(First time Brewer) Fermenting Temperture

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(First time Brewer) Fermenting Temperture

Postby lhardin02 » Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:55 am

Hello,


I would like to start off by saying that I am new to brewing, and I can't stop researching and reading forums already. I would also like to say that after reading a lot of forums this group is by far the most help, and it appears that you all make people feel welcome here. Like I said earlier I am a first time brewer and I am making a Ale. From what I have read my fermenting temperature should be in the lower to mid 60's. I thought that my closet would be close to what I needed so I put my wort in and let it sit. After the first night I went in and checked my temperature and i hit 74 degrees. I now have a portable air conditioner on it and my temperature is bouncing around between 63-67 degrees. Is this ok? Can my temperature move around that much, and did that first night at 74 degrees affect my wort? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Postby yeastmeister » Mon Apr 26, 2010 2:06 pm

Anything between mid 60's to mid-upper 70's is ok. I'd try and keep the temperature swings under a couple of degrees. So, the 63 to 67 sounds ok, for range, but maybe a little low. The yeast will perform at that temperature range, but the colder it gets, the slower its going to work. At the same time, the colder it gets, the "cleaner" its going to taste, so depending on the style you are going with, that may be right or wrong.

Personally, I like to start my ales a little warm and then cool them down. The Russian Imperial Stout I made yesterday spent 12 hours at 72 before I dropped it to 69, which is where its going to stay.

Until you can control the temperature more precisely, you will get different flavors from different batches. If you ferment a batch at 65F, it will taste completely different if you ferment it at 70F. Since its fluctuating, you will probably get a decent beer (if your sanitization was good), but you may never be able to replicate it again.
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Postby Mob_Barley » Mon Apr 26, 2010 4:21 pm

Depending on the style of ale you are brewing, you will want more or less ester formation. ie. English ales need more fruity esters than American ales. If you want to brew an American ale, you would want to start your fermentation cool, in the mid 60's plus or minus a degree or two. English ales can begin a bit higher to produce more of the esters they are known for.

If you have a spare bath tub, or large tub of some kind, place your fermenter inside, fill with water, put an old t-shirt over the fermenter and drape it into the water. It will wick up the water and the evaporation will cool the fermenter. You should be able to get your fermentation around 65-68 degrees this way. If you have a fan, you can use it to get the temp a few degrees cooler.

I think the first day or two is the most critical for ester formation. You may find your beer has some nice fruity esters that will give the beer lots of character. But, having said this, if this is not what you wanted, then start your fermentation cool to minimize ester formation.

Here is an article on ester formation that may be helpful (even if it is a bit technical)...http://www.winning-homebrew.com/esters.html

With more information, such as the exact style you are brewing, the amount of yeast you pitched (with or without a starter, and how big of a starter), amount of and type of oxygenation you used, and what you observed going on inside the fermenter, we would be able to offer a little more one on one type of help instead of being pretty general. Good luck with the beer and be sure to keep us informed on the results, or better yet, bring some to a meeting!
"Reality is an illusion caused by a lack of good beer."
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Postby lhardin02 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:49 am

Thanks for the quick response. I appreciate the help, and hope to meet a lot of you May 1st. My friend and i hope to join the Dead Yeast club, and learn how to make great beer and make new friends.
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Postby aleguy » Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:08 pm

What My friends have told you is essentially true for most yeast strains. I would point out, however, that American ale yeast (Safale 05) is virtually always clean. I have fermented beer from 65 degrees up to 80 degrees and had no distinguishable flavor differences. Since this is your first home brew, I wouldn't worry too much about controlling fermentation temperatures. In all likelihood, your first batch will still turn out better than most of what you can buy at the store. Relax. Don't worry. Have a homebrew. (Or at least a decent beer until your home brew is ready.)
Never trust a skinny chef, a sober brewer, or a cat with thumbs!
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