Author Topic: Head Problems  (Read 2031 times)

Offline pliskadm

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2010, 12:01:10 PM »
My mash stabilizes at around 155 or less (try to keep it at 150) and I pitch the yeast at about 80degrees F.  My last batch, I kept the glass fermenter in the bathroom and kept a wet towel wrapped around it to keep the temp stabilized at about 70 give or take a degree or two.  This batch so far I can't get below 71-72 degrees with a wicking wet t-shirt technique(the recipe calls for 68 degrees fermentation temp).  I also added a half pound of flaked oats to the mash to help increase the protein content.  What exactly dictates a temperature that is too hot for pitching and fermentation?  I have also noted that the last beer has the bubbles needed, just nothing to help retain that lovely foam (glass  cleanliness is not the issue).

Offline denny

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2010, 12:03:38 PM »
IMO, 80 is far too hot for pitching and I prefer to pitch and ferment almost all ales in the low-mid 60s.  At the temps you;re using, oats (or other added protein) may not do much to help you.
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Offline pliskadm

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2010, 12:21:07 PM »
IMO, 80 is far too hot for pitching and I prefer to pitch and ferment almost all ales in the low-mid 60s.  At the temps you;re using, oats (or other added protein) may not do much to help you.
What do you do to keep your fermentation temp that low?

Offline blatz

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2010, 12:33:35 PM »
What do you do to keep your fermentation temp that low?

I don't think Denny has to do anything due to his climate, but most of us who don't have the luxury of cool climates or basements use a temp controlled fridge or even better, chest freezer, to ferment in.

'swamp cooler' is another simple, less high tech/capital intensive method as well - I used those for years before stepping up.
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Offline denny

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #19 on: July 26, 2010, 12:56:02 PM »
What do you do to keep your fermentation temp that low?

Where I live, the climate is fairly moderate most of the year, but I still need to help it some.  I keep my fermenters in a large tub of water, which buffers thermal swings.  In the summer, I add ice packs to the water to keep the temp down.  In the winter, I use an aquarium heater in the water to warm it up if needed.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline majorvices

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2010, 02:14:00 PM »
What exactly dictates a temperature that is too hot for pitching and fermentation?  I have also noted that the last beer has the bubbles needed, just nothing to help retain that lovely foam (glass  cleanliness is not the issue).

In addition to what the other have said here is a basic temp guide: Lagers: high 40s/low 50s, German Ales: High 50s/low 60s, American Ales: low to mid 60s, English Ales: mid 60s to high 60s, Belgian Ales: mid 60s to low 70s, even up to high 70s and low 80s depending.

Temperature control is one of the most important things you can do to improve your beer overall - that along with being sure to pitch enough healthy yeast (if using liquid yeast you will make much better beer if you use a yeast starter). Anyone can make wort, fermentation makes the beer! Doesn't matter ho careful you are to make the most beautiful wort, if you don't manage a proper fermentation you won't be making the best beer possible.
Cowboy. Pirate. Brewer.

Offline richardt

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2010, 03:50:05 PM »
Pliskadm, once everyone has had a chance to impart their advice, you should print out this thread and refer to it often.

These guys are not blowing smoke.  Earlier on in my brewing, I "dismissed" the importance of yeast strains, yeast starters, and fermentation temp control as "extravagances" of the hobby.  Excuses like "let's keep the costs down",or "Let's keep things simple" just won't cut it after a while.  Don't be penny-wise and dollar-foolish.  Case in point:  for the price of a good partial grain or extract kit, you can have a fridge temp controller (I bought a ranco digital controller online for less than 50 bucks and wired an extension cord to it myself--and I've no prior experience in doing such, either).  From that point on, you'll always have a good beer with no fusels.  Same goes for yeast strains:  For 5 bucks, you can use the right yeast strain for the style you're trying to brew.

Beer styles are dependent on the right yeast and the right temps.  Plain and simple.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2010, 01:58:55 PM »
What exactly dictates a temperature that is too hot for pitching and fermentation?  I have also noted that the last beer has the bubbles needed, just nothing to help retain that lovely foam (glass  cleanliness is not the issue).

In addition to what the other have said here is a basic temp guide: Lagers: high 40s/low 50s, German Ales: High 50s/low 60s, American Ales: low to mid 60s, English Ales: mid 60s to high 60s, Belgian Ales: mid 60s to low 70s, even up to high 70s and low 80s depending.

Temperature control is one of the most important things you can do to improve your beer overall - that along with being sure to pitch enough healthy yeast (if using liquid yeast you will make much better beer if you use a yeast starter). Anyone can make wort, fermentation makes the beer! Doesn't matter ho careful you are to make the most beautiful wort, if you don't manage a proper fermentation you won't be making the best beer possible.

Couldn't have said it any better myself.

Each yeast strain has it's optimal fermentation temperature range.  That temp should be targeted and maintained during the majority of the fermentation in order to acheive the best results.  As the fermentation temp drifts from that range the yeast reacts accordingly.  The higher the temp.... the more fusels and phenolics (spicy), the lower the more esters produced (fruity).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 02:01:13 PM by bluesman »
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Offline joeysmokedporter

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Re: Head Problems
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2010, 04:21:45 AM »
RE: fermentation temp control--+1 to all the advice given.  this made a step change in my brew quality.  pitch toward the lower end of the recommended range for your yeast strain and let it rise during growth and fermentation.  pitching high and cooling during growth/fermentation promotes the wrong compounds (ie. acetaldehyde) and stresses the yeast.

RE: head problems--this sounds simple, but if you aren't doing a thorough cleaning of all your equipment from mash tun to fermentor w/ PBW or another similar cleaner, then take a day and do it--and then make sure you do it after every brew session.  early on I had several brews w/ head problems.  After cleaning everything, my next brew and all subsequent brews were fine.  Do this before worrying about ingredients and process.  Once you are satisfied the cleaning process is good, then move on to the other factors.
R. Lorber
Westminster, MD