Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Bottling temperature?

Hello all,

I am getting ready to bottle my third batch, the Petit Saison d’ete extract kit.

Now, it is pretty cold here currently in Atlanta. The temperature of my beer during first three days of fermentation was around 62-65F, which is the lower range of the optimal yeast temperature written on the package (Safale BE 134): 64-82F.

For the last week and a half, my beer temperature has been around 58F according to the stick on thermometer, pretty cold. (room temp is between 63F at night and 67F during the day).

I am going to bottle it. Should I (gently) try to raise the temperature of my beer before bottling, so the suspended yeast will be more active to carbonate the bottles? I could raise the beer temp to about 65F or so, by putting a space heater close to the fermentation bucket? Or is it better not to mess with the temperature at this point?

Thank you!
Maarten

First, that temp is pretty low for that yeast. I would move the fermenter to a warmer place (at least mid 60°s) to allow the yeast to attenuate properly as well as ensure that it leans up any byproducts of fermentation.

When you bottle condition you want to keep the temps around 70°. Your 65° will work but will take longer. You can bottle condition cold beer (after cold crashing or lagering) by adding your sugar and allowing the bottles to rise to 70°.

What @loopie_beer said. You should definitely warm it up to be sure it has fermented out. Bottling before it has finished can produce bottle bombs. Enough residual sugar from incomplete fermentation can over carbonate your beer and produce too much CO2. If possible warming it up into the 70’s and checking for further signs of fermentation won’t hurt. For ales I wait a couple of weeks minimum before thinking about bottling or kegging then check the gravity.

If you do not have a hydrometer yet, you need one.

1 Like

Bring it in from the garage. Too bad your saison fermented so low. You missed out on some of the better spice flavors from higher temperatures. I’m sure it will still be good though. You might want to make a lager while your temps are so low (I bet Atlanta won’t maintain those temps for long). Or invest in a heating element for some temp control.

Oh really, you all think the beer hasn’t fully fermented? I mean, the temperature was in the low range of the yeast for about the first 3-4 days. There was very good airlock activity (multiple bubbles per second at some point). So it seems like fermentation was well underway as per usual.

It has been 2 weeks now, and the krausen has fallen back into the beer (as I can tell when shining a flashlight behind the fermentation bucket).

The beer is in my kitchen closet, but we just don’t keep the heat up that high in the winter. As I said, room temp 63-67F. The beer temperature was read from a stick-on LCD thermometer, not sure how accurate those are (not sure how the beer temp can be 58F while the room temp is 63 at minimum).

I have now put a space heater near the fermenter to get the beer temp up to around 70F. How long should I keep it there in your opinion? 24 hours? Longer? Another week? I really wanted to bottle this weekend :(.

Thanks!

Have you tested it with your hydrometer? That is HOW you will know when its done… Sneezles61

3 Likes

As sneezles says gravity reading will tell you. Take a reading and tell us. If it seems high then another one in a couple days so see if it is holding steady. Chance are you have nothing to worry about but it is better to be safe. Gushers and bottle bombs are no fun. I have a gushing batch now that I’m really surprised happened but I never took a final gravity reading so I guess I deserve it. I open the bottles over a big mixing bowl so I can save what would otherwise be lost

You don’t mention taking a gravity reading. Do you have a hydrometer? If not you should get one and I would not bottle until you’ve raised the temp closer to 70 for a few days to be safe.

Fermentation can’t be judged based on time and airlock activity. Only a multiple gravity readings over a few days will tell you if you’ve reached terminal gravity.

Thanks for all the responses so far!

No unfortunately I do not have a hydrometer. I guess I should invest in one.

I’ve got the beer temp raised to 68-70F right now, so I’ll leave it there for a few days to be sure.

Thank you!

1 Like

Get yourself a test jar for the new hydrometer also. The plastic sleeve they come in is too small. Might want a wine thief to pull the sample. All of this stuff will be pretty cheap and you will never know how you brewed without it after.

1 Like

Take a couple of readings a few days apart. If they’re the same your beer is done. Definitely don’t bottle it if it’s not done per the bottle bomb mention above. Bad things can happen. :head_bandage: I use a turkey baster to pull samples for my readings. Cool things about sampling is you get to pre-taste your beer!

1 Like

Thanks, I am ordering a simple hydrometer and test tube to make sure.

I will put my fermenter into a water bath, and get an aquarium heater to keep the temperature constant at 70F for a couple of days.

If I sanitize the test tube properly, can I just dunk it into the beer to get the sample out?

Thanks!

1 Like

Theoretically, yes…but I wouldn’t do that on a beer close to the end of fermentation. A little too risky for me. If you have a turkey baster you could sanitize and use that to draw enough beer for the gravity check. If your frmenter is a bucket you could sanitize the hydrometer and just drop it into the bucket.

1 Like

Oh neat, thanks for the tip. The fermenter is indeed a bucket. Do I not need the test tube to read the hydrometer correctly? Can you just look at the numbers on the hydrometer itself (how much it sticks out from the surface I suppose?). That would be nice. Less risk, and no beer going to waste.

Suppose I could do the same with my big mouth bubbler, as long as I can get my hand into the opening to retrieve the hydrometer…

1 Like

Yes you just read the number at the surface of the beer.

2 Likes

Excellent, thank you very much for the advice!

Well so here is a little update:

I have had the beer at about 73-74F now for about 4 days.

Just took the first gravity reading today, and the hydrometer indicates aprox. 1.004. According to the recipe, the OG of this extract kit is 1.041. (I know this is not as good as having taken my own OG reading, but that is all I’ve got).

So at 1.041 - 1.004 = 0.037
0.037 / 0.776 = 4.76% ABV?

That alcohol percentage sounds about right for this beer. I will take another reading in two days, and if it has remained the same, I will bottle.

There is still a few clouds of foam / Krausen on the top of the beer at the moment (not much). I guess this is because I have it at the higher temperature at the moment?

Thanks!

1 Like

Now you know the secret… let the yeast tell you its done… And ifn you divulge this secret… we’ll have to come over and drink yer stash! Seems you are one the right paTH… SNEEZLES61
THINGS ARE GOING AWRY HERE… CAN YOU TELL?

3 Likes

Agreed, sounds like you’re nailing it, nice work! What @sneezles61 said is really true, yeast don’t use a calendar. Your hydrometer is your friend! Keep us posted on how things go the rest of the way please?

2 Likes

If you followed the recipe the OG should be very close to what they say so I would also have gone by that number.

2 Likes
Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com