Author Topic: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?  (Read 1336 times)

Offline mihalybaci

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« on: September 17, 2012, 07:41:20 AM »
On Saturday I brewed a Belgian-style tripel/golden strong, fermented with WLP545 (Belgian Strong Ale). Last night I went to bed with the thermometer reading 68F, and I woke up this morning and the temp was 73F. Following posts about fermentation temps, I wrapped the carboy in a wet towel and pointed a box fan at it. The ambient temp in our house is usually between 65-70F, and bear in mind I have no electronic means of temperature control.

So my question is, am I risking a stalled/stuck fermentation by trying to drop the temperature 5 or 6 degrees this late in the game? Is there some other cooling method I could/should do instead?

Follow-up question: If I'm shooting for 85%-90%+ attenuation, at what point is it safe for me to try and boost the temp to ferment those last few gravity points? 5 days? 7 days?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 07:45:59 AM by mihalybaci »

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7221
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 08:49:54 AM »
You might cause the yeast to drop. In my opinion you should continue with the towel- it will be helpful to place the fermenter in a cool water bath also which will keep temp swings down. You can add ice or frozen soda bottles to further control the temp.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline mihalybaci

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2012, 09:02:21 AM »
Now the thermometer on the carboy is reading 66-68F, so I'll keep the towel on for now and resoak it once it begins to dry off. I do have large plastic tub, so if the wet towel can't keep the temp down I'll try a nice cool bath.

Online morticaixavier

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 5677
  • Davis, CA
    • View Profile
    • The Best Artist in the WORLD!!!!!
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2012, 09:10:19 AM »
After a week or so, if you want, you can bump the temp up a couple degrees (or remove the towel)
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

Jonathan I Fuller

Offline mihalybaci

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2012, 09:37:37 AM »
After a week or so, if you want, you can bump the temp up a couple degrees (or remove the towel)

Okay, so if activity is pretty slow by the weekend I'll try and move it to a warmer part of the house.

I noticed a fairly prominent, but not overwhelming, sulphur smell coming from the yeast this morning that I hadn't noticed after the first day. The White Labs description (and the yeast reviews) didn't mention sulphur at all, could this be due to the higher fermentation temperature compared to the first day? Or might it have just taken a couple days to build up enough to notice?

Offline euge

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 7221
  • Estilo Casero
    • View Profile
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2012, 11:23:34 AM »
I noticed a fairly prominent, but not overwhelming, sulphur smell coming from the yeast this morning that I hadn't noticed after the first day. The White Labs description (and the yeast reviews) didn't mention sulphur at all, could this be due to the higher fermentation temperature compared to the first day? Or might it have just taken a couple days to build up enough to notice?

Don't worry about smells coming off the fermenter. Sulfur is common.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 11654
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2012, 11:24:46 AM »
I noticed a fairly prominent, but not overwhelming, sulphur smell coming from the yeast this morning that I hadn't noticed after the first day. The White Labs description (and the yeast reviews) didn't mention sulphur at all, could this be due to the higher fermentation temperature compared to the first day? Or might it have just taken a couple days to build up enough to notice?

Don't worry about smells coming off the fermenter. Sulfur is common.

As Shrek said "Better out than in!"
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

Offline mihalybaci

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 144
    • View Profile
Re: Methods to cool a hot fermentation?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2012, 11:59:36 AM »
Don't worry about smells coming off the fermenter. Sulfur is common.

As Shrek said "Better out than in!"

That's what I needed to hear.  8)