Author Topic: No fermentation temp control  (Read 5249 times)

Offline john f

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No fermentation temp control
« on: June 14, 2012, 07:57:33 AM »
Like most of you I go to a lot of tap rooms and breweries.

I look at every system I can see. I've been assuming all the conicals I've seen are jacketed/cooled systems. I know some are but yesterday I was at a nano brewery and I saw some conicals I could tell were not jacketed or cooled or temp controlled in any way. I saw the temp strips pegged over to the right outside the "ale" range. They were just free standing with no temp control at all.

Thing is... the beer was alright.   ??? We tried several and I'll admit the fruiter styles were better than the others.

I've always worked at cool fermentation temps from the start but It made me wonder about room temp fermentation. Has anybody brewed several styles at ~75-~80 and compared beers?

Say an IPA fermented at 70 vs ~80.

I'd be nervous to test a batch of IPA at 80 degrees but I am curious.

Offline deepsouth

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 08:31:44 AM »
let me tell you about my last brew......   i'll make the long story short....  i needed to brew a beer to send to a festival and i had less than three hours (to brew) and less than three weeks to get it bottle conditioned.

i brewed a single hop pale ale.

i did a partial boil rather than a full wort boil to cut down on the time to get to boil.  i "cooled" it with 3.5 gallons of refrigerator cold water which did NOT get the temp down to the point where it was registering on the "fermometer"  i let it cool for a couple more hours in the house and when i pitched the yeast, it still had not come down yet to within the range listed on the fermometer.  it didn't start registering low enough until the third day of fermentation.  i bottled after seven days.

bottom line, the beer turned out great, was well received at the festival and the last homebrew club meeting. 

i won't cut one that short again unless absolutely necessary, but i'm not going to get as stressed out about it anymore either.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2012, 08:57:27 AM by deepsouth »
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Offline lornemagill

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 08:52:36 AM »
i control my temp now but i fermented many batches at 80-84, never a problem.

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 08:59:50 AM »
I've brewed some high temp beers and most of them were great.  Once in a while, with the wrong yeast for the conditions, I would get one where the general comments were "that's interesting" or "it's got a flavor I wasn't expecting".  There is a lot of things you can get away with if use a forgiving yeast.  8^)

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2012, 09:02:30 AM »
Were the conicals pressurized? that can make a difference apparently as well. but yeah. Cooler temps might be best practice but it isn't always totally make or break. However, I have noticed an improvement in all my beers with the temp control.
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Offline john f

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2012, 09:50:53 AM »
Yeah one of the beers did have an "interesting" flavor I was not expecting. Not bad just kind of misplaced.

Maybe the yeast/beer is even more forgiving that we give it credit for/stress over.

Still, I'm not going to start ignoring good practices because I'm pretty sure all the beers would be better still if given better conditions it's just interesting how resilient the beer is to want to turn out.

It makes me wonder what totally reckless things people must be doing to get the not so good beers out there.  :-\

Offline deepsouth

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 10:12:05 AM »
It makes me wonder what totally reckless things people must be doing to get the not so good beers out there.  :-\

true that.  i come from a beer starved state, but most of what i can get here is by far inferior to pretty much every other commercial example i have tried.
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Offline DrewG

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2012, 08:07:56 AM »
Quote
Were the conicals pressurized? that can make a difference apparently as well.

I've heard that on brewstrong, or CYBI. With the pressure in a bigger conical they can get away with fermenting in the low 70's and still get clean beers. Pretty sure it was Lagunitas they were talking about
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2012, 08:09:07 AM »
Quote
Were the conicals pressurized? that can make a difference apparently as well.

I've heard that on brewstrong, or CYBI. With the pressure in a bigger conical they can get away with fermenting in the low 70's and still get clean beers. Pretty sure it was Lagunitas they were talking about

yeah someone on here has been experimenting with that with his brewhemoth with reasonably good sucess.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 09:11:17 AM »
However, I have noticed an improvement in all my beers with the temp control.

+1

A few times I've gotten lucky fermenting without temp control, but too often it means unwanted phenolic flavors or premature end to fermentation (low attenuation, diacetyl).
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Offline skyler

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2012, 01:54:39 AM »
Every non-saison beer I made that was fermented over 75F has tasted like hot death.

Offline tonyp

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2012, 08:45:47 AM »
Were the conicals pressurized?

This might be a stupid question but i'm curious, do they pressurize with forced co2, o2 or N? Or do they not use an airlock and let the pressure build naturally?
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Offline euge

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2012, 08:49:05 AM »
Were the conicals pressurized?

This might be a stupid question but i'm curious, do they pressurize with forced co2, o2 or N? Or do they not use an airlock and let the pressure build naturally?

A spunding-valve will release at a pre-set pressure.
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Offline gsandel

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2012, 09:30:33 AM »
I actually went the other way.  Had a fermentation cabinet, converted to a keezer when I realized that my basement was 62-65 degrees year round.  I can get a few more degrees either way by utilizing different locations in the room I ferment in.  There are plenty of low tech ways to control temperature in a middle range.

Ok, so I do my lager in the dead of winter, but that suits me.

Temperature matters, but more so on the extreme ends and in the case of large temperature swings.

Quote
It makes me wonder what totally reckless things people must be doing to get the not so good beers out there.

Based on my experience I wonder this as well.  It has to be a combination of things in conjunction with temperature (such as poor sanitation, poor handling, or a poor recipe formulation due to lack of knowledge of what a particular style is supposed to taste like).  IMO, really bad beer is almost as hard to achieve as excellent beer....you have to really try (you either have to ignore a multitude of small best practices, or really screw up a critical one (or both)).
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Offline skyler

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Re: No fermentation temp control
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2012, 11:30:53 AM »
90% of the time, when I dislike a commercial "craft" beer, I find the same three problems wrong with it:

1. Not enough hops. The beer will be called "IPA" or even "Pale Ale" and it will be clear that they went cheap on the hops and brewed a bitter, malty beer with little discernable hop flavor or aroma. I understand that hops are both expensive and hard to come by for a smaller brewery, and that IPA is such a big part of the market here that you pretty much HAVE to have one to make it as a small brewpub, but this causes me to try the IPA or DIPA last when I visit a new brewery.

2. Too much suspended yeast is left in the beer. This will cause an odd texture, muddy flavor, occasional harsh bitterness, and (for me) painful bloating.

3. Poor water chemistry. I have had a lot of bad beer in places I know to have very hard water (where local homebrewers I know will universally use RO water). Inevitably the pale beers have a harsh, acrid quality that I can't get past. Then I know other breweries that have the benefit of very soft water who just add enough gypsum to get 50 ppm calcium and double the amount for their IPA. They aren't necessarily any better of water chemists than the guys with the nasty water, but their beer will taste a hell of a lot better. So the lesson is to avoid putting a brewery where the water's no good for brewing.

Very occasionally it is something worse, like a hop-forward amber ale that is just roasted barley and 2-row tasting like a hoppy ashtray, or a pilsner that tastes like diacetyl and suspended yeast... but 90% of the time that a craft beer tastes bad, I find it is one of the three above-listed reasons.