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Fermentation Temp

I live in Louisiana and the weather here is evil hot! I have a closet in my house thats the coolest of all and thats where i ferment my beer but the temp stays around 74 constant. I know this is boarderline temp for ales but any suggestions on a fermentation chamber. I dont have a second frig to lager yet so i have to stick with ales for now.

Search ‘swamp cooler’, very simple and will help you get the temps down in a more desirable range. :cheers:

74F Ambient temp isn’t even borderline. It’s too hot, unless you’re using a Saison or certain Belgian yeast strains. You ideally want to ferment most ale yeasts in the mid to upper 60’s. Which means the ambient (room temp) should be between 58-65F, if not cooler. Your fermentation temperature will normally run about 5 degrees warmer than ambient and could be as high as 10 degree warmer. So at 74F ambient, your fermentation will be closer to 80F or higher. Way too hot for a desirable fermentation.

Like Flip said, search ‘swamp cooler’ or even better, buy a used mini fridge and temp controller to control your ferm temps. It will be one of the biggest factors in making your beer good.

Here is an overview of options.


what happens to the beer and yeast if i ferment to high. I thought 70-75 would be ok.

Hope you don’t mind me joining the topic with a second question.

What happens if the temp is in the correct range for all by one day, where it is too high, then drops back to the correct range?

I recently brewed an apa with S-05. The temperature in my brew room was 70-72. After a week and a half I took a sample and tasted it. I am very happy with how it turned out.

You can brew in the higher ranges and get a drinkable product. But it may be even better at the lower temps.

Controlling the temps can be easily accomplished.


[quote=“m125x”]Hope you don’t mind me joining the topic with a second question.

What happens if the temp is in the correct range for all by one day, where it is too high, then drops back to the correct range?[/quote]

Depends on which day. First day could be a problem, fifth probably wouldn’t.

You want to keep the ferm temps in check for the first 3-5 days of fermentation. That’s where all the flavors are gonna come from. A spike in temp early on will cause the yeast to produce unwanted byproducts and flavors in your beer. You CAN ferment warmer, but you will truly make better beer if you ferment towards the cooler end of the yeasts recommended range.

And again, you need to understand that an ambient (room) temp is going to be at least 5 degrees and up to maybe 10 degrees cooler than your actual fermentation temperature. Fermentation is a violent process and creates heat. This raises the temp of your beer. Keeping the beer in the mid to low 60’s creates a cleaner fermentation and a better tasting product in the end.

My suggestion would be to continue to brew a few batches of beer and ferment in the mid 70’s. Then brew a few batches with controlled fermentation temps in the low to mid 60’s (I prefer right around 60F) and taste the difference. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the controlled temperature beer better.

I have put together a cooling device that wraps around the bucket im gonna ferment in . This device is loaded with special cooling liquid kinda like dry ice but much more complex. Im gonna give it a dry run for a few days like a simulator to see how it turns out. I do perfer a clean crisp beer. I enjoy red beer and bock beer . I cant do a good bock yet , im not set up to lager as i will one day. Personally i can see tieing up a frig for that long but thats just me.

Until just recently, I swamp cooled in a shed out behind my house. I’d freeze milk jugs with water and swap them out. Even though I live in the deep South, I could still keep the temps in the low 70s or high 60s. It took a lot of TLC, and I wasn’t always able to change out the ice often enough to keep the temps steady. What that did was give me a lot of estery flavors, and I don’t think I’ve was able to create beer that tasted like it probably should have. Being inside, you should be able to maintain your temp a little better than I did in my shed. Using a fan and a tee shirt can also help you keep a steady temp, too.

Temperature range and pitching rate are probably the two biggest challenges to homebrewers. After getting these under control, you can work toward making some really diverse styles. Unless you can cool your wort as it ferments, you are open to all kinds of esters - some good, but most not so good and definitely risking compliance with a recipe’s style profile (by that I mean to say its intended taste). It doesn’t mean you can’t drink the beer, it just means that it won’t taste as good as it could. Get a big cooler or make a foam box or use a swamp cooler in the basement (if you have one). A swamp cooler in a hot location really isn’t solving the problem, though, unless you are diligent about using ice bottles or changing the water out frequently in the early portion of the fermentation.

All of the above suggestions are on point and worth following. I wish more homebrewers in my neighborhood group would make better efforts at controlling their fermentation temperatures and then they wouldn’t ask so often “why do you think this beer has this funny taste?” They seem to have fallen in line with making starters, but when asked about their beer’s off style taste, I always hate to repeat myself and let them know that just putting the fermenter in the basement or closet is not sufficient. But it really is not for most beers.

Not being a snob, just passing along what I have experienced frequently. Good luck.

I just came across a used freezer and i bought a temp controller to go with it. After learning more about fermentation temp i noticed the last to batches i made i thought were good might not have been so good after all. I read on post someone said fermenting at high temp causes a beer to take on sour apple like tastes. I went home just yesterday and poured me a glass and really took my time and tasted it. Funny thing is it really does have this sour like taste. I made a pale ale and fermented it at the temp that was in my spare bedroom which was 72-73 degrees. NOW I KNOW BETTER. I built a swamp cooler a few weeks ago out of plywood, teflon, 2’’ foamboard and a bunch of other things i had and i tried it on a 5gal bucket of water and the temp stayed 55 degrees for 3 days without changing the ice.

Impressive swamp cooler! Nice work… I’d like to add to this post regarding “good” vs “bad” beer. Temperature is certainly a huge factor in the flavors yeast will contribute to beer, but it also definitely is not the only factor. Another huge factor is yeast strain. Some yeast strains simply produce more assertive character at and even a little beyond their reccommended upper temperature limits. Some start to produce completely new esters that don’t taste very good. Generally, a yeast strain that imparts alot of flavor like a Belgian or bavarian wheat will simply produce more of that flavor at higher temps, and “clean” strains will get more of that undesirable sour apple or many other possible esters, fusels or phenolics. So it becomes a matter of taste opinion on “good” vs “bad”. Simply stating that ales should be fermented in the mid sixties is way too oversimplified and really doesn’t tell the whole story. Check out the recommended temperature of the yeast strain you are using and think about what the flavor you are trying to achieve. Then you can use temperature to help achieve that flavor. I’ve brewed some really tasty saisons that fermented without temperature control and got up into the mid 80’s. I personally like their funky, bubble gummy esters and nice black pepper like finish. So this thread really isn’t complete without reference to the specific strain. When I ferment a stout or a lighter pale ale, it’s in my temerature controlled fridge. You really have to consider yeast strain and what flavors that strain produces before you can say how a given temperature will affect the flavor of a given beer…

Just my 2 cents…

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