Author Topic: Temperature during fermentation  (Read 876 times)

Offline Soupy

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Temperature during fermentation
« on: December 30, 2014, 07:51:48 AM »
So I just put my first beer into primary (a big beer, Imperial IPA likely out of my league) and 24 hours in I'm showing quite active fermentation and all is well.

My concern is that the ambient temperature, as being a true first time home brewer, is controlled by my thermostat and the comfortability of my pregnant wife. This comes out to the ambient temp in the room my primary is stored to around 61-62 degrees. I do know that inside the primary the temp is higher due to the process and nature, but will a lower ambient temp during fermentation mean I will need to wait longer for the yeast to process, or even mean I will need to pitch more yeast? OG was 1.070 and target is 8.7-9.5% AbV.

My plan originally was to rack to secondary to dry hop, but as I've read and I've been told by other Brewers secondary isn't really needed, and dry hopping should take place 5-7 days before racking to bottles.

Thoughts? Thank you!

Offline JT

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 11:10:00 AM »
Yes, primary will take a bit longer, but that will restrain hot alcohols and unpleasant characteristics, so it is a good thing.  Do you have a way of measuring the beer temp?  I don't want the beer temp to slide backwards as fermentation slows down.  I would want the temp to hold steady, or better yet increase a couple degrees to prevent the yeast from going to sleep early. Cheap way to monitor beer temp is with one of these http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/fermometer.html
Cheap way to bump the temp up a bit would be to submerge the bucket in a cooler of water with an aquarium heater.  Just don't cover the fermometer with water.  You can also add ice bottles if the temp is getting out of control.  For me, no higher than 68 during active fermentation.   

Offline JT

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 11:15:13 AM »
Racking to secondary is largely a matter of personal preference.  You should try it sometime to see if you like it, but is absolutely not necessary and I would recommend skipping it for now.  Dry hopping is also personal preference and depends on how much hop matter you are using, type of hops, etc.  Typical times are 3 - 10 days.  I go shorter rather than longer. 

Offline etbrew

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2014, 11:29:49 AM »
That is exactly what the ambient temp is in the room I start most of my fermentation in. I find once fermentation is active the fermentation temp is closer to 65-66 and is right where I want it. I usually move the beer to a warmer spot in the house to bring the temp up to around 68 to finish up. 

Depending on the beer style and yeast strain I'll make adjustments to that general schedule but I think you'll be fine even if you can't get it any warmer.

I had the opposite problem when I first started brewing.  I was regularly fermenting in the low to mid 70s with poor results.  I used to drink my beer because I spent all that time making it but now I drink it because I like it  ;D

 

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2014, 12:30:28 PM »
pitching in low 60's is pretty good in conjunction with your ambient temp mentioned. once fermentation starts, it will rise to the mid 60's.if it starts to get much higher than that in the first 3 days, you could use a water bath to help maintain your temp. once the krausen starts to fall (day 4-5), its generally safe to let the temps warm up to high 60's to around 70F so beer finishes and cleans up. you can wrap the bucket and find your warmest spot to achieve this, or even put a space heater in the area.
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Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2014, 01:28:40 PM »
Especially with a big beer, low 60's is just about perfect. If you can, move it to a warm spot when fermentation slows to help it finish (assuming you have a warmer spot). Also, give it a good 10 days in the primary fermenter after fermentation finishes. Yeast will continue to clean up some off-flavors after the activity is complete.
 
If you want to dry hop in primary, you can do so during that 10 day rest. Or you can wait, rack to another fermenter and dry hop there. Both work. Not racking is less work and I like less work.
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Offline Soupy

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2014, 07:22:33 AM »
All good advice! Thank you for the feedback.  8)

The issue I have with moving to a warmer spot is, well, my pregnant wife. Temp control is based off her needs and not my beer at this moment. I'd rather my child ferment comfortably than my beer.

That being said, 62-63 degrees is the consistent temp I've been recording, checking during early AM (6am) and she I get home from work (6:30pm). I have no idea how it's doing during the day, but I'm keeping the thermostat consistent.

I have just moved my primary closer to a vent, and wrapped it to retain heat. I live in Portland, OR and we are going through a cold time which couldn't have happened at a better time for a big beer... /sarcasm. My question is now at this point when is best to dry hop I primary as not to interrupt the fermentation. I know that it will keep bubbling for awhile, but I do not want to intrude a dry hop too soon and possibly adds contaminants. Should I wait for it to stop bubbling to add, keep it in primary and dry hop for 7-10 days or add it in a week (10 days in) and then rack to bottling?

Again thank you for the feedback. My next batch starts this weekend and I'm doing something quite a bit less than an Imperial IPA. My home brew friends have told me I've bitten off more than I can chew!

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2014, 03:43:35 PM »
I would wait at least a week and then take a gravity sample. wait another week and take another gravity sample. If they are different, wait another week. repeat until they don't change significantly, then dry hop.

you could safely dry hop in a week probably but the above will get most of the yeast out of solution before you add the hops which will help retain flavor and aroma.

you'll be fine. a big beer can be a challenge but for a beer this size the main worry is fermenting too warm and it sounds like you are just fine on that front. it's gonna be great.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2014, 03:47:13 PM »
I would wait at least a week and then take a gravity sample. wait another week and take another gravity sample. If they are different, wait another week. repeat until they don't change significantly, then dry hop.

you could safely dry hop in a week probably but the above will get most of the yeast out of solution before you add the hops which will help retain flavor and aroma.

you'll be fine. a big beer can be a challenge but for a beer this size the main worry is fermenting too warm and it sounds like you are just fine on that front. it's gonna be great.

+1
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2014, 03:53:55 PM »
Your temps are most likely fine and the beer will attenuate and you probably have nothing to worry about as long as you pitched enough healthy yeast and aerated sufficiently. Warming can help with attenuation but mostly it just helps to speed things up. It's a good idea if you can do it but not a deal breaker if you can not.

Offline JT

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2015, 12:32:13 PM »
Watch that beer temp today, especially if you covered/wrapped it. 

Offline Soupy

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Re: Temperature during fermentation
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2015, 09:51:02 PM »
Checked last night after one week, gravity came in at 1.020 from the 1.070 after one week. Temp is increasing slightly ambient is now around 65. Added the dry hop and took a taste sample... Seems to have a good amount of booze so far and no off flavors! This could be good  ;D