1,538
Reaction score
12
Location
Washington State
I agree this is not a fermentation temperature problem. 68 is plenty warm enough for any yeast to do its job.

I use a grow mat with a temperature controller for warming up beer and wine fermentation in the winter.

GT
 

WBC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
2,164
Reaction score
10
Location
La Puente, CA
I find that a lot of my brewing friends ferment too high temperature and do not use enough yeast. I also find that they don't really know how hot the beer got during fermentation. I have my Ranco controller sensor in a stainless tube and it is in the fermenter liquid. This keeps overheating due to exothermic action under control and my beer stays in the fermenter because fermentation is not so violent. I always stay in the lower range of the yeast's fermentation temperature range and this alone has made the biggest improvement in all my ales. Try this and you will see a big difference too.
 
OP
H

hanshananigan

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Richmond, VA
Hi Folks, thanks for the suggestions! Here's answers to your questions:

1. Malt - Ironmaster Imperial Pale Ale
2. SG - I lost the label somehow (wifey cleaned?), so I don't know the expected finishing SG. I just know that what I have now is something like 3.5%, lower than it should be, and the beer is a bit too sweet.
3. Yeast - I assume the yeast came with the pack - the brew store takes the yeast pack out of the can and puts it in a fridge, then gives it to you when you buy it.
4.Temp - for some reason the beer store gives a sheet with malts that says temps should stay 70-74F, with lower temps causing yeast to inactivate.
5. I took great care in keeping everything sterilized and the wort temp correct!
6. here's a bit more info... I bought the kit around Thanksgiving and only got the brew started in Feb! I called the beer store and they said it shouldn't be a problem (the yeast and, what do you call it... starter malt?) were stored in a fridge.
7. did I miss anything?
 

Nugu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
Messages
143
Reaction score
1
Location
Nebraska
Ironmaster Imperial Pale Ale
These canned malt syrup kits are pre-hopped and include yeast. They will make 2 1/2 gallons on their own, or five gallons with the addition of corn sugar or extra malt. The corn sugar will not add any flavor or body to the beer, only alcohol. Sugar is a good idea if you want to make a light American or Mexican style ale. Adding three to four pounds of dry or syrup malt will help add extra body and flavor to your beer. Most cans require only a fifteen minute boil. You can add additional finishing hops to increase the aroma.
Did you make 5 or 2.5 gallons? If it's 5, I'm putting my bet on too little yeast. (Was the yeast dry? 5g or 11.5g?)
 

WBC

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
2,164
Reaction score
10
Location
La Puente, CA
If it had a krausen (foam head) it is most likely done. "Can" malt finishes with more unfermentables depending on who made it and how. This would tend to make it sweeter. If this is your first batch then chalk it up to experience. In the future you should ask about the yeast in any kit so you know what it is and ferment in the lower suggested range of temperature. This is very important because higher temperatures create more esters and can give your beer unwanted flavors if there are too much esters produced. Remember this fact that the yeast strain determines the fermentation temperature. Be sure to pitch enough yeast too.
 
OP
H

hanshananigan

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Richmond, VA
Finally done! SG < 1.010. I do think that there are some off-flavors, but like you said - chalk it up to experience, drink it, and move on. I think the warm temps last weekend plus a good swirl got things going again, because it's been bubbling this week. Now to find time for bottling!

And back to the original question... why are there no FAQ or wiki that pull together all the info or links to DIY and retail heaters/coolers?
 
OP
H

hanshananigan

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2008
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
Location
Richmond, VA
Forgot to give a wrap-up - 4 wks fermenting (for the last week I put the fermenting beer in front of a window to keep it at 72-76 during the day, which really got it going) and it took about 5 weeks in the bottle to get tasty! Thanks for the advice!
 
Top