What to expect when controlling temp?

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Incongruent

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I have brewed around 10 batches since starting HB this year. In the summer I keep my house cool at 68deg or so... but in the winter the furnace brings it to 70 or so. I decided this last batch I would actively control the temperature beyond leaving it at room temperature.

I have been keeping the fermenter in a laundry tub filled with cold water and swapping out 2L of frozen water bottles every 4-7 hrs or so. The temp fluctuates between 58 and 63. The airlock bubbled well for 3 days then activity ceased. Safale T58.

I've enjoyed all the brews I made so far. I can definitely taste the difference between each of them, but there has been a lot of similarity between them also I think because they're all made from the same pale malt mostly. But who knows, maybe the similar taste comes from fermenting took warm?

My questions are:
1. How long should I control temps this way? Until fermentation activity slows down? Or every day for the full 4 weeks to bottling day?
2. What difference in taste /quality should I expect from keeping the fermenter cooler?
3. What other differences should I look for.

It's a lot of work to control temps manually so I'm trying to test if it'll be worth the effort.
 

Cyclman

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For a lager, I would control the temperatures throughout fragmentation. For an ale, I think a week would be fine. I believe you will see a more predictable, quality flavor in beers that are temperature controlled.
 

C-Rider

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I either ferment in an apt refer or a freezer. Both have temp controls. I control for the same temp for 4 weeks. I don't keep checking. Just put it in there and go on w/my life. LOL That is for ales of course.
 

DaWhip

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Temp control made a huge difference for my beer. Really, I would have quit brewing if my beer continued to taste like my pre temp control days. Temp control made my beer go from drinkable (usually) to preferable. Speaking very generally, the yeast put out better flavors (or less bad flavors) at lower temps. The majority of these compounds are made the first few days, depending on a lot of factors, but in your situation, you can probably stop and let the temp rise freely to room temp once you see that fermentation has slowed a bit and get most of the benefits of temp control. Again, this is for ales.

I haven't personally used safale 58, but I see that it has a pretty wide "acceptable" range. In my experience, the lower you go within that range, the cleaner taste you will get from the yeast. On the flip side, the lower you go, the slower the yeast go. For example, I use Nottingham fairly regularly. If I use the top end of the range the ferment will finish really fast, but I just about have to dump the beer. If I use the bottom end of the range, it is one of my favorite yeast, but might take a week +. Given the descriptors on the safbrew 58 like "estery & peppery" you should still get those at lower temps, but not as much as you would at a higher temp.

I control the entire ferment, because that is how I'm set up, but I do start to raise the temp after fermentation slows down so that the yeast can work faster, clean up any mess they made (they will clean up some of the off flavors if given time and there aren't too much), and attenuate well before they floc out.
 

sky4meplease

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Along with your Pale Malt, the T58 is a likely cause of your similarities in flavor.
Try some different strains to add diversity to your beer.
Maintaining ideal fermentation temperatures for particular strains will ensure proper flavor contributions, attenuation levels and prevent undue stress should you decide to harvest and reuse yeast.
 

ScrewyBrewer

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It would be helpful to know your OG and FG so that the ABV, and the attenuation rate, of the yeast can be determined. It is possible that the 'taste' you mention can be related to a not fully complete fermentation. Another place to look is at your brewing water, to see if all chlorine and/or chloramide has been removed, this can also impact the flavor of your beer. Locking down your fermentation temperature will make a big difference though.
 
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Incongruent

Incongruent

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It would be helpful to know your OG and FG so that the ABV, and the attenuation rate, of the yeast can be determined. It is possible that the 'taste' you mention can be related to a not fully complete fermentation. Another place to look is at your brewing water, to see if all chlorine and/or chloramide has been removed, this can also impact the flavor of your beer. Locking down your fermentation temperature will make a big difference though.
In this case, og:1.068 and target fg:1.020. But it varies from brew to brew. OG may be off because I had hop an inch of hop matter in the sample (haven't figure out how to separate the hope matter from wort when taking og samples). I've not used t58 before. I was previously using Mauribrew Draught and S04 (American Ale)...
 

PADave

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Temp control is going to be the single biggest thing to improve your brews. The most important time is the first week for ales. I use a chest freezer with a controller, so I can control for the entire time in the fermenter. You can always keep your house a little cooler. ;)
 

Morrey

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PADAve makes a good point in that temp control is probably the single biggest improvement/advancement home brewers make other than going from extract to All Grain.

Like anything else, roller coaster temps all over the board only degrade the quality of your product. ATC devices used in conjunction with small fridges or freezers make temp control easy. No matter how attentive you are to changing frozen bottles, etc., you'll be hard pressed to keep temps in a really tightly controlled range that is needed for premium products.
 
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Incongruent

Incongruent

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I was thinking of keeping the fermenter in the garage (near freezing temperature) and using an atc with electric warmers to bring it up to 55 deg or so... all parts I have currently. But I don't have the equipment for a freezer / fridge atc currently.
 

DaWhip

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That should work. I'd test it with a bucket of water first to make sure your heater is keeping up. Put a box or something over it if needed to help maintain.
 

nobadays

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As has been mentioned - by all, temp control makes one of the biggest differences in brewing mediocre beer to really good beer. Another big improvement is going All Grain. You mention using the same "pale malt" so my guess is this is an LME??? If so, and you really want to brew good to great beer ( I may get flamed here) make the jump to All Grain.

I have brewed off and on for over 20 years using LME and DME / partial mash and steeped grains - and made some really good beers. I switched to BIAB last spring and, WOW! With controlled fermentation temps, proper yeast for the style and All Grain my beer took a major leeap forward.
 

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