Author Topic: Fermentation Temperature - Pt. 2: English Ale | exBEERiment Results!  (Read 1719 times)

Offline brulosopher

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When it comes to improving one's homebrew, likely the most popular recommendation is to start controlling fermentation temperatures. Given the fact the first xBmt on this topic did not achieve statistical significance, I was curious to see how that might change under different conditions. In this go-round, I used a more characterful English yeast and fermented at temps a tad more extreme than in the first xBmt. Results are in!

http://brulosophy.com/2015/05/11/fermentation-temperature-pt-2-english-ale-exbeeriment-results/

Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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When it comes to improving one's homebrew, likely the most popular recommendation is to start controlling fermentation temperatures. Given the fact the first xBmt on this topic did not achieve statistical significance, I was curious to see how that might change under different conditions. In this go-round, I used a more characterful English yeast and fermented at temps a tad more extreme than in the first xBmt. Results are in!

http://brulosophy.com/2015/05/11/fermentation-temperature-pt-2-english-ale-exbeeriment-results/

im suprised! wlp002 that warm and really nobody detected any significant fruity esters?  this is very interesting indeed Marshall.

Edit: i've got the equivalent wyeast 1968 going right now in an ESB. pitched at 63F, held 65-66F 48 hours and letting it rise up to 70F to finish.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 01:15:59 PM by Wort-H.O.G. »
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Offline brulosopher

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When it comes to improving one's homebrew, likely the most popular recommendation is to start controlling fermentation temperatures. Given the fact the first xBmt on this topic did not achieve statistical significance, I was curious to see how that might change under different conditions. In this go-round, I used a more characterful English yeast and fermented at temps a tad more extreme than in the first xBmt. Results are in!

http://brulosophy.com/2015/05/11/fermentation-temperature-pt-2-english-ale-exbeeriment-results/

im suprised! wlp002 that warm and really nobody detected any significant fruity esters?  this is very interesting indeed Marshall.

Tell me about it! In the past, I'd told myself that fermenting with 002 at anything above 68˚F produced crazy  esters, in fact I've told others I'd even experienced this... apparently erroneously. I've been finishing the last bits of both of these kegs and they truly are way more similar than difference, both are perfectly enjoyable.

Offline Phil_M

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I wonder how much of the "temp control = better beer" comes from minimizing temperature swings? My fermenting closet only experiences two degree swing on a bad day, and I've never had issues fermenting British ales up to 72 degrees there.

It's be interesting to redo the experiment, and make the experimental group undergo a temperature swing, say 74* during the day to 66* at night.
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Offline Wort-H.O.G.

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i'm curious about something. do you think perhaps that starting a fermentation warmer and holding it there- in your case about 76F produces any different results than a beer pitched cooler and allowed to rise rapidly? e.g. pitched at 64-65F and then when active fermentation starts you don't manage temp control and it rises rapidly to the low to mid 70's?  whenever I've had issues with unwanted esters, its been a result of this.

just thinking out loud  ::)
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Vienna IPA          O'Fest
Dort
Mead                 
Cider                         
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Amber Ale
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O'Fest

Offline dmtaylor

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Interesting results!  My attempt to explain:

If you pitch enough good healthy yeast, fermentation temperature doesn't matter so much.  Try this same experiment with a poor pitch of old yeast, and you will get very different results.

Also, I am absolutely certain that selection of the specific yeast strain can make all the difference.  Try the same experiment with a hefeweizen yeast or Belgian yeast, for instance, and you will get two entirely different beers, no matter what your pitch rate.

But USUALLY... if you pitch a lot of healthy yeast, this can make fermentation temperature closer to a moot point.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Interesting results!  My attempt to explain:

If you pitch enough good healthy yeast, fermentation temperature doesn't matter so much.  Try this same experiment with a poor pitch of old yeast, and you will get very different results.

Also, I am absolutely certain that selection of the specific yeast strain can make all the difference.  Try the same experiment with a hefeweizen yeast or Belgian yeast, for instance, and you will get two entirely different beers, no matter what your pitch rate.

But USUALLY... if you pitch a lot of healthy yeast, this can make fermentation temperature closer to a moot point.

I agree with all of this. Definitely strain dependent, too. Doesn't matter how much healthy 1214 you pitch, for example - that stuff is crazy temp sensitive.
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Offline erockrph

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I wonder if the recipe choice had something to do with this, in particular the relatively low OG. Low-gravity wort is generally considered less stressful to yeast, so that may help in minimizing the difference between the two beers. I'm wondering if this was repeated with an ESB in the 1.060's if the gap between the two brews would be more noticeable.

Another great xBmt, Marshall! Thanks for sharing.
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Offline beersk

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Would over pitching cause a lack of malt character in any instance? Or just last of yeast character?
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Offline brulosopher

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All great points! I'm getting to the point where I think multiple variables play off of each other. So, for example, low pitch rate + controlled ferm temps + low OG will likely work out fine; high pitch rate + uncontrolled ferm temp + moderate OG will likely be fine too; but low pitch rate + uncontrolled ferm temp + high OG may be significantly flawed.

I definitely have xBmts planned to test this :)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation Temperature - Pt. 2: English Ale | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2015, 02:32:05 PM »


I wonder how much of the "temp control = better beer" comes from minimizing temperature swings? My fermenting closet only experiences two degree swing on a bad day, and I've never had issues fermenting British ales up to 72 degrees there.

It's be interesting to redo the experiment, and make the experimental group undergo a temperature swing, say 74* during the day to 66* at night.

Ding ding ding! I was thinking the same thing. My guess is that the biggest difference would be attenuation. Those repeated drops in temp are most likely going to send the swinger yeast into dormancy sooner than the steady controlled yeast.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation Temperature - Pt. 2: English Ale | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2015, 02:42:48 PM »
All great points! I'm getting to the point where I think multiple variables play off of each other. So, for example, low pitch rate + controlled ferm temps + low OG will likely work out fine; high pitch rate + uncontrolled ferm temp + moderate OG will likely be fine too; but low pitch rate + uncontrolled ferm temp + high OG may be significantly flawed.

I definitely have xBmts planned to test this :)
I agree Marshall. And think how this compares with the typical new home brewer who is about 4 or 5 batches into the hobby. Showing up with a high gravity beer that they pitched one smack pack or tube of yeast right off the shelf, no starter, pitched at about 70º and sat in a spare bedroom 78 in the day 65 at night. Airlock quit bubbling after 7 days so they bottled it... we would have lots of advice to give on using sugar, making starters, taking gravity readings rather than going by the airlock, but most of us would point to better temp control as the one single thing that would improve it.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Fermentation Temperature - Pt. 2: English Ale | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2015, 03:11:02 PM »
I agree Marshall. And think how this compares with the typical new home brewer who is about 4 or 5 batches into the hobby. Showing up with a high gravity beer that they pitched one smack pack or tube of yeast right off the shelf, no starter, pitched at about 70º and sat in a spare bedroom 78 in the day 65 at night. Airlock quit bubbling after 7 days so they bottled it... we would have lots of advice to give on using sugar, making starters, taking gravity readings rather than going by the airlock, but most of us would point to better temp control as the one single thing that would improve it.

Hey, you described my first 5 batches exactly! :) Although I don't do high gravity beers and I'd let mine sit in the primary for 4 weeks before bottling - not sure that did much to help most of those batches.

From exBEERiment article: "Along with many others who’ve been in the hobby for awhile, I’ve stated multiple times that one of the absolute best things a homebrewer can do to make better beer is control fermentation temperatures."

Yes, you still are controlling the temperature - just at a higher one. I think the idea of pitching healthy yeast in at least ballpark close to the "right" numbers at a reasonable, constant temperature with proper oxygenation has merit.

Nice xBmt - keep it up.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 03:50:42 PM by dilluh98 »

Online hopfenundmalz

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Re: Fermentation Temperature - Pt. 2: English Ale | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2015, 04:43:25 PM »
The right number of cells to pitch is less for a British ale than if you were making a clean American Ale. Friends at a local Brewpub use WLP-022,a nod make fruity estery ales at a low pitch rate and double it if they want a cleaner more American style ale. Seems the is even something written on this.

Would it be worth the time to do an experiment on temp at a low pitch rate?

http://byo.com/grains/item/1717-yeast-pitching-rates-advance-homebrewing

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Offline Kid Moxie

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Re: Fermentation Temperature - Pt. 2: English Ale | exBEERiment Results!
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 04:48:49 PM »
I think the comments about the gravity being very low is apt. IMO, single variables don't seem to make as large of an impact as we'd all expect, but I do think they make a bigger impact at higher gravities.

After all, we make starters at ~1.040 OG because it's optimal for the yeast for a variety of reasons, a wort with gravity ~1.040 is basically just a giant starter :)