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Fermentation too warm... can I save it?

I decided that I would try and make a 5 gallon pumpkin ale after I made the 1 gallon and had some success with it.

The one thing that I did differently with the 1 gallon batch was to wrap the carboy in a tshirt and have the ceiling fan blow on it which made the temp around 68-70 fahrenheit.

For the 5 gallon batch I just had the bucket sitting in some water to try and keep it cool. I am sure the temperature went to 75 or higher.

The main problem is that when I cracked open the lid on the bucket I got hit in the face with a very harsh alcohol smell. I tasted it and it also had a higher taste of alcohol but not too high.

I transferred the beer to a secondary and wrapped it in a wet tshirt sitting in a bath of water.

Is there any way to make this a good beer or should I start over and attempt to keep the temperature down?

(Sorry for the long post)

Thanks for any assistance

Someone is going to say try to let it sit for a while and it may get better. I’m of the opinion that fusel alchohols may fade, but they never leave. I would not waste my time bottling, and or drinking a fusel bomb. Try try again and make sure you have some sort of temp control. :cheers:

By all means though do taste it before you give up on it.

I have a 9% BDSA on tap now that was loaded with fusels right after fermentation. After 2 months of cold conditioning, it’s a damn nice beer and very drinkable. The fusels aged into esters. Of course, there’s no guarantee, but if you have the ability to hang on to it for a while, thee’ a chance it will improve.

Now that I’m kegging I’d probably hang onto it and see what happens. Bottling is such a PITA that I’m not sure I’d put forth the effort if it didn’t taste good.

I’m thinking about doing this over since the temperature outside in Va. is dropping this week. So along with an improvised swamp cooler going it should bring down the temp.

So even though there is a chance that it would be ok in a few months, I really want a good fall brew that doesn’t have any off flavors and I can share it with friends.

Thanks for the responses :cheers:

@ Denny thats interesting that cold-conditioning dropped them so effectively. I wonder if room temp aging would have a better effect? I thought the esterification of alcohols into esters would happen more quickly at higher temps (cellar, not ambient). Thoughts?

Seems like such a waste for a beer that will could possibly turn out just fine eventually.

I’d say work on your temperature control methods and make sure they work before wasting any more ingredients. Remember that even though the ambient temperature may be within range, the temp inside the fermentation vessel will likely be warmer during the active stage. It’s much warmer where the yeast is actively churning away.

The swamp cooler method is great if it’s done right. Humidity doesn’t allow for much evaporative cooling, so even though the temp is lower, it still may not cool effectively. Just a thought.

My swamp cooler method (before I bought a chest freezer) was sitting the carboy in the bathtub with a small amount of water on the bottom, wrapped it with a towel, and switched out ice packs in the tub about twice a day, and finally have a fan blowing on it. I keep my house at about 73 during the summer, so I knew it would be too warm just sitting there without doing anything to cool it. When I tested this, I was able to drop the temp of the carboy down to about 65 without any issues. Yes, it was a little tedious, but it worked. Now I have a chest freezer with a temperature controller set to a nice 65, and I bump it up to 70 towards the end of fermentation.

Either way, good luck!

Yeah, it might have. But I wanted to see what would happen cold. I was kinda surprised, too.

I was able to achieve a temperature of 68 degrees on my 1 gallon batches with just water and a t shirt to wick the water up and a fan to evaporate the water. Do you think it would also need some sort of ice added? Such as freezing a couple of milk jugs and adding in 1 in the morning and changing it out for another in the evening?

[quote=“Loneson79”][quote=“Templar”]
The swamp cooler method is great if it’s done right. Humidity doesn’t allow for much evaporative cooling, so even though the temp is lower, it still may not cool effectively. Just a thought.
[/quote]

I was able to achieve a temperature of 68 degrees on my 1 gallon batches with just water and a t shirt to wick the water up and a fan to evaporate the water. Do you think it would also need some sort of ice added? Such as freezing a couple of milk jugs and adding in 1 in the morning and changing it out for another in the evening?[/quote]

That should definitely work. I used reusable ice packs.

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