After brewing for many years I have finally purchased a chest freezer and temperature controller to improve my beer. Space dictates that my chest freezes is compact and only holds one bucket at a time. I have read that days 1 to 3 are most critical for temperature control which makes sense if the majority of fermentation takes place at that time. With that said what is the min amount of time one should keep beer (or wort) in a controlled temperature? What is ideal and what is good enough? I ask because if I want to brew a week after my last session I am wondering if it would be ok to move the first beer into room temp after only a week?
For an ale at normal gravities a week should be plenty of time. Lagers and high-gravity beers may need a little longer.
I believe it depends on which yeast you’re using and what ambient temp the beer would be exposed to after removal from the freezer. If for example, you’re controlling the temp in the freezer at 66F for an ale of average gravity, and then a few days later you move it into an environment where the steady ambient temp is 70F–that should generally be fine. If you move it into an environment that’s outside the yeast’s happy zone or where the temp fluctuates wildly, I could see that being problematic.
Once the active krausen dies down you should be okay - how long will depend on the yeast and wort. The idea is that too high a temp gives the early ferment too much energy and the yeast produces more esters and whatever else than it can go back and clean up later. I think I’d give another day or two after the most active phase - it might kick back up a little in a warmer environment. Like KCBS said, you still want to keep it within the yeasts proper range.