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Kevin Caffrey

How Much Should a Temp Fluctuate?

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Hello,

 

First time posting here and I just had a basic question.  Picked up the Mr. Beer North American LBK Kit this past weekend and attempted to brew my first batch.  It started fermenting on Saturday night and I've been attempting to keep it between 68-76 as best I can (in a cooler with some ice/cool water).  For the most part since then it's been around 72/74.  When I woke up this morning, it was up to 78, but I then quickly got it back down to 74.  I'm probably just being a nervous nelly, but will even just going over 76 for a few hours permanently damage the beer?  I'm planning on going with the 3-4 method, and I'm sure I'll get used to maintaining the temperature a little better over the next few days, but I'm just curious if "all is lost" if it goes over (or under for that matter) the recommended temperature for little periods at a time?

 

Thanks!

Kevin

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All is not lost, but temp spikes during peak fermentation often create off flavors.  After the first few days the temp will be cooler.  Shoot for 65 in the future.  Use frozen water bottles in the cooler, not ice and water in a cooler.

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Dumped the ice/water, and using a frozen 2 liter bottle of water in the cooler which seems to have it down around 70.  Hoping I can keep it at this rate or a little bit colder for the rest of the 2 1/2 weeks of fermentation. 

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Thanks for the link.  It seems for the past 12-18 hours, with using two frozen/cold water bottles in the cooler, the temperature is reading around 64-66.  Just keeping an eye on it b/c I don't want it to go too low, but I'm thinking since the first three days of fermentation are over, it's basically going to be easier to keep the temperature down?  One week almost down, two to go!

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Yes, as fermentation slows the temp drops, so you need less frozen bottles to keep the temp where you want it.  

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Dumped the ice/water, and using a frozen 2 liter bottle of water in the cooler which seems to have it down around 70.  Hoping I can keep it at this rate or a little bit colder for the rest of the 2 1/2 weeks of fermentation. 

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One weird thing--but I don't think (or hope!) it will affect the beer--is that I've maybe noticed two or three at the most single drops from the spigot in my cooler over the past 8 days.  So, one tiny dried drop about three days ago in my cooler underneath the spigot, and then one more dried drop yesterday.  Could this have any impact on the beer?

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No.  Take a shot glass full of sanitizer (or a spray bottle) and sanitize the spigot before bottling.

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Follow up with the advice above, I learned the hard way too with the D@mm coolers. If they are aged more ice is needed but I stabilized good with frozen 16 oz water bottles.

 

I suppose an oversize leaky cooler might like a 1 liter ice bottle but we live and learn. Stay away from cold ice water in the cooler it may invite more bugs. Keep the cooler clean.

 

My conditioning temps are right on now with no Ice at all so Two more batches are coming tomorrow.

 

Lets Make Beer!!!!

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House temp is about 76 most of the time, so during the day, I am putting one frozen half-filled 2-liter bottle and one full 20-ounce bottle to keep my ambient air temp around 62° F and just one half-filled frozen 2-liter bottle at night. I think for the last few days on this batch (while dry-hopping) I am going to let temps come up to 65-68 or so, see if I can keep them there.

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Yes - last few days I've just been using one frozen bottle of water or one small 4" frozen travel ice pack and it's been between 68 & 72.  It helps that the overall temperature here in Fredericksburg, VA has dropped to the high 60s/low 70s these past few days.

 

10 more days until I can bottle!

 

Thinking ahead (and hoping that my first batch comes out even as good as a Miller Lite -- I know, I have the lowest of low expectations), what's the suggestion for a good fall beer to brew with Mr. Beer?

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Yes - last few days I've just been using one frozen bottle of water or one small 4" frozen travel ice pack and it's been between 68 & 72.  It helps that the overall temperature here in Fredericksburg, VA has dropped to the high 60s/low 70s these past few days.

 

Just remember - in the peak of fermentation, wort temps can be 6-8 degrees warmer than ambient air temp. Try to keep your wort in the mid-60s if you can, which for me, means keeping ambient air temp at 59-60 (which is possible with two 2-liter bottles of ice), at least for the first week. Then, for the last two weeks, I try to keep air temp at 65 or so.

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Thinking ahead (and hoping that my first batch comes out even as good as a Miller Lite -- I know, I have the lowest of low expectations), what's the suggestion for a good fall beer to brew with Mr. Beer?

 

It really depends on what you like to drink. What's your preferred "football beer"?

 

I personally would go with a porter. I have one lined up for later, but I am still focusing on summer beers right now.

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I would go look at recipes/refills based on what beer you like, unless by fall beer you are limited in temperature for fermentation.

As suggested here, try the basic ones first to get a feel before getting exotic.

 

So any of the deluxe refills are easy - there are a lot of styles to pick from, and if you want a bit more hoppy, it is easy to make it that way.

If you like the lighter beers, then the Classic Light, or Aztec or Canadian or Pilsner with booster  will make a light flavored, refreshing  beer.

More malty? add the extra LME pack for the deluxe version instead of (or for a stronger beer, as well as) the booster .

More hoppy? add 0.5 oz  hop  in a bag to the boiling water when you take it off the heat.

 

For method look at recipe e.g. 1776. I like that one.

 

For stronger style use the craft or seasonal refills or add more stuff to the basic refills.

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St Patricks Irish stout was pitched @ 55^F When making two batches it helps to have 4 gallons of chilled water. I pitched the T-58 Belgian batch at close to 70^F. No fruits and less dextrose more grains and hops (WOW) is thus great!!!!!

 

It took quite a while to get it close to cooler temp but the yeast were very active. The T-05 for the Irish Stout was normal but lazier than anticipated. Good OG and nice after taste.

 

4th of july will be here soon enough

 

post-65304-0-23621900-1433472543_thumb.j

 

I am considering the age of the yeast because I had different readings from the last two batches. (Good Though)

Even with all the input help I have here the coolers are a real pain. I like the fermentation to be happy but the temp control still bothers me.

 

Cheers, M

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It really depends on what you like to drink. What's your preferred "football beer"?

 

I personally would go with a porter. I have one lined up for later, but I am still focusing on summer beers right now.

 

In the fall, usually an Oktoberfest or a Marzen.

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Well, you can start those now as a lager takes more time, or you could make a lager-like ale using the same ingredients. I plan on doing exactly that in about a month, an Oktoberbeast if you will, but I need some conditioning time as it's going to be a pretty big beer.

 

 :)

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Yesterday was the day - bottled my first brew!  After three weeks of fermentation, the taste test went as planned (came out clearer than I thought it would, which I'm assuming is a good thing) and tasted exactly like flat beer.  Followed the sanitation steps for the resusable plastic bottles and they're stored comfortably in a cooler at around 70 degrees.  Going to condition them for 4 weeks like that, then chill for two days, and give it a shot.  It's the Classic American Light if anyone has any other tips as far as conditioning that goes...

 

Followed the cleaning instructions as well for the LBK.  After reading other experiences here, I just went with a TINY bit of the palmolive liquid soap I had, warm water, and a clean cloth.  Rinsed thoroughly and there was no soap odor.  There was a SLIGHT yeast odor which I think is normal, but this morning I smelled it again and rinsed out the LBK again with the tiniest amount of soap and warm water and it seemed to have gotten nearly all the traces of the yeast out of the barrel.

 

So...now the waiting begins!  Wish I had a slightly more exciting "first" brew, but at least if it comes out OK I'll be optimistic for the future.

 

Planning on brewing the Oktoberfest or maybe the Bewitched Amber (any preference among anyone?) at the end of July so it's ready by mid-September.

 

So far, this has been a really enjoyable experience.  Even with having to swap frozen water bottles in and out of the cooler every 12 hours.  :)

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Congrats on bottling the first. A major achievement.

Don't forget to start another timed ready for when the bottles are empty or preferably - get more bottles and brew another right now! :lol:

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Yes, being the only drinker in the house, I know I won't go through the whole case of American Light by the time I'm ready to bottle the Oktoberfest in August, so I'll be picking up some more of the reusable plastic bottles.  Is that what most people use by and large?  The glass bottle/capping process seems more trouble than it's worth if I'm just going to be brewing one batch at a time primarily for myself.

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Yes, being the only drinker in the house, I know I won't go through the whole case of American Light by the time I'm ready to bottle the Oktoberfest in August, so I'll be picking up some more of the reusable plastic bottles. Is that what most people use by and large? The glass bottle/capping process seems more trouble than it's worth if I'm just going to be brewing one batch at a time primarily for myself.

You say that now... :lol: I started out brewing one batch, then another. Then two at once - because I yearned for CHOICE. I grew my pipeline to 17 different beers at one time. Now down to 12. Do I want a red (two to pick from), or a brown (two more to pick from), or a stout (with our without peanut butter flavor), or a wheat (Blue Moon or a fruit wheat), or one of the two White House brews (Honey Ale and Honey Porter), or a fruit beer (Raspberry Octoberfest or St. Valentine's Cherries in Honey).

Before I brewed we had ONE kind of beer in the house, at most TWO. I like choice. Also, I only drink 3 - 6 beers per week.

The PET bottles are nice as they are reusable, and even when the caps wear out you can replace them with standard soda bottle caps. They used to come in 1 liter sizes, now only 3/4 liter and 1/2 liter (via the Mr. Beer site).

Some people only want 12 oz at a time, and don't want to have another one tomorrow. For them, 12 oz bottles may be preferable. I started with two sets of 1 liter, then got two sets of 1/2 liter. Then, when I ramped up my pipeline I switched to glass - because they are $.10 each (deposit in Michigan). I use a blend - this last batch (5 gallon) I did four 1 liter bottles, two 1/2 liter bottles (I compare batches with these later), and thirty-five 12 oz glass bottles.

The only additional equipment you need is a capper (I got a bench capper) and caps (as little as 1.5 cents each).

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You say that now...   :lol:   I started out brewing one batch, then another.  Then two at once - because I yearned for CHOICE.  I grew my pipeline to 17 different beers at one time.  Now down to 12.  Do I want a red (two to pick from), or a brown (two more to pick from), or a stout (with our without peanut butter flavor), or a wheat (Blue Moon or a fruit wheat), or one of the two White House brews (Honey Ale and Honey Porter), or a fruit beer (Raspberry Octoberfest or St. Valentine's Cherries in Honey).

 

Before i brewed we had ONE kind of beer in the house, at most TWO.  I like choice.  Also, I only drink 3 - 6 beers per week.

 

The PET bottles are nice as they are reusable, and even when the caps run out you can replace them with standard soda bottle caps.  They used to come in 1 liter sizes, now only 3/4 liter and 1/2 liter (via the Mr. Beer site).

 

Some people only want 12 oz at a time, and don't want to have another one tomorrow.  For them, 12 oz bottles may be preferable.  I started with two sets of 1 liter, then got two sets of 1/2 liter.  Then, when I ramped up my pipeline I switched to glass - because they are $.10 each (deposit in Michigan).  I use a blend - this last batch (5 gallon) I did four 1 liter bottles, two 1/2 liter bottles (I compare batches with these later), and thirty-five 12 oz glass bottles.  

 

The only additional equipment you need is a capper (I got a bench capper) and caps (as little as 1.5 cents each).

 

 

Thanks for the advice re: bottling.  Yes, I could definitely see myself increasing my choices a bit....17 seems a bit ambitious!  I still envision picking up the occasional craft six-pack to supplmenet the home brew, but who knows....

 

I probably drink 3-4 beers/week most of the year.  Football season, that goes up a bit to 6-8/week.

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Yes, being the only drinker in the house, I know I won't go through the whole case of American Light by the time I'm ready to bottle the Oktoberfest in August, so I'll be picking up some more of the reusable plastic bottles.  Is that what most people use by and large?  The glass bottle/capping process seems more trouble than it's worth if I'm just going to be brewing one batch at a time primarily for myself.

 

I like glass bottles.  just a personal preference.  I used the PET bottles on my first batch of CAL, then switched to glass.  I bought some swing top 16 oz bottles, and started collecting any pop top bottles I got.  Most popular are Sam Adams and Weyerbacher for me, the labels come off easily too.  Also Weihenstephaner bottles, Hoegaarden bottles, and basically any bottle that is capped (except twist offs - some use these but some say not to) and, that has a label that comes off relatively easily.  Capping isn't too bad really, and I collected some case boxes from the local liquor store so storing in those is terribly convenient.

 

I think it really comes down to personal preference, probably quantity too.  Like Rick, I like a variety, therefore I need supplies for maybe 7-12 batches being carbed/conditioned at various stages.  I've bottled 6 batches, and have 5 of the six left (first wheat beer when quick).  I'll probably have two more batches bottled before I come close to closing out an earlier brew.  

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Planning on brewing the Oktoberfest or maybe the Bewitched Amber (any preference among anyone?) at the end of July so it's ready by mid-September.

 

So far, this has been a really enjoyable experience.  Even with having to swap frozen water bottles in and out of the cooler every 12 hours.  :)

Congrats.

 

My preference is towards the Bewitched Amber ale, but that's me. You should brew what you like. I'm getting ready to brew a pumpkin spice ale to be complete by the first weekend of October. Somehow that sounds nice with the temps getting colder and the leaves falling. Nice to have a seasonal ale like that when you are out in the yard raking leaves! :D

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Congrats.

 

My preference is towards the Bewitched Amber ale, but that's me. You should brew what you like. I'm getting ready to brew a pumpkin spice ale to be complete by the first weekend of October. Somehow that sounds nice with the temps getting colder and the leaves falling. Nice to have a seasonal ale like that when you are out in the yard raking leaves! :D

 

I hear ya.  I like pumpkin ales so thinking of brewing that in early September after the Oktoberfest has been bottled so it'll be ready for Halloween-Christmas.

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I bottled this one 10 days ago:  http://www.mrbeer.com/pumpkin-rising-recipe

one of the reviews said to condition for 6 months, so I wanted to get at least close to that by the fall.  

Also, I used a hop sack with whole spices, rather than mulling spices, so we'll see how that turns out. 

spices

whole cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.  
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I did get some bottles, but I also got another brew kit with keg and bottles (and CAL HME)  -   as posted, look for them on sale or cheap online or even in stores if you live near one that stocks them and save postage. I am now up to 4 LBKs, an 8LX and  maybe 100 + PET bottles - I m told I am obsessed B)

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got 3 going- all 5 gals... one each sunday for the last 3 weeks. ive had to brew indoor though I swore I never would again due to the electric stove being a pos.  I just boil longer to compensate for a feeble boil strength.

 

the nut brown with us05 was a slow , steady, low blanket of krausen ferment.

the chocolate milk stout with us04 went positively ape poop crazy and nearly blew the lid off.. super vigorous .. hard to maintain steady temps. oh well, sometimes apple flavor in a stout is tolerable. counting on the lactose and nibs to balance it out.

 

the scotch 90 shilling ale I started Monday morning with wlp-28.... holy cow. the starter was a slow steady muncher. I let it ride for 48 hrs and at high krausen the foam was a nice dense blanket about 1/2 inch tall.  no volcano so I thought I would get the same results in the fermenter. was I wrong! pitched a little warm... the whole starter. in less than 12 hours the thing was spewing foam and burping like a freight train.  in 24 hours after a brief nap,  the yeast started going mad again burping out foam... gradually it slowed to an airlock burp every half second and has stopped puking.  temps have been really hard to keep consistent with this guy. temps keep bouncing from 65f to 72f.    I'm probably going to get tons of red apple esters... which I don't mind. it should balance the slightly over caramelized malt I added... fingers crossed.

 

the odd thing about the wlp028 Edinburgh yeast... after the yeast ate all the starter malt it compacted into a dense...super dense pile on the bottom of the beaker. I had to agitate the crap out of it to get it to break up... and keep agitating it. I guess they figured 'aint no more food so we're napping and you cant stop us!'.  I think I like this yeast.

 

sometimes temp swings happen despite our best efforts at control....

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I bottled this one 10 days ago:  http://www.mrbeer.com/pumpkin-rising-recipe

one of the reviews said to condition for 6 months, so I wanted to get at least close to that by the fall.  

Also, I used a hop sack with whole spices, rather than mulling spices, so we'll see how that turns out. 

 
whole cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.  

 

 

cowboykyle,

 

Thanks. Now I have a dilemma. I was going to do http://www.mrbeer.com/pumpkin-spice-ale-recipe with the pilsner HME. I didn't even see the BAA recipe that you posted. I won't have an LBK available for another 2 weeks and I also read the review that stated at least 6 months conditioning. Decisions, decisions!! :(

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I'm sure the czech pilsner makes a nice pumpkin beer too!  I'm sure you won't be disappointed!  I will eventually get to that one as well as the pumpkin weissbier!  

 

such is the fun in variety!  

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I just sampled one of my czeck pilsners the other day. I hopped it with Liberty @ flame out + 1LME and 0.5cup  Dextrose.

 

It came up as a light with complex flavor. Not off but not Oktoberfest either. Perfect summer blend. A nottingham 0-4 might hav complimented this but I was absent for some of the cooler monitoring and the temp spiked for some time. I have 3 in the fridge now after 5 weeks conditioning.

 

I use the bottle n cap method for the richer higher ABV  as higher carb yeast activity is to be expected. The Plastic Pets are easier to clean and save work. I use them on lower ABV batches.

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Thanks for the advice re: bottling.  Yes, I could definitely see myself increasing my choices a bit....17 seems a bit ambitious!  I still envision picking up the occasional craft six-pack to supplmenet the home brew, but who knows....

 

I probably drink 3-4 beers/week most of the year.  Football season, that goes up a bit to 6-8/week.

I to only drink a few a week, but at 3-4 beers a week your 11 (assuming the kits 750ml) bottles will be gone before the next batch is done fermenting, especially when you share with friends. My first reorder included extra bottles. Trying to time the completion of fermentation with the availability of the original 11 bottles and then having to endure another 4 weeks of conditioning was more than this impatient guy could handle. I now brew 2 batches at a time and have enough bottles for about 8 batches.

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I'm going to pick up another 12 or 16 740ml reusable plastic bottles and I think (at least for now) brew a new batch in the LBK after I'm done bottling the previous batch. I think that should allow me to always have enough bottles when it comes time to condition, and will also allow me to build up some variety. I lucked out by picking up the Classic American Light kit at Sears on clearance for $12 last month. Pretty great price considering what came in it.

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It's been a week now since I closed the little keg. I can see into it with a flashlight and the foam is gone and has been for a couple of days.

In reading all the posts I thought that the first week or so the wort would be warm and more difficult to cool. Until the foam disappeared the temps would fluctuate between 58 and 65. Most of the time at the low end. Not that it's settled down it seems to be heating up. Where before the same amount of ice would keep it a 58-62 now keeps it at 65. I guess 65 is OK but I'm just wondering why. 

Is the temp really critical now? Am I OK with a 62 - 68 fluctuation? 

Thanks for all the help...

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temp control is most critical during the first 3-5 days of fermentation.  when the yeast are busiest eating and making babies , that is where esters are developed that can make beer great or odd.  

 

if you are using an ale yeast.. . . after week 1 , your temps of an average 65-68 are fine imo.

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Just a couple of days away from chilling a bottle of my first batch of CAL. The PET bottles or more or less rock hard and when turning a bottle upside down, it looks like a normal carbonated beer would. Bottled them on 6/14 and they've been conditioning at a temperature of about 74-76 these past couple of weeks. Still optimistic that it will come out tasting good since I was pretty fastidious with the instructions (and by paying attention to the advice of posters on this board) -- but who knows! The sample from the LBK tasted like tasty flat beer, so...I guess it has that going for it!

My second batch of Oktoberfest will be ready to bottle on 7/17, and going to try the Horse's Ass Ale recipe for my third batch.

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Just a couple of days away from chilling a bottle of my first batch of CAL. The PET bottles or more or less rock hard and when turning a bottle upside down, it looks like a normal carbonated beer would. Bottled them on 6/14 and they've been conditioning at a temperature of about 74-76 these past couple of weeks. Still optimistic that it will come out tasting good since I was pretty fastidious with the instructions (and by paying attention to the advice of posters on this board) -- but who knows! The sample from the LBK tasted like tasty flat beer, so...I guess it has that going for it!

My second batch of Oktoberfest will be ready to bottle on 7/17, and going to try the Horse's Ass Ale recipe for my third batch.

 

That should be avoided.  You're stirring up the trub in the bottle.  Leave them be.  Refrigerate your first for 3 days and try it out.

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That should be avoided.  You're stirring up the trub in the bottle.  Leave them be.  Refrigerate your first for 3 days and try it out.

Yes, I don't plan to do that with future batches -- I realized I'm probably "disturbing" things by doing it, but I've only done it sparingly over the past 3 1/2 weeks. Still learning...

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