Author Topic: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?  (Read 1775 times)

Offline dllipe

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How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« on: January 12, 2012, 01:21:31 PM »
I live in Colorado and have a basement where I ferment.  I've only done ale's so far and the basement temp always stays within the tempreture margin of the yeast, however, I know it fluctuates throughout the day.  Overall I've been pleased with the beers we've made.

I have an extra fridge that I can use for a fermentation chamber with the purchase of a temp control switch and I'm wondering if I can expect an improvement by fermenting my beers in there knowing I can hit and hold a specific temp.  Of course I'll have to use it for lagers but I was wondering if it would benefit the ales too.

Thanks.

FYI, my wife surprised me with a 4 tap keezer for christams with co2 and nitro capabilities so I really need to get to work filling up some kegs.

I don't drink a lot but I do drink frequently.

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 01:32:28 PM »
I don't think small fluctuations are as important as what the average temp in your basement is.  62-67 is probably ideal for most. If your basement is much warmer and you want to go the chamber route, your beer will definately improve. Sounds like you already have the fridge, so it may be a no-brainer. Also make sure that you cool the wort to that temp before pitching, don't pitch in the high 70's or 80's and let it cool.

Your wife is cool. Mine said 'Let's give ourselves a kegerator for Christmas', so she is also cool.
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Offline weithman5

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 01:50:29 PM »
small ambient variations up and down throughout the day will do little to change the temperature of the fermenting wort.  the specific heat capacity especially with a heat source within (yeast) is too high to change quickly.  as long as the ambient temp goes up and down within a decent range you won't notice much change. if it slowly creeps up steadily over several days, this will cause a bit of increase in the ferment
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 05:26:56 PM »
If you're worried, you can normalize it a bit by building a cheap fermentation chamber, basically a box .  It won't be as subject to fluctuations over a short time scale.  No need for any temp control.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline a10t2

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 06:05:15 PM »
If you're worried, you can normalize it a bit by building a cheap fermentation chamber, basically a box .  It won't be as subject to fluctuations over a short time scale.  No need for any temp control.

Or put the fermenter in a tub of water. That will even out the temperature swings, but also knock a few degrees off. So it might be too cool, depending on the ambient temperatures.

Just out of curiosity, where do you live that you can ferment in the basement during the winter?
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Offline dllipe

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 11:38:59 AM »
If you're worried, you can normalize it a bit by building a cheap fermentation chamber, basically a box .  It won't be as subject to fluctuations over a short time scale.  No need for any temp control.

Or put the fermenter in a tub of water. That will even out the temperature swings, but also knock a few degrees off. So it might be too cool, depending on the ambient temperatures.

Just out of curiosity, where do you live that you can ferment in the basement during the winter?

I'm in Boulder.  My house is only a few years old and has great insulation.  My basement is unfinished and the furnace is down there so it is probably a few degrees warmer in the winter than summer as there are AC vents as well that add cool air.
I don't drink a lot but I do drink frequently.

Offline dllipe

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 11:42:37 AM »
If you're worried, you can normalize it a bit by building a cheap fermentation chamber, basically a box .  It won't be as subject to fluctuations over a short time scale.  No need for any temp control.

But I like buying new stuff :)
I don't drink a lot but I do drink frequently.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 12:44:46 PM »
If you're worried, you can normalize it a bit by building a cheap fermentation chamber, basically a box .  It won't be as subject to fluctuations over a short time scale.  No need for any temp control.

But I like buying new stuff :)
Then do it! :)  Buy a nice insulated fridge or a glycol chilled conical.  You don't need it, but need is not the same as want.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline davidgzach

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 07:18:46 AM »
If you're worried, you can normalize it a bit by building a cheap fermentation chamber, basically a box .  It won't be as subject to fluctuations over a short time scale.  No need for any temp control.

But I like buying new stuff :)

Can't make a lager without some form of refrigeration!  Buying beer stuff is fun!
Dave Zach

Offline denny

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2012, 09:57:11 AM »
Can't make a lager without some form of refrigeration!  Buying beer stuff is fun!

I make lagers without mechanical refrigeration by fermenting in my garage in the winter.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2012, 10:35:39 AM »
I'm in Boulder.  My house is only a few years old and has great insulation.

Gotcha. I've never lived anywhere else in CO, so I wasn't sure what would be normal. OTOH, it is nice being able to brew lagers in the summer. ;)
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2012, 03:25:39 PM »
Can't make a lager without some form of refrigeration!  Buying beer stuff is fun!

I make lagers without mechanical refrigeration by fermenting in my garage in the winter.

That's sweet.  BUT, I would still rather have mechanical refrigeration so I can lager year round.....
Dave Zach

Offline denny

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2012, 03:29:09 PM »
That's sweet.  BUT, I would still rather have mechanical refrigeration so I can lager year round.....

Me, too!
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Offline speed

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Re: How important is holding the same temp during ale fermentation?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2012, 09:17:05 PM »
Can't make a lager without some form of refrigeration!  Buying beer stuff is fun!

I make lagers without mechanical refrigeration by fermenting in my garage in the winter.
this is what i do, i have a heater that keeps the garage at 50, i have a 24x28 fermentation chamber ;D