Keeping a beer in secondary at 90+ degrees?

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tyrub42

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Hi everyone,

I have a milk stout going now. I want to bottle half as is and transfer the other half to secondary and condition on cacao nibs (already soaking in vodka) and freshly toasted coconut. My apartment is ungodly hot, currently sitting at 95 degrees f (35c). Is it ok to leave it at ambient to condition for a week, or will that be likely to negatively impact flavor?

Plan b would be to try to fit the secondary vessel into my bottle conditioning chamber, but it'll be tight for sure, so if it won't impact the beer I'll just leave it at room temp.

This would be after two weeks in primary, and then I'll add fresh yeast to that half when I bottle it.

Just wondering what your thoughts are on this from anyone who does a lot of secondary conditioning (I never typically do secondary except for long-term aging with brett)

Thanks!
Tyler
 

RM-MN

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I have a milk stout going now. I want to bottle half as is and transfer the other half to secondary and condition on cacao nibs (already soaking in vodka) and freshly toasted coconut. My apartment is ungodly hot, currently sitting at 95 degrees f (35c). Is it ok to leave it at ambient to condition for a week, or will that be likely to negatively impact flavor?
I'd be more concerned about the transfer to secondary of only part of the beer. Unless you have a small carboy so that the half batch fills it to the neck you have a much higher chance of oxidation and infection. The critical time for off flavors is early in the fermentation. Once fermented not much happens.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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I'd be more concerned about the transfer to secondary of only part of the beer. Unless you have a small carboy so that the half batch fills it to the neck you have a much higher chance of oxidation and infection. The critical time for off flavors is early in the fermentation. Once fermented not much happens.
Thanks for the reply, those are good things to think about.

I was planning to transfer to a co2 purged fermenter (not liquid purged, though). Was thinking that plus the off-gassing would keep it from getting too much oxidative stress.

I do have some smaller containers (old 19-liter water dispenser bottles), but they're not proper PET, so I assumed that using a regular fermenter would be a better choice. That would end up being roughly half full, though (16 liters in a 30-liter PET fermenter). I didn't think that was a problem but now I'm not so sure 😅. Do you think purging it would be enough to take those risks away?
 

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The purging will probably be fine. The main point is to keep out as much oxygen as possible as most of the infections need that to propagate.
 

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I was planning to transfer to a co2 purged fermenter (not liquid purged, though). Was thinking that plus the off-gassing would keep it from getting too much oxidative stress.
You have access to CO2? Do you have kegs?
If so, liquid pre-purged kegs make ideal secondaries.

Now flushing a container (carboy) that's filled with air using CO2 is not a very efficient process. You'd waste a lot of CO2, while the O2 content remains above acceptable levels for beer. Even if you can rack keeping air exposure to a bare minimum, and flush the headspace again, a few ppm of O2 in your beer is enough to cause oxidation.

Large headspaces in secondaries are never good. Outgassing is not very reliable, especially if the beer is warm already, there's not much CO2 left in there.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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You have access to CO2? Do you have kegs?
If so, liquid pre-purged kegs make ideal secondaries.

Now flushing a container (carboy) that's filled with air using CO2 is not a very efficient process. You'd waste a lot of CO2, while the O2 content remains above acceptable levels for beer. Even if you can rack keeping air exposure to a bare minimum, and flush the headspace again, a few ppm of O2 in your beer is enough to cause oxidation.

Large headspaces in secondaries are never good. Outgassing is not very reliable, especially if the beer is warm already, there's not much CO2 left in there.
I don't have useable kegs unfortunately (have a few but haven't refurbished them yet). So the downside here is that it seems my biggest issue is present whether the beer is at 75 degrees or 95 degrees... giving it as good of a purge as possible and allowing it to warm (it'll ferment at 70 and the crash to 35 before transfer) will hopefully be enough. Unless you think the smaller-but-not-PET container is a better bet?
 

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Unless you think the smaller-but-not-PET container is a better bet?
Aside from many plastics not being food grade, they're also O2 permeable. So check the specs!

PET is a good oxygen barrier, preventing your beer from oxidizing. Probably the better solution together with a decent CO2 headspace flush. Or better yet, a liquid pre-purge, using double drilled stopper (or a carboy hood) and a racking cane as a dip tube. Be inventive, using the equipment you have or can get your hands on to the fullest!

But... what's up with those kegs? Fix em! What do they need, just new o-rings?
I would have a real hard time brewing without kegs.

If CO2 is not cheap you can purge kegs with fermentation CO2.

Maybe get a 2nd or 3rd fridge or use one to build a larger cooler to keep them temp controlled. I'm not sure how well beer fares when stored at 90F.
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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Aside from many plastics not being food grade, they're also O2 permeable. So check the specs!

PET is a good oxygen barrier, preventing your beer from oxidizing. Probably the better solution together with a decent CO2 headspace flush. Or better yet, a liquid pre-purge, using double drilled stopper (or a carboy hood) and a racking cane as a dip tube. Be inventive, using the equipment you have or can get your hands on to the fullest!

But... what's up with those kegs? Fix em! What do they need, just new o-rings?
I would have a real hard time brewing without kegs.

If CO2 is not cheap you can purge kegs with fermentation CO2.

Maybe get a 2nd or 3rd fridge or use one to build a larger cooler to keep them temp controlled. I'm not sure how well beer fares when stored at 90F.
I'm thinking about it, but I already have a large top loader that I use for fermenting, bottle conditioning, and storage, and a huge fridge/freezer that is 90 percent just beer/hops/yeast. Trying to make due with just those. I don't end up storing anything at room temp in the summer except some Brett beers which seem to do well. I generally ferment two batches (average 28 liters each) at a time, then bottle condition them in the same chamber, then chill it down to serving temp until enough gets consumed to fit in the main fridge (at which point I can brew again). A bit of a PITA to cram everything in the main fridge when I want to brew again but not too bad since I live alone (so no one minds if it's a mess in there haha).

Anyway, I'll report back on the results of the room temperature aging. Hoping for some delicious coconut chocolate milk stout action 🔥🔥🔥
 

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You seem to be doing a good job balancing the needs and contents of your freezers and fridges.

[...] huge fridge/freezer that is 90 percent just beer/hops/yeast.
Just in case, hops keep better when (deep) frozen, in purged mylar or multilayer O2-barrier bags (they're usually supplied that way, here). After pouring/shaking out the quantity needed, I purge the opened hop bags with CO2 a few times to remove air, then squeeze all gas out while rolling the flap or sealing the bag. They're firm, solid, not rattling with pellets.

Or you could vacuum seal them instead, but you'd need a vacuum sealer or a large syringe and some good tape.
 

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The purging will probably be fine. The main point is to keep out as much oxygen as possible as most of the infections need that to propagate.
Where is that coming from? With the exception of Pichia and Acetobacter all beer spoilage organisms are anaerobic (some even obligate, such as lacto and pedio).
The real issue with oxygen is of course cold-side oxidation.
 

RM-MN

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Where is that coming from? With the exception of Pichia and Acetobacter all beer spoilage organisms are anaerobic (some even obligate, such as lacto and pedio).
The real issue with oxygen is of course cold-side oxidation.
Aren't those two enough?
 

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Considering they're the least common I would go with no?
There are at least 26 more that will thrive under anaerobic conditions (some of those only under anaerobic conditions) therefore I think that telling someone that their beer is unlikely to become infected because most of the beer spoilage bacteria (2 out of 28 is most?) need oxygen to work is just plain wrong and would instill a false sense of confidence, wouldn't you agree?
 
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tyrub42

tyrub42

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You seem to be doing a good job balancing the needs and contents of your freezers and fridges.


Just in case, hops keep better when (deep) frozen, in purged mylar or multilayer O2-barrier bags (they're usually supplied that way, here). After pouring/shaking out the quantity needed, I purge the opened hop bags with CO2 a few times to remove air, then squeeze all gas out while rolling the flap or sealing the bag. They're firm, solid, not rattling with pellets.

Or you could vacuum seal them instead, but you'd need a vacuum sealer or a large syringe and some good tape.
Got a vac sealer. I started out as cheaply as possible but I view a vac sealer and a temperature controlled fermentation chamber to be necessities since I brew so many hoppy styles. As far as how deeply they're frozen, just a regular freezer I'm afraid, but they stay fresh enough for dry hopping for 2-3 years in there when vac sealed. I think we all probably have a wish list a mile long for equipment we'd have in a perfect world, but I'm thankful for having a setup that works well enough at least 😊
 
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tyrub42

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Considering they're the least common I would go with no?
There are at least 26 more that will thrive under anaerobic conditions (some of those only under anaerobic conditions) therefore I think that telling someone that their beer is unlikely to become infected because most of the beer spoilage bacteria (2 out of 28 is most?) need oxygen to work is just plain wrong and would instill a false sense of confidence, wouldn't you agree?
No worries, whether aerobic or anaerobic, the best way to keep my beer safe is undoubtedly good sanitary practices when brewing and transferring. Oxidation is definitely something I'd prefer to keep out as well so I be purging the f*#k out of the secondary 😂😂😂
 
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Quick update: it ended up being fairly easy to fit the secondary fermenter into the conditioning chamber, so it's sitting at 75 degrees with the bottles. Hopefully the co2 purging is enough to keep oxidation in check. Will report back in a week or two with results 🍻
 
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