Red Ale question

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thebbqguy

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I am planning my first home brew this weekend and ran into a question right off the bat.

I visited my local home brewing store today and picked up a nice starter kit and some supplies. I chose the Brewer's Best Red Ale recipe pack, but when I opened it after getting home tonight I noticed that it says to ferment between 68 and 72 degrees. The sales clerk did not explain this and I'm afraid my house is not maintained between 68 and 72 degrees (I live in Florida and this time of year it's more like 77-78 degrees with the air conditioning on.

Recognizing that 78 degrees is not ideal conditions, will I run into problems if I try it anyway?

What are the drawbacks / risks with fermenting an ale at higher than optimum temperatures?

I just took a temperature reading in an interior bedroom that is dark most of the time with only one small window and it's 77.7 degrees right now with my A/C thermostat set on 78 degrees.

Thanks for your help and assistance.

Brian
 

Iordz

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You can ferment at a hotter temperature. The biggest concern would be an alcoholic taste (not the good kind) because of fusels created by the yeast. There may be other flaws such as too much ester production, which will make the beer smell like "bananas" and other fruits, and maybe some phenols which have a variety of aromas from alcoholic to medicine-like. Overall your beer won't be bad, just not as good as you might have expected. But you want to get it right on the first attemp, so what you can do is put the fermenter in a bucket filled halfway with cool water, dip a towel in the water and wrap it around the fermenter. This form of "swamp" cooling will help the beer stay cooler than the ambient temperature and the beer will turn out much better.
 

DeathBrewer

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fusel alcohol also causes really unpleasant hangovers.

i'd definitely find a way to cool it. use the towel and bucket method for now, with a fan blowing at it. you may want to try some other methods later. I use the "Son-of-fermentation Chiller." If you google it, i believe its the first page to pop up (pdf)

Enjoy your first brew session!

:mug:
 

malkore

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and FYI, pretty much EVERY beer requires fermentation temperatures at or below 70F. Lagers are actually made at or below 50F.

I don't know how much you chatted up the LHBS staff, but do remember its not their duty to know that you're a new brewer and to dispense all their sage advice.
Plus some bigger brew shops hire cheap part-time staff that are NOT home brewers.
 
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thebbqguy

thebbqguy

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Malkore,

I didn't mean to sound like I was complaining about the sales clerk. I apologize if it came across that way in my previous post. Actually, she is the owner of the store and was very helpful. She took about 30 minutes to discuss the equipment kit and options for various recipes. The store has been there for 30 years. She probably just assumed that fermenting temperature was common knowledge.

As with anything new, it takes a little while to learn the in's and out's. I'm sure I'll get there eventually.
 

Yooper

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I made a cooler for my fermenter by using an ice cube cooler and making a new lid for the airlock to poke through. It has wheels on it so I can wheel it to where I want it and I put water in it and sometimes frozen water bottles to keep the temp where I need to. The pictures are in my gallery, if you're interested.
 

Bruscar

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Also, look around for a cheapy used refrigerator or a chest freezer. I found a small chest freezer, added a temp controller, and, voila! I can lager if I want, do my primary fermentation at one temp, secondary at another. I AM IN CONTROL!!:ban:
 
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thebbqguy

thebbqguy

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Thanks for the suggestion about using the cooler. That looks like a great idea.
 

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