Author Topic: Fermentation Temperatures  (Read 451 times)

Offline GeeTee

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Fermentation Temperatures
« on: July 14, 2020, 10:42:29 PM »
I’m a first time brewer with a Northern Brewer 79 dollar starter kit. How important is the temperature for the first 14 day fermentation? Being summer time my apartment is about 80 to 85 degrees - with air conditioning I can get it in the mid 70s but it becomes expensive. Is this problematic or does it just speed up the fermentation? Any way I can work with / around this?

Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2020, 11:00:28 AM »
80 to 85 deg. will generally cause a lot of off flavors.  Yeast work best at 70 deg. or less (mostly, Kveik is said to work best at very high temps).

You can use several different tactics to keep your fermentor cool though.  Some to investigate: Ice bath - set your fermentor in a tub with water and ice packs, Swamp chiller - set your fermentor in a tub with water, put a towel or t-shirt over it and use a fan to blow air across the wet cloth, build a temperature controlled chamber.

I would wait to brew if I could not find a way to drop the temp, personally.

Paul
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Offline Silver_Is_Money

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2020, 12:22:53 PM »
Also consider that when yeast are actively fermenting they will raise the temperature of the Wort by as little as ~5 degrees F. to as much as ~10 degrees F. above ambient for a really rapid and aggressive fermenting yeast.  Thus if you don't want to exceed say 68 degrees F., it is best to start out at ~60-62 degrees F. ambient.

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2020, 02:20:40 PM »
Controlling fermenta4ion temp may be one of the biggest6 things you can do to improve beer quality.  Keep in min d that the roo m twmp doesn't really matter.  It's the temp of the fermenting beer you want to monitor.
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Offline Jefferson Coastal

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2020, 06:55:54 PM »
When I first started, I used a dark pantry closet that seemed to be more stable temperature than the rest of my house.  However we never got to 80+ inside.  I would wait.

Offline BrewBama

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2020, 07:10:34 PM »
I remember my first batch of beer. A kit from William’s. I set the fermenter in a storage room. Behind the garage. Not climate controlled. In Georgia. In the Summer.

It turned out great! ...or so I thought at the time.


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Offline MNWayne

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2020, 02:11:35 PM »
Yeah, I remember how proud I was of that first batch.  By today's standard it would most likely be undrinkable swill.
Far better to dare mighty things....

Offline Kestrel Brewing

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2020, 05:22:42 PM »
It depends on what kind of beer you're making and what yeast you're using …

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2020, 05:58:02 PM »
It depends on what kind of beer you're making and what yeast you're using …

Other than kveik, I can't think of any yeast that would benefit from those temps.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2020, 04:31:07 PM »
To answer your question directly, "how important?" The answer is extremely important. Beer fermented that warm will have off flavors and may contain chemicals that cause horrible headaches in addition to bad-tasting beed. I recommend you either find a way to cool your fermentation or put off your brewday.

In fact, since fermentation generates temperature (about 4-8 degrees F), you should really plan on fermenting when ambient temperature is 4-8 degrees LOWER than your ideal temperature if you plan on fermenting at ambient. That would mean waiting until your apartment is 64F to brew that IPA. Otherwise, there are lots of ways to cool fermentation to keep off flavors under control, though they are varying degrees of a hassle.

Offline Kestrel Brewing

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2020, 04:28:35 PM »
It depends on what kind of beer you're making and what yeast you're using …

Other than kveik, I can't think of any yeast that would benefit from those temps.

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Stan Heironymus' "Brew Like a Monk". Belgian beers are typically pitched at temperatures that would make Chris White cry out in alarm and allowed to run at temperatures in the range described.

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2020, 04:43:22 PM »
It depends on what kind of beer you're making and what yeast you're using …

Other than kveik, I can't think of any yeast that would benefit from those temps.

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Stan Heironymus' "Brew Like a Monk". Belgian beers are typically pitched at temperatures that would make Chris White cry out in alarm and allowed to run at temperatures in the range described.

I've read it. I don't recall many beers that we're pitched at high temps.
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Offline Kestrel Brewing

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2020, 05:45:10 PM »
It depends on what kind of beer you're making and what yeast you're using …

Other than kveik, I can't think of any yeast that would benefit from those temps.

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend Stan Heironymus' "Brew Like a Monk". Belgian beers are typically pitched at temperatures that would make Chris White cry out in alarm and allowed to run at temperatures in the range described.

I've read it. I don't recall many beers that we're pitched at high temps.

I can't remember the specific section that referred to pitching temps, but I do remember a line that Belgian brewers "… pitch hot and under pitch …".

As far as fermentation temperatures go, there is a chart in the book that shows temps for Achel, Westmalle, and Westvleteren all using the same yeast top cropped from Westmalle. Westvleteren fermented at temperatures between 80 and 84º. That stuck out in my memory because they were also comparing three different fermentation methods: Cylindro-conical (Achel), closed cube (Westmalle), and open (Westveleteren) fermentation. I read in another interview (I'll see if I can find it, but it's been a while) with one of the brewers at Westvleteren that they were more concerned with the rate of temperature rise, that is to say temperature spikes, than they were with the temperatures ultimately reached. The logic was that a spike shows yeast under stress whereas a gradual rise is just yeast plugging happily along.

That being said, a 5 gallon batch isn't going to have the same thermal mass as a commercial batch. In seven years, I've not been able to get any of the Westmalle derived strains from either White Labs or Wyeast to break 4ºF above room temperature which is consistently between 68-72ºF in my basement brewery. I've even tried wrapping them in blankets and sticking them in those weird silver bags that groceries get delivered in these days, and wrapping them in blankets inside those weird silver bags.

The beers taste good so I'm loathe to go to the extreme of getting a heater for my carboy. I've got better stuff to spend my money on. ;)

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2020, 05:49:12 PM »
When I was in Belgium a year or so ago, Westmalle tripel was my go to.  I've always started fermententation on mthaty version of it at 63F.  Talking to brewery reps confirmed tha6 was a good choice.
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Offline Kestrel Brewing

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Re: Fermentation Temperatures
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2020, 05:59:22 PM »
When I was in Belgium a year or so ago, Westmalle tripel was my go to.  I've always started fermententation on mthaty version of it at 63F.  Talking to brewery reps confirmed tha6 was a good choice.

That's reasonable. The chart from Brew Like a Monk (I went and pulled it out to make sure I wasn't talking crap) says they and Achel pitch at 64º, and Westvleteren pitches at 72º. This is for the Achel/Westvleteren 8 and Westmalle Dubbel.