Author Topic: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?  (Read 361 times)

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« on: January 07, 2015, 09:41:31 AM »
 

I've been brewing ales in my ranch-style house (no basement) with no temperature control other than the thermostat for the heating/AC system and I've been letting that vary by about 5 F. Now with the colder weather  I keep it set at 69 or 70 F when I'm home and let it drop to 65 at bedtime or when I'm gone. My ales taste okay.  Would they taste better yet, if I kept one constant temp for three weeks?

I read the Hopfenstark Saison 16 clone recipe in the new issue of BYO where the fermenting instructions are to chill the wort to 73F, aerate  well, pitch yeast and then let the temp rise to 79 F over the course of one week and hold at that temp until fermentation is complete.

If I waited until May to brew that, I could probably get to 79 F in my garage, but that might occur over the course of 2 or 3 days. Currently I have no method of assessing the temp inside the fermenter except to remove the airlock temporarily and stick a thermometer  into the wort.

Should I attempt that recipe knowing my temp control won't be that close to optimal?

I would also be interested in knowing how many of you control your fermentation temps.

Thanks in advance for your advice.


Offline pinnah

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2015, 10:10:57 AM »
What is the yeast? Temp might be important for that particular recipe...being a clone attempt.

I use wyeast French saison a bit and temp is not super critical in my mind.  I generally ferment around 64 and it might get to 70 in my cold house.  Might not have as much phenol character as a hotter ferment, but I like it better that way.

I think all good brewers need to control fermentation temps...absolutely critical IMO.

Not to say you have to be fancy...I have a window open in the spare bathroom right now and am fermenting a couple lagers at 52 in there...meanwhile I have a porter going in the hallway where it hovers around 64...the saison is in the bedroom...tolerant wife... ???

Also, look into temperature strips that you can attach to the outside of your vessel which give a pretty accurate reading of fermentation temps.

Offline duboman

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2015, 10:42:24 AM »
What is the yeast? Temp might be important for that particular recipe...being a clone attempt.

I use wyeast French saison a bit and temp is not super critical in my mind.  I generally ferment around 64 and it might get to 70 in my cold house.  Might not have as much phenol character as a hotter ferment, but I like it better that way.

I think all good brewers need to control fermentation temps...absolutely critical IMO.

Not to say you have to be fancy...I have a window open in the spare bathroom right now and am fermenting a couple lagers at 52 in there...meanwhile I have a porter going in the hallway where it hovers around 64...the saison is in the bedroom...tolerant wife... ???

Also, look into temperature strips that you can attach to the outside of your vessel which give a pretty accurate reading of fermentation temps.
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2015, 10:50:47 AM »
I haven't made it yet, but the recipe calls for Wyeast 3711 or Lallemand Belle Saison

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2015, 10:56:46 AM »
Reply to Pinnah

You say temp control is absolutely critical, but within what range? Is 5 F variation too much? or 3 F? 1 F? I understand that ale yeasts and lager yeasts typically need different temps, but how much is too much.

That is the info I'm seeking?

Thanks

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2015, 11:04:21 AM »
temp control is the most important thing you can do to make better beer. full stop.

5 degrees is fine as long as it's the five degrees between 62 and 67 and not the 5 degrees between 67 and 72. if ambient temp is 65 at high krausen (when the yeast is generating a lot of flavor compounds) the beer is between 70 and 75. this is too warm except for a few particular yeast strains.

your ales would be better if you had temp control of some sort to maintain that 65 ambient all the time rather that letting it raise up during the day. this could be accomplished with a tub of water and a couple frozen bottles of water, or with some creative moving as pinnah suggests.

I would NOT pitch at 73 though. I have had so many nasty headaches from saisons that were pitched warm and fermented hot.

Offline kramerog

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2015, 11:08:16 AM »
I use an aquarium heater in a water bath for heating.  I don't remember the model but when the room is colder than my desired temp, my low temp would be 66 F and the high in the 90s.  If I combo the aquarium heater with  a digital controller - I have a Johnson controller, but others may work better - I could get as low as 55 F in the coldest room in the basement at the height of winter.

Water bath works well for cooling if I want to stay near ambient temp otherwise not so well.

5 F is too much, but the actual temp swing of your fermenter due to fluctuating air temps is much less than the air temp swing. 

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Online HoosierBrew

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2015, 11:23:55 AM »
this could be accomplished with a tub of water and a couple frozen bottles of water.


+2.  I did this for years, and if you set aside time to swap out frozen bottles a couple times a day, it works pretty well for ales.
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Offline denny

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2015, 11:51:28 AM »
I haven't made it yet, but the recipe calls for Wyeast 3711 or Lallemand Belle Saison

I like to run 3711 in the low 60s.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2015, 12:16:17 PM »
I haven't made it yet, but the recipe calls for Wyeast 3711 or Lallemand Belle Saison

I like to run 3711 in the low 60s.
Same here. I do ramp it up to the low 70's, but that's just because it tends to take a while to chew up the last few points. 3711 is one of the most forgiving yeast strains out there. It kind of reminds me of John Pinette's old bit about the fat guy at the chinese buffet. "You here three weeks! You go now!"
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Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2015, 05:04:22 PM »
My experience with the Belle Saison yeast is that it's not fussy. I've generally always started it in the low to mid 60s to the low 70s and have gotten good results.
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Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Re: How critical is fermentation temperature for a saison?
« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2015, 06:39:09 AM »
Thanks!