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JimH

Fusel Alchohols Question

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The last batch I bottled was one that had me worried. I was using some frozen water bottles to maintain temps on previous batches, and it was working well. With this batch, it got out of hand. It was hot here and I even was on vacation for 3 days (although, not until after about 2 weeks so primary fermentation was done). Temps got into the 80s a couple of times. I was pretty sure I would have significant amounts of fusels, and the sample at bottling, I thought I tasted them. I was chatting the other day with the Nong, and he assured me it would be okay. I believed him and trusted his wisdom and tried a bottle. Nong, was right again, no fusels. So, now I am confused. I thought fermenting too high would for sure lead to fusels and off flavors (which this batch, with MB yeast developed a slight clove flavor? what?). So, does fusel come from high temps, or am I wrong? I get the off flavors, but I was more worried about fusels. So far, that is why I stuck with S-05, since it can go a little higher in the temp range.
On the plus side, I now have a soft sided cooler that can hold an LBK plus some water bottles and maintain temps. I can't get close to lagering, but at the very least I can deviate from the S-05 and perhaps try some other yeasts.

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Jim are you living in the empty side of my house and living my beer brewing experience? :P

I did the Mr. Beer Oval Office Honey Amber with honey malt instead of honey as the first batch of the warm season and was horrified on morning five to open the cooler lid and see my temp strip reading 82.

We think the bottling day sample tasted of fusel (hot alcohol) and so it is sitting on the shelf for several months. It has been there a while now so all I remember is the fusel and not other off flavors. I guess I could throw one in the fridge for two days and check it.

We seem to be at the same stage in that we are entering our first warm (hot,hot,hot) brewing season and discovering that there are new challenges.

You have my empathy and support throughout the summer months. I want you to know that you are not alone.

I am noticing on the :borg: that new brewer questions are also tending towards temp related issues and I bet it happens every year. Gee don't you think the noobs should be voting for Borg Mom?

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Sure sounds like it! Seems like it gets warm here in these Southern/Southwestern states.
I say try one. I was pretty sure I had made nail polish remover when I bottled. It was only 2 weeks in the bottle when I tried one. No fusels, and in doing some research through the Google machine I found some contradictory statements about whether they will condition or not, but most seemed to think that fusels will condition out, to a certain extent. So, if you didn't get too much fusel, some or most of it will condition out.
Not only is this my first summer as a brewer, this was my first summer living in this house, so I had no idea how hot it would get in here. But we are finally getting monsoon rains, so its cooling off some during the hottest times of the day.

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I think what saved you is the temp didn't get out of hand until the fermentation had 2 weeks under its belt.

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"gophers6" post=385163 said:

I think what saved you is the temp didn't get out of hand until the fermentation had 2 weeks under its belt.

This ^^^^^^^^^. By the time it got hot, you were probably already at FG. The yeast were done eating sugars and reproducing.

If that had happened two days into your ferment, you would likely have had real problems.

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"BigFloyd" post=385171 said:

"gophers6" post=385163 said:

I think what saved you is the temp didn't get out of hand until the fermentation had 2 weeks under its belt.

This ^^^^^^^^^. By the time it got hot, you were probably already at FG. The yeast were done eating sugars and reproducing.

If that had happened two days into your ferment, you would likely have had real problems.

That makes sense to me. Active fermentation was over (for the most part) and it was just in clean up stage at that point.

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"Brewbirds" post=385158 said:


I am noticing on the :borg: that new brewer questions are also tending towards temp related issues and I bet it happens every year.

Yea. I did my first batch a few weeks ago and the temps in the basement were fine.

The hot spell hit (about 3 days in) and it got 78-80° down there. I HAD NO IDEA. It always feels cool!

So yea... cooler experimental time for this newbie...

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Well, I think my new cooler will make it unnecessary to worry about it in the future, but it was definitely on the plus side of 75 during primary fermentation. That little MB thermometer didn't work (it's blank most of the time). I tried rotating bottles as often as I could, but they would melt before I got home and it got warm. Don't know the LBK temps, but the thermo sitting on the lid read 78 a couple times.

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From my understanding the fusel alcohols are mostly a concern from the early part of the fermenting process with the first 48 hours being the biggest key. If the temperature climbs too high in the last little bit of fermentation or the time frame when the yeasts are cleaning up it isn't a big deal.

Some people will even bring their temperatures up pretty high at the end to try and help get more sugars converted.

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