Author Topic: cold fermentation  (Read 2985 times)

Offline curnes

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cold fermentation
« on: February 22, 2012, 08:31:21 PM »
Hi,
My friends and I brew in an out-building, a sort of small barn and it is difficult to control the temp. We have several conical fermenters that are really great to use and make beer in about 15 gallon batches.  We live in Oregon, near Portland.  It is about 50 degrees in the day time now.  My question is, if we put our beer directly into the fermenters, and the air is about 50 degrees, instead of 70 degrees will it still ferment?  I'm guessing we should probably wait longer.  Are there some good yeasts for this process?  Generally, what are the implications.
Thanks,
Cameron
Cameron

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 09:10:54 PM »
Make lagers.  Most of the lager strains are good at 50F, but if it is not insulated you might get some big temp swings in the barn.  The beer will be a bit warmer than ambient, so you might consider something like WY2112 or even WY1056, depending on where the temperature of the fermenting beers settles.  It's hard to say without trying it, there are too many variables.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline majorvices

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2012, 06:09:46 AM »
First off, 70 degrees ambient is way too warm for fermenting most ale strains. You would want the ambient tempt to be in the high 50s, low 60s. The temp of the fermenting beer is what is important. You can expect to see 4-6+ degree over ambient during high krausen. Lagers experience a little less exothermic activity but it is still there. The key is to be able to monitor and maintain a steady temp in the fermenting beer and not to rely solely on ambient.

If you have conicals you need to also invest a little in some temp control. I use conical fermenters in a cold room with heat wraps wrapped with water heater insulation and a johnson controller with a thermowell and I can keep my fermenting lagers or ales anywhere between 44 and 78 degrees (I can actually go warmer or colder if needed.) Don't skimp on temp control, it's one of the most important elements in brewing and you need to have complete control. For instance; I start many of my ales around 64-66 (temp of beer, not ambient) for a  few days and then ramp the temp up to 68-70 to finish off faster, then crash the temp back down to 34 to drop the yeast. The latter part may not be 100% necessary (though it certainly is nice) but you want to at least have more control than letting the fermenter sit around at ambient.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2012, 06:18:08 AM by majorvices »
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Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 06:39:11 AM »
If you guys have any interest in cider, you can ferment cider during the middle of winter with a cold tolerant wine yeast.
Jimmy K

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Offline alcaponejunior

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2012, 03:44:50 PM »
Honestly if there are several of you in on the deal, invest in some insulation and temperature control.  I'm super envious of your situation right now.  I'm still trying to ferment in my closet in an upstairs barracks room.  Although to be fair, I'm having pretty good success!!

Seriously though, you got the setup, roll with it man. 

Offline curnes

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 10:17:37 PM »
Thanks guys, lots of good information here.  The conicals are great.  Sounds like best ale plan is to insulate, and set the temp at about 65.  I like 007 yeast.  We haven't done lagers yet, but may next winter.
Cameron
Cameron

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 11:52:24 PM »
Thanks guys, lots of good information here.  The conicals are great.  Sounds like best ale plan is to insulate, and set the temp at about 65.  I like 007 yeast.  We haven't done lagers yet, but may next winter.
Cameron

If you are talking ambient temp, set it for 60. if ferment temp then yeah 65 is good. Although with many yeasts you can go lower and get a really clean fermentation (I have gone down to 55-58 with good results with some yeasts.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline majorvices

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2012, 05:43:40 AM »
When you say you like the "007" is that WY1007 or WLP007?
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Offline bluesman

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2012, 06:56:33 AM »
One of the concerns with fermenting in an "uncontrolled environment" is exactly that. Yeast don't like wild temperature swings as it stresses them. I've tried fermenting beer in a shed during the early spring with not so good results. The problem is that the ambient conditions can swing as much as 20-30 degrees from morning to night. Most ale yeast perform best between 64-68F degrees and lager yeast at 46-50F.

One of the best natural environments to ferment beer is a cellar or some sort of environment underground, as the geothermal temp is 56F and holds very steady. Steady temps are key to producing better beer.
Ron Price

Offline curnes

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Re: cold fermentation
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 01:16:12 PM »
When I said 007 I was referring to WP 007.
Cameron