Author Topic: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers  (Read 1186 times)

Offline petermmitchell

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Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« on: September 18, 2014, 05:26:57 PM »
Assuming you use a solid process for all other aspects of the brewing process, could maintaining lower temperatures during primary fermentation help reduce the amount of conditioning time needed afterwards for higher gravity beers (> 1.080) ?  I am thinking it would start out with a cleaner profile if the temperature can stay towards the low end (or even slightly below) the suggested temperature range for the yeast. 

I just got a chest freezer and am excited to try some higher gravity brews.  Previously I was using the swamp cooler method and did recieve some feedback from competition entries that noted fusels in these bigger beers. 

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Offline denny

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2014, 05:42:15 PM »
Even before I got my freezer and temp controller, I always pitched at the low end of the temp range.  I prefer around 63F for most ales and 48-50F for lagers.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2014, 05:47:01 PM »
Short answer: Yes.  However there was an article in Zymurgy this year about letting the fermentation temperature rise and then aging out the fusels to get a more complex character.  I haven't tried that yet, but am considering it for my next big beer.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2014, 05:48:10 PM »
Even before I got my freezer and temp controller, I always pitched at the low end of the temp range.  I prefer around 63F for most ales and 48-50F for lagers.

+1 . Same here.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2014, 05:59:57 PM »
My last barleywine was up in the 16% ABV range. I held it in the upper 50's for the first 5 days or so before ramping to the mid 60's, then finishing it around 70F. I think it made a big difference, because it was actually rather drinkable when I moved it to the keg 7 weeks later. And I definitely notice a reduction in hotness when my meads are fermented at 60F rather than 68F.

What is most important is making sure you get the yeast to finish. If you ferment cold all the way through, the yeast may take a nap before the beer has fully attenuated. The key is to keep it cool early on in the process when the yeast are generating the bulk of their byproducts that affect flavor, then ramping it up to keep them lively.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2014, 06:05:32 PM »
Absolutely. The best way to accelerate production, IME, is to pitch at (T-2)°F, do the bulk of fermentation at T, then ramp to (T+7)°F once the beer is mostly attenuated. Hold there for 3-4 days, then cold crash. T being the warmest temperature you can ferment at while still producing your desired flavor profile.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2014, 06:30:09 PM »
Totally agree.  I ramp up at then end for all my beers, lagers included.
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Offline petermmitchell

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2014, 06:37:14 PM »
Thanks!

Offline rjharper

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2014, 04:59:33 PM »
Even before I got my freezer and temp controller, I always pitched at the low end of the temp range.  I prefer around 63F for most ales and 48-50F for lagers.

This +1. I'll even start some ales at 60F when I need them super clean

Offline Henielma

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2014, 06:13:41 PM »
Absolutely. The best way to accelerate production, IME, is to pitch at (T-2)°F, do the bulk of fermentation at T, then ramp to (T+7)°F once the beer is mostly attenuated. Hold there for 3-4 days, then cold crash. T being the warmest temperature you can ferment at while still producing your desired flavor profile.

+1.

I also start at T-2 and after 12 hours I increase with 1 °F/day to T. Increase for another 7 °F is interesting. I will try this next time. Thanks.
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Offline jmitchell3

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2014, 05:55:53 PM »
T+7?  I've heard of ramping up temps 2-3F to get yeast to attenuate out, but i've not heard of a 7F raise...seems a bit much to me, but I'm willing to try it.  Can you provide more info about how you arrived at 7 degrees?

Offline denny

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2014, 06:06:10 PM »
T+7?  I've heard of ramping up temps 2-3F to get yeast to attenuate out, but i've not heard of a 7F raise...seems a bit much to me, but I'm willing to try it.  Can you provide more info about how you arrived at 7 degrees?

For me, it's simply a case of what works. By the tie I ramp up temps the beer is past the "danger zone" for esters and fusels.  I typically go from my 63F fermentation temp to around 74F.  Exact temp doesn't matter much.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2014, 06:14:37 PM »
+1.  I wait until fermentation starts to wind down (usually 3-4 days depending on style and yeast) and warm it above 70F.  I don't shoot for a set ramp up temp, but I do ferment in the low 60s as well.

EDIT  -   I have pitched @ (T-2)F for a long time, though.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 10:36:42 PM by HoosierBrew »
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2014, 06:17:30 PM »
In a freezer, the temp rises slowly. I will normally bump it up form X to 70 over two days after 4 days or so. Seeing how her car is parked 6" from the freezer, I do this after my lady comes home from work and her car cools down a bit.

Offline a10t2

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Re: Controlling yeast temperature for higher gravity beers
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2014, 07:58:53 PM »
T+7?  I've heard of ramping up temps 2-3F to get yeast to attenuate out, but i've not heard of a 7F raise...seems a bit much to me, but I'm willing to try it.  Can you provide more info about how you arrived at 7 degrees?

Nothing too scientific, I'm afraid. I just like round numbers, so a 4°C interval makes more "sense" to me than 3°C. It's about a 50-50 on whether there's enough energy output from a 6 gal fermentation to even bring it up to that temperature. Commercial fermentations still require some glycol input at that point. I view it as being roughly what the yeast would "want" to do on their own.

I ferment at 10 psi, not 14.7, so bear in mind that some or all of this may not apply in your situation.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2014, 08:10:24 PM by a10t2 »
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