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ttpratt

Low temperatures & fermentation

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Because of this extremely cold weather my heat pump is having trouble keeping up.  I started my first ever batch of beer last Sunday and while I managed to keep the temperature about 68 - 70 this morning (day 5 of fermentation) the temperature was 62 in my kitchen, which is where I have the fermenter.  Is everything lost or can I still get an acceptable fermentation.  The temperature is back up to 68 now.  Thanks for all comments and advice.

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I'm a noob but from what I understand you are better off getting it too cold than too hot. Too cold and the yeast goes to sleep and too hot and it dies. I think the exceptable temperature range is somewhere between 32 F and 109 F. But again I am noob so don't take my word for it. In your example I wouldn't worry, just let it warm back up. 62 F isn't cold enough to put the yeast to sleep, they may have just been a little more sluggish during that time. And apparently you want to avoid major temperature fluctuation because it causes off flavors and too hot will make it cidery. 

I hear ya though, it was -4 F here this morning. I think I have a handle on it for now but the challenge will be this summer cooling the things. I think warming the kegs is easier than cooling them is going to be. 

What I do to warm mine is fill a 2 liter bottle (or coffee creamer can) up with hot water and sit it beside the LBK. I have my LBKs enclosed though. You can also use a heating pad (get them cheap at the drug store) to heat them up. 

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I use my extra shower room as a fermentation room. my house is always around 66f.   I have fermented ales in a chiller box with ice bottles to keep the temp around 62f.  youre fine.


yeast are tough little buggars. now if you let the temp drop to 50 something with ale yeast, they would probably just go to sleep until they warmed up again.


if you were using lager yeast, they like to ferment at low temps.


relax.  youre fine. it takes an awful lot to totally screw up a batch of beer. as long as you sanitize stuff, give them things to eat, and keep temps relatively stable in the 'happy' range... you will have beer.


 

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Best thing you can do is keep the temperature consistent, but if it's consistently cool (and this yeast likes it at 67*-68*), I would suggest warming it several degrees toward the end of fermentation to help the yeast metabolize their sweat. You'll have a better finish and fewer off flavors that way, but again, wait until the krausen is falling to raise the temp.

If you can't control your temps very well, you'll still make beer. Just know that if you really decide to make brewing a serious hobby, temperature control is one of the most important factors in making beers that can win awards.

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 I live in tropical south Florida, so it's always warm and we only keep the house cooled to 77 degrees. I found out the hard way that it's too warm for fermenting beer. So I dug out my old Igloo 12 volt cooler that's been buried in the garage for years. I bought a 110 volt adapter for it so I could use it in the house, and I rigged a digital thermostat (actually for an aquarium) to it to control the temp. Works great. It only reads out in Celcius, so I set it to 19 degrees and let it go.  It'll maintain the temperature to within 1 degree of it's set temp.  The cooler is also capable of warming, so this setup will solve both problems.  I've done several batches of beer in it now, and they've all been good.

The last one was a modified version of Peregrine's Perch IPA.  I used cascade hops instead of falconers.  Awesome hoppy beer! 

Rick

 

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TT, I have all of my equipment set up in my basement and it is a constant 61 degrees down there. I was extremely worried about the temperature being too low, at first, and even thought about buying a space heater but read a lot of posts and concluded that it was no biggie. So far, my results have been favorable. The room stays around 61 and the first couple of days of fermentation result in a LBK temp of about 63-65 degrees (I bought a couple of adhesive/aquarium thermometers at the local brew shop for about $2.00/each). At this temperature range I'm seeing the expected results within 24-48 hours: Krausen buildup on top of the beer and trub at the bottom.

Good luck!

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I just bought an aquarium sticker from Walmart and the thing doesn't even show what temp my beer is fermenting at? Pretty frustrated unless it takes a day or so to figure the temperature out. And the worst part is it doesn't even go below 66F (realized that after I bought it). So either my beer is under 66F which is unlikely bc we keep the room tem at like 77 - 80 or the thing doesn't work.


Is the sticker meant to be on glass only or something?


A meat thermo in a bottle of water in same area says 70F so its confusing as to why the sticker doesn't have a reading


 


Kinda wishing I had the free one mailed by now from Mr. Beer. I guess they said it could take up to 6 weeks but come on. And even then Ive heard lots of ppl on here say to get an aquarium one and that Mr Beers aren't that good.

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try shining a light on the thermometer to see if anything turns green. that is what mine do, they are aquarium thermometers. I usually have to shine my iPhone flash at them to see the green even in the daytime. mine goes from 64-86. 

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I tried it, didn't really do anything tho. Kind of a waste or 3 or 4 bucks, Ill maybe get one from a Brewer Outlet see if its any different. Thanks tho

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the ones I got are called Penn Plax and they have a little seahorse on them, they work as well as the ones Mr Beer sells. 

Also try this to see if it is working at all, hold your hand against it for a few seconds then remove it and watch to see if anything shows up. 

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RR~ I picked up my thermometers at a LHBS and they display from 82F down to 39F in stages. They seem to be fairly sensitive and the temps are illuminated pretty clearly (see pics).

As far as the free thermometer goes, if it is anything like my free one, it has 3 displays. Basically, it shows too hot to pitch, too low to pitch, and a check mark for an optimum yeast pitching temperature zone.

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here is the ones I use on my LBKs they are aquarium thermometers. 

9lewyr.jpg

and here is the ones that come with the Mr Beer kits and they sell here

2vvnx47.jpg

and here is the free one

29ooffp.jpg

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Ya I think the temp strip I bought must not be sensitive enough, the name brand is marina. The only time it shows colour is if I press my finger against it for a min and it can detect my body heat. Im just going to have to wait this one out. Thanx for the help tho guys

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Jerry~ Looks like you ace'd out on one of the thermometers. Hopefully it ends up being accurate!

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My house is a little colder then the ideal temps so I have my LBK wrapped in an electric blanket and I turn it on on low for about 5 minutes before I go to bed at night.

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