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Temperature Issues

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foscojo

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Brew day involved way more stress than a "fun hobby" should entail. Oh, it started full of promise. I got up early and mowed the lawn to make the wife happy. Then started prepping to make MoreBeer's Pliny the Elder clone (LME, 5 gallon). I was so excited. And then...I started.
  • Well, turns out my gas grill's side burner was fine through the steep but just couldn't muster a full boil on 3 gallons.
  • Oh, and never waste your time trying to tape a baking thermometer to the rim of a steaming boil pot. Don't bother.
  • My backup, the glass top electric stove in the kitchen did it fine so long as the pot lid was at least halfway on
  • which meant no hop spider (lucky I had a 10-pack of muslin bags handy).
  • Of course, my kitchen sink is not threaded so back outside I go to hook up the immersion chiller...
  • which leaked because some [email protected]$$ bent the connector within the last 24 hours when I used it last.
  • AUTO-SIPHONS SUUUUUUCK!! (and by that I mean that they do not suck for more that 3 seconds) This resulted in me grabbing the double-mesh strainer from the StarSan bucket and just dumping the entire pot of wort into it over the fermenter bucket.
  • It goes without saying that the strainer completely clogged with hop-dust trub and Whirfloc gunk but I did it. It was finally in the fermenter.
And this is when I really hit the panic button because that's when I realized that I had unfortunately ignored my instinct to chill the wort directly to pitching temp of 70F and instead followed the directions that came with the recipe kit. You see the instructions said to stop chilling the ~2.5 gallons of wort at 130F and transfer it to the fermenter on top of 2 gallons of water then top up to 5 gallons even.

Well, what that got me was 5 gallons of 90F wort and no way quickly drop the last 20F short of dropping my immersion chiller into the bucket (in hindsight I should have tried that but didn't really think of it at the time). So I put it up on a filing cabinet in front of a window AC unit. It took 6 hours to get it down to 72F where it refused to go down any further. Pissed off by then I pitched the yeast and went to bed.

Now, I guess 2 degrees isn't that big of a deal. By morning the yeast was already rocking and have been creeping out of my bubbling airlock for 2 days now. So it seems like it is going to make it. Although the temperature went back up to 74F and is holding steady. Not really anything I can do about that though.

But I am curious about what this "high temperature pitching and fermenting" ordeal could mean at the end. Off flavors / aromas? A loaf of bread? Maybe a nice sourdough? Anyone know that the ramifications are?
 

Cool_Hand_Luke

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Some brew days just go like that. But just think back on all the innovative things you did to make it work in the end! Innovating to make it work, cleaning, innovating to make cleaning less work, and drinking beer are what make homebrewing what it is.

In regards to the elevated temp, for that style of beer I doubt you’ll be able to pick up on any off flavors caused by it. The hops will cover up any flaws from that. Also I bet your mesh bag trick did a heck of a job aerating the wort, which also helps the yeast be less stressed.

For really hoppy beers take care not to plunge the autosiphon too deep into the kettle otherwise it will clog up.

In any case, welcome and I wish you many more brew days! It gets easier.:mug:
 

Cptblamo

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I am getting back into brewing, on my second batch back I made a NB american wheat with US05. My new fermentation chamber relies on ice jugs. I'm in vegas my so it was a bit warm. Like 74. There is some sour apple peachy flavors. Try to keep it cool, but keep it on the yeast a bit extra to lower those off flavors. Also, all the extra hops should help cover up any off flavors.
 
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foscojo

foscojo

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Thanks. Yes, I've spent that 48 hours doing a post mortem. I've documented the biggest hurdles and how to eliminate them. Some stuff I can hucklebuck together but some I'll just have to throw money at (if my CFO will approve the purchase order).
 
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foscojo

foscojo

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I am getting back into brewing, on my second batch back I made a NB american wheat with US05. My new fermentation chamber relies on ice jugs. I'm in vegas my so it was a bit warm. Like 74. There is some sour apple peachy flavors. Try to keep it cool, but keep it on the yeast a bit extra to lower those off flavors. Also, all the extra hops should help cover up any off flavors.
Thanks. Funny you mentioned it. I designed an insulated fermentation chamber for 2L soda bottle ice blocks just today that will hold one fermenter (the bucket I'm using now but will also fit a 6.5G carboy or a Catalyst conical). I'm going to use one here of radiant barrier OSB and one sheet of foam insulation panel. The whole thing only costs about $30.
 

Cptblamo

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The ice jugs are very inefficient for adjusting temp, as that is my biggest problem. I am thinking about building a jacket to monitor and adjust temps more easily. I had about 30 batches under my belt, after about 3 years, I have had 3 back. The first 2 brew days back felt just like your brew day. At least u get some decent ipa at the end, even if it isnt quite pliny.
 

DVCNick

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Craigslist chest freezer and inkbird, I'm into the whole setup for about $150 and it's set it and forget it especially this time of year. I use it to finish cooling wort in the fermenter all the time. It will knock one carboy down from 110ish to 68 in 2-3 hours or so.
 
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foscojo

foscojo

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The ice jugs are very inefficient for adjusting temp, as that is my biggest problem. I am thinking about building a jacket to monitor and adjust temps more easily. I had about 30 batches under my belt, after about 3 years, I have had 3 back. The first 2 brew days back felt just like your brew day. At least u get some decent ipa at the end, even if it isnt quite pliny.
Yeah, ice isn't great. But in my case, I only need to drop it down a few degrees. And the box I'm going to build is well insulated and holds up to 16 two liter ice bottles. With the same source materials I could double that. And again, $30. LOL
 

Cptblamo

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Yeah, ice isn't great. But in my case, I only need to drop it down a few degrees. And the box I'm going to build is well insulated and holds up to 16 two liter ice bottles. With the same source materials I could double that. And again, $30. LOL
plainly.
Yeah, it's not the ice so much as the air. If u have space for a fan and a temp control that would make it more efficient.I have a fastferment conical with a jacket. My issue was my freezer could only hold so much. On my last batch I put all the ice I could and put an electric air pump in the opening to cold crash over night. First hour, dropped a couple degrees, 10 hours later all the ice melted and the fermentor was 10 degrees warmer. I guess the pump got pretty hot over night. Beer is fine though, wont do that again.
 
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foscojo

foscojo

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I wasn't even thinking of trying to cold crash it, just hold down the temperature during fermentation. Right now I just have the bucket in my closet with standalone AC unit on full blast and I still can't get it to drop below 74F.

When I got up this morning my wife asked me why I was putting on long sweats to walk across the hall. I said" because my office is about 58F with a stiff breeze."
 

Cptblamo

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I wasn't even thinking of trying to cold crash it, just hold down the temperature during fermentation. Right now I just have the bucket in my closet with standalone AC unit on full blast and I still can't get it to drop below 74
I wouldnt get it colder than 72 at this point. I think temp inconsistencies can stress yeast out. But best of luck. Maybe I will post some pics of my "jacket" when its done.
 

Gozie Boy

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Reminds me of when I was a real nooby brewer several years ago trying to make my first batch while living in a certain Middle East country. A kitchen job, with only the tools at hand -- certainly no LHBS! I thought I had it all well planned, even overplanned (if that is ever possible) as it was my first batch. When it came time to get my wort down from boiling to pitch temp, I had my water bath and plenty of 2L ice jugs all ready for the task. But then I realized that my cold water bath was not getting it down nearly enough, and that all my ice (including 2-3 spares bottles beyond what I had calculated would be needed) was not going to get me there. Like a dufus, I knew I had warm "cold" water and just made the assumption it was around 85 - 90 degF. Well, I measured it and it was actually 108F! (Which is why you never needed any "hot" water for a shower!). I dumped in every frozen bag of veggies and anything else I could get my hands on into the bath. I was stuck at 90+F, and it seemed like nothing was going to get this wort much cooler for many hours.

Then, knowing that the humidity was about 5%, I threw an old T-shirt on the carboy, soaked it and placed a fan in front of it. (Think super swamp cooler). Every hour or so I re-soaked the shirt, and in about 3-4 hours the temp had dropped to about 68F. I later learned that this idea was far from original thinking, but it was to me, and so I was delighted at salvaging the effort and making what was perhaps "my best beer ever" (it probably wasn't, but being my "first born" and first beer in months, it effectively was).

Circumstances sometimes force you to go MacGyver, which has certainly led to many interesting innovations and practices!
 
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