"Heat" character in homebrew...

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by longbongsilver, May 10, 2012.

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  1. longbongsilver

    longbongsilver Disciple (327) Aug 27, 2005 Missouri

    I've noticed sometimes in my creations, both when I was starting out w/ strictly extract & now when I'm incorporating my own grains and hops, the resulting brew has a characteristic that comes off like warmth, but not from alcohol strength (I notice it whether the resulting brew is 10% or 6% ABV). What causes that? Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. That's why I'd like to know where that comes from, so I can control when it appears.
  2. scoppi

    scoppi Initiate (0) Sep 27, 2008 Michigan

    To me that sounds like fusel alcohols created from too high of temperatures during fermentation. Do you control fermentation temps at all, or do you know how warm the beer gets while fermenting?
    dpjosuns likes this.
  3. Beejay

    Beejay Poo-Bah (2,000) Dec 29, 2008 Virginia

    Exactly what I was going to say.
  4. longbongsilver

    longbongsilver Disciple (327) Aug 27, 2005 Missouri

    I ferment at room temp, tbh. Don't have any means of controlling further than the air conditioning. Would love to be able to exactly control it, but AFAIK that costs money I don't have.
  5. dpjosuns

    dpjosuns Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2009 Illinois

    That's probably it. I'm pretty limited in what I can do too, I feel your pain. Are you using a typical 5 gallon carboy or bucket? If so, get a bin of some kind that it will fit in and put water in the bin that's around 65 degrees. If you need to add ice from the freezer or cold water or freeze some 2 liters and add to the water. It's a completely jank-ass system, but its better than fusely beers, IMO. Not too difficult either.
  6. cmmcdonn

    cmmcdonn Initiate (0) Jun 21, 2009 Virginia

    This is what I do. I also wrap a damp towel around the bucket with a fan blowing at it. The same recipes taste much better with temp control.
  7. arkinsparkin

    arkinsparkin Initiate (0) May 12, 2010 Massachusetts

    What exactly is room temp? Also forgive me that I don't understand tbh or afaik.. It's a good idea to find out what the temperature range of the yeast you're using is good for. Also, if you can keep your fermentation location in a place where temperature won't fluctuate more than 4 degrees F. I like to keep a notebook to record mash temps, PH, mash/boil times/temps, ferm temps (stick on fermometer strip on fermentation vessel), OG,FG. It helps when you need to troubleshoot problems, or want to replicate successes. There are some real sharpies on this site who are always willing to share their knowledge, and your notes will provide someone with a trail of breadcrumbs to pin point issues. Brewing is fun, but an investment in both time n money, this site will certainly shorten the learning curve.
  8. cracker

    cracker Disciple (300) May 2, 2004 Pennsylvania

    TBH= to be honest
    AFAIK= as far as I know

    Gotta love internet forum slang....
  9. longbongsilver

    longbongsilver Disciple (327) Aug 27, 2005 Missouri

    68-74, unless my thermostat is off-kilter. These are all ales I'm doing, btw. Fermenters are two Mr Beer kegs, I keep 'em in my walk-in pantry in the corners so light doesn't get in when I open the door.

    I've been checking wort temp with a candy thermometer.
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,351) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Yikes. 74F could result in wort at 80-ish at high krausen. Basically you'd be making rocket fuel with most yeast strains.
    OddNotion likes this.
  11. longbongsilver

    longbongsilver Disciple (327) Aug 27, 2005 Missouri

    You mean it goes UP to that even if the thermometer is giving me 60s range prior to adding yeast?

    I should probably clarify: the thermostat I'm referring to is on my heat/AC unit. It's saying what temperature my apartment is, the thermometer I use for the beer I don't reinsert once fermentation has started because I don't want to contaminate it.
  12. longbongsilver

    longbongsilver Disciple (327) Aug 27, 2005 Missouri

    Did some searching & from the sounds of it, as well as allowing the temperature to get too high during fermentation I compounded the issue in my most recent batch by not cooling the wort fast enough in the first place.
  13. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,351) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Yes, if your apartment is at 'X' degrees F, your wort will come up to apartment temperature, and then it can go higher (X+5 or X+6 possibly) due to the fermentation, which is an exothermic process. This all depends on the timing, how much difference there was between room temp and wort temp when you pitched, how fast the yeast took off at the lower temp vs. how fast the wort is coming up to room temp, etc.

    But the bottom line is that just pitching into cool wort is not reliable temperature control.
  14. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,095) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    Get a stick on thermometer strip for all of your fermenters. It will give you a somewhat close idea to what temperature your beer is at, and use the water in a plastic bin with frozen water bottles. Cheap and effective. I used to use that method before I got my temp controlled fridge.
  15. HerbMeowing

    HerbMeowing Aspirant (270) Nov 10, 2010 Virginia

    Simple solution:
    Two ice chest coolers large enough to hold MrB's LBK.
    You'lll also need freeze 8...22-oz plastic bottles 'filled' with water.

    Start your fermentation with two frozen bottles per cooler...swap out bottles a time or two...then let the LBK free-rise to room-temperature.

    Get and then set a cheap digi-thermometer on the fermentor's lid.
    Aim for L60s until the yeast settles down.
  16. FatSean

    FatSean Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2006 Connecticut

    I'll just chime in and say I do the water bath with frozen bottles of water too. Works well but you really need to keep an eye on it the first day or two after fermentation. Don't want to go to work and come home to find high krausen at 75F temps!

    If you don't have one, get a stick on thermometer for your fermenter. They're only a few bucks and I've found them to be accurate enough to get good beer.
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