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Fermentation Ambient Temp

We just installed a Johnson temp controller on the freezer and set it to 64 with a 2 degree differential. Brewing the Nut Brown Extract Kit.

Is this temp too high? I’ve read of people keeping ambient at 58-60. I don’t want to screw up another batch…so I’m nervous about our temp choice. It’s only been in there for an hour or so…I can still change it.

I’d probably turn it down to 60. but that’s where I like ambient for most of my ales (Belgians not included).

Tape the temp probe to the side of the pail/carboy. Insulate it with something, a sock works.

Then you will be closer to the temp of the fermenting beer.

+1 to the above. I tape mine to directly to the bucket with an inch or two of bubble wrap over it. You want to measure the temp of the beer as much as possible - not the temp of the side of the freezer or the air.

Correct. you care about the beer temp, not the air temp.

So if I do that, am I still okay setting the temp controller at 60 with a +/- 2 degree differential?

[quote=“stompwampa”]So if I do that, am I still okay setting the temp controller at 60 with a +/- 2 degree differential?[/quote]Set it for 1F under your desired fermentation temp with a +1 differential and if that’s turning the compressor on too often set it for +2.

What’s the desired fermentation temp? Our yeast packet said the smack pack should sit in 70-75 while it swells.

The closet we were using for fermentation was regularly at 65-68 - and all of our beers came out with off flavors.

Hence, we now have the temp controller on the chest freezer set at 60 with +/- 2 degrees.

I know that the beer itself will increase by 5-10 degrees during fermentation, which puts us right in the desired range - of course, that’s assuming we’re adjusting temp based on ambient air temp, right?

Shoot for a beer temp in the mid 60’s. So if you are measuring the ambient temp, setting the controller for 60 would be close. If you tape the prob to the fermenter, set it for 65.

Or fabricate a thermal well to have the temp prob directly in the wort. Maybe a water supply line. Seal it off with some food grade silicone.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Shoot for a beer temp in the mid 60’s. So if you are measuring the ambient temp, setting the controller for 60 would be close. If you tape the prob to the fermenter, set it for 65.

Or fabricate a thermal well to have the temp prob directly in the wort. Maybe a water supply line. Seal it off with some food grade silicone.[/quote]

Well we taped it to the side of the fermentor, but just used electrical tape, so it’s not insulated in anyway like the previous posts recommended. The temp gauge is at 60 with +/- 2 degrees.

It’s been about 26 hours since we put it in there…should the temp be raised?

If you want really clean flavor, go colder and longer with a real healthy pitch of yeast. I routinely go in the low 60’s and lower with ales.

Put anything over the prob so it mostly reads the fermenter temp. Otherwise 1/2 will be on the fermenter temp and 1/2 will be the ambient temp.

Folded dish rag, old sock… use your imagination.

Then yes, raise the temp to 65.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Put anything over the prob so it mostly reads the fermenter temp. Otherwise 1/2 will be on the fermenter temp and 1/2 will be the ambient temp.

Folded dish rag, old sock… use your imagination.

Then yes, raise the temp to 65.[/quote]

The beer is fermenting just fine as is, with the probe taped to the outside of the glass carboy. So we’re just gonna leave it.

I presume being a little cooler is better than being too warm, correct?

I’m sure it’s fermenting just fine! The point everybody is trying to make is that you want to measure the temp of the beer, not the temp of the air. If you really care about temp control (and I’m assuming you do, since you just dropped $80 on a Johnson) then you should go the extra tiny step of insulating the probe.

Or, just DWTHYW and disregard everyone’s advice. :cheers:

[quote=“El Capitan”]I’m sure it’s fermenting just fine! The point everybody is trying to make is that you want to measure the temp of the beer, not the temp of the air. If you really care about temp control (and I’m assuming you do, since you just dropped $80 on a Johnson) then you should go the extra tiny step of insulating the probe.

Or, just DWTHYW and disregard everyone’s advice. :cheers: [/quote]

Ha! Well my concern isn’t about it fermenting - it’s about how the temp will affect the flavor. As I’ve mentioned in other threads, all of our other brews have been fermenting in a closet that held steady around 68 - which means the beer was 5-10 degrees warmer. I fear was a big cause of our off flavors.

That’s my concern here again - that being too low will cause off flavors.

Didn’t mean to flame the new guy. Sorry about that.

I don’t think fermenting too low will cause any off-flavors. I brewed a pale ale with US-05, fermented at 58 degrees and it won taster’s choice at a local beer competition. It was incredibly clean. The only possible downside is that it may take longer to ferment, and you may want to let it free-rise to ambient temps after the fermentation slows way down.

Temp control is awesome - I think you’ll see an improvement in your beer!

Flaming? Who’s flaming? I thought we were talking about beer!

Thanks for all the tips…I’ll just let it buck at 60 and we’ll see how it goes. We plan on leaving it in the primary for 3 weeks instead of 2 like the kit says anyways.

Are you saying that towards the end of fermentation (in the next 3-4 days) we should raise the temp back to 65? Or do that during the last week?

I typically let mine go at lower temps for about 10 days, at which point the bulk of the fermentation is done. Then I’ll let the beer rise up to ambient temps.

I’m fermenting in a Mother of Fermentation Chiller like the one shown below, which holds tubs of ice in the bottom and blows air up into the chamber above using a computer fan. So I’m not at all concerned about how frequently it cycles. When I’m ready to let it come up to ambient temps, I just remove the ice tubs and leave the lower door open, while leaving the temp set low. It will blow ambient air through for a while, which helps to remove any excess moisture in the unit. Then I just unplug the controller and leave the top open too.

This is where it comes down to personal preference/taste.

As El Capitan mentioned, he like the beer he described to ferment close to 60. That was a different wort and possibly a different yeast.

You can certainly brew this beer near 60. If you think it needs a little character, next time bring the temp up to 65.

Taking notes (which I never do :roll: ) is important to finding the beer that YOU like. Try to change one variable at a time so you know what changes what.

Which yeast are you using?

[quote=“Nighthawk”]This is where it comes down to personal preference/taste.

As El Capitan mentioned, he like the beer he described to ferment close to 60. That was a different wort and possibly a different yeast.

You can certainly brew this beer near 60. If you think it needs a little character, next time bring the temp up to 65.

Taking notes (which I never do :roll: ) is important to finding the beer that YOU like. Try to change one variable at a time so you know what changes what.

Which yeast are you using?[/quote]

I’ll start worrying about my personal preferences and tastes once we actually make a beer that I think is halfway decent :wink:

And we do take very good notes - we have a Google Docs Spreadsheet with detailed info on each batch.

We use Wyeast 1945

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