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Temp questions on Secondary

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by LAWbrewing, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. LAWbrewing

    LAWbrewing Zealot (90) Wisconsin Nov 23, 2010

    I racked an IPA to secondary today to free up my primary and also do some dry hopping. WLP001 spent 16 days in primary at 70° (±1°).

    I brewed this beer off-site, i.e., at a friend's house, and had to keep it on the kitchen counter (covered, of course) in order to maintain acceptable fermentation temps. In order to give he and his family back some prime countertop real estate, I took the secondary down into the basement where temps seem to hover in the mid- to upper-50s.

    After researching previous threads, I found some interesting feedback on dry hopping at lagering temps, e.g., ales in the keg or dry hopping actual lagers, but nothing on 56-59°. Thoughts?
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    Assuming the yeast were done cleaning up their byproducts, you should have no issues with those temps. Theoretically, it should take a little longer to extract the same amount of flavor/aroma from the hops as compared to room temp. Many people say the difference is negligible. I've never done an A/B comparsion, so I can't say for sure.
  3. LAWbrewing

    LAWbrewing Zealot (90) Wisconsin Nov 23, 2010

    Thanks for the reply, VM.

    Gravity leveled out for sure and I don't trust my palate enough yet to pick up on subtle off-flavors. Are there other ways to tell if the yeast is done with clean up?
  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    For homebrewers, tasting/smelling is the only way. My guess is that after 16 days, you are fine.
  5. LAWbrewing

    LAWbrewing Zealot (90) Wisconsin Nov 23, 2010

    I just found out from my friend that his kitchen was probably a few degrees cooler than I had thought. I saw it at a party and it was 70°. But, he said average temps over the last couple of weeks were more like 66° than 70°. Unfortunately, this is 2° shy of the bottom of WLP001's fermentation range. Hm...

    I did see an additional .2 °Bx shaved off final gravity, which I did not expect. But, according to the calculators I used, I am and was at expected FG. In short, I'm not concerned fermentation is not complete. I am wondering, though, what cooler-than-desired primary fermentation might mean for flavor?

    [I must note, though, that my carboy was shrouded in its box which likely kept it warmer than ambient temp so it may well have spent the glory days within the range... Still, the question about fermenting low stands.]
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    The important temp for fermentation is the temp of the wort, which would have been a few degrees above the ambient temp. When you see recommended fermentation temps, they are referring to the wort. With an ambient temp of 66F, chances are your wort peaked somewhere around 71-72. But even if the actual wort temp was 66F, WLP001 can work fine in that range.

    In general, lower fermentation temps result in less fruity esters in the beer, i.e. a 'cleaner' fermentation.