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Timbier

My ferment temperature got too high! What do now?

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Well this is one rookie move on my part. Like the Fedora I too got a little side tracked and may have ruined 2 batches, a Brown Seasonal and my very first Blonde Ale. Here in the west we’ve been having a very cool summer 58º degrees at night and 75º-80º during the day. Well needless to say the a/c has been off. Well to make a short story short… It got hot yesterday and when I got home 4 hours late from work I checked my brews and the little sticker gauges were reading 80º and barely 82º. Well I changed the ice bottles and quickly brought the temps down, right now they are around 70º-72º.

Are these batches worth saving? They’ve only been fermenting 7 days now. Will they give off flavors? What do now? Thanks :unsure:

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I've been doing a lot of reading on the forums, and similar situations such as this always garnered a reponse of "let it ride."

I bet if any off flavors are generated, they will be so slight you won't even notice.

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If you have a cooler, you can place the keg it it and drape the keg with a wet t-shirt. Continue on with your brewing, remember(2/2/2).The temps were high for only a few hours.You will have some great beer in a couple weeks.

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Being a newby, I can only tell you what I've read on this forum. Get the temp stabilized and continue as usual. You may have to condition them in the bottle a little longer, but I think you will be fine. I'll bet those yeasties were having quite the party.

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Before fermenting in a fridge, I placed a wet car shammy over my kegs, and added water daily. My house thermostat was set at 75, yet my keg temps were 66-68 degrees. Be careful where you place the kegs though. I almost ruined our dining room table because of condensation under my keg (even though I had them sitting on cookie sheet). Good thing though. As a result, my wife quickly approved the purchase of a fridge. :)
resized_photo-20100902.JPG

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What was the ambient temp? I ask because my brews have been done with the wild and wooley part of fermentation after 4-5 days and I can relax a bit on the temp control measures. If the keg temps were rising to ambient instead of an exothermic spike of ferment temp I would not be concerned at all. One way or another you will have beer.

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packerduf wrote:

Before fermenting in a fridge, I placed a wet car shammy over my kegs, and added water daily. My house thermostat was set at 75, yet my keg temps were 66-68 degrees. Be careful where you place the kegs though. I almost ruined our dining room table because of condensation under my keg (even though I had them sitting on cookie sheet). Good thing though. As a result, my wife quickly approved the purchase of a fridge. :)
resized_photo-20100902.JPG

It must be suppertime, the kids are at the table wearing their bibs! :)

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Sham Addams wrote:

It must be suppertime, the kids are at the table wearing their bibs! :)


TOO FUNNY!!!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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If I understand correctly, your temperature was good for 5 or 6 days and only went too high for about half a day.

So, here is the thing: most of the off-flavors which come through because of high temperatures will occur during the first couple of days when the yeasties are reproducing (growth phase).

Most of the rest of the off-flavors come early in the hot and heavy fermentation.

My experience is that this is almost always done in 3 or 4 days (at least with the yeasts I use).

In fact, I try to pitch at the lower end of the yeast's suggested temperature range (which is about 60 for my preferred yeasts), and only really actively try to keep the temperatures in check for a couple of days. Then, I keep the beer in my cooler, but don't changes out water bottles so, by day 5 (or so), I have let the beer go to around 70.

After that, I let the beer get as warm as it wants. Its in my basement, which doesn't really get over 75 (but remember, my yeast works at lower temps than Mr. Beer's).

Anyway ... moral of the story ... if your temps were under control for 5 days, you should really be ok for an ale. For my yeasts, I would say the same thing if you had only kept the temp under control for 3 days. I have not done a beer with Mr. Beer yeast in awhile, but I think it ferments a little slower ... at least with only one packet.

So... RDWHAHB ... you should be fine (just what everyone else said ... only I said it with more words).

:chug:

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For Mr. Beer recipes using the yeast types available on their web site, including dry and liquid ale yeasts, the temperature range is between 68-76F. I try to get my wort temperature down to about 70F before I pitch the yeast and then keep it at 70F for the entire fermentation and carbonation stages.

For the first 3-5 days the fermenting beer inside the keg can reach up to 5F warmer than the surrounding room air temperature. In the warmer months I use a small window air conditioner with a built in digital thermostat set to 68-70F to regulate the room temperature and in turn the beer temperature. The room is 14x14 and I keep the air conditioner fan set to run continuously, to keep a steady air flow moving over the kegs.

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I agree with everyone that you will be OK. With my first brew back in June I didn't have air conditioning in the new house yet and I struggled to keep my keg in the 76-78 degree range and a couple of times it went into the low 80's. I just followed the 2-2-2 procedure and it turned out great. Actually, my favorite tasting brew so far!
Brew on, friend.

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Okay, so ESheppy's answer was almost exactomundo what I would say. But there are a few points I will add.

First, NOT a newbie mistake...has happend to me twice in the last week. Once very strange, since the beer was way past the explosive part, and it's siblings (all three brewed in the same weekend) were sitting happily at 70. No clue, but it is not newbie.

Second, since, as was pointed out, the bad stuff related to high temps happens in the early days, any bad effects you suffer will be absored fairly well by the brown ale as simply adding more complexity. It may not taste the same as it would have, but I expect it will still taste fine. As for the blonde...well, now it has become a Belgian Blonde. Seriously. Depending on the yeast you used, that may very well be close to where you end up.

That late in the game, definitely ride it out. But, having just emerged last week from lots of riding it out, here is my parting comment. With age, complex malt contributions mellow out; and complex, powerful hop and fruit contributions mellow out. But nasty fusel alcohol, and nasty off flavors are there forever. So if you are sufficiently exposed to know the difference, then once this is in the bottle and carbed, you should have a good understanding of how bad or good it may get. No sense holding onto it for a year if it just is not up to your standards at that point.

Good Luck, keep us posted, I will do the same on my two, we can compare notes and see how it comes out.

David

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Okay, quick update...

So my most recent overheat was an Imperial Russian Stout, part of my side by side MB vs PM challenge. Today is day 7 in the keg. The overheat happened yesterday, I found it at 81 while it's sibling was at 70...go figure?

So, just took a quick taste test. Big BIG RIS, only 7 days in, so far far far from being done, a mealstrom of flavors right now...still, not only did they both seem fine in the context of where they are, myself and my wife (and she did not know which was which) actually preferred the one that had overheated.

So, as far as comparing notes on our current mishaps, my first data point says keep truckin. I don't expect to touch either one of these for at least another week, so stand by.

Brew On!!

David

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Temp control is difficult for small batches. The consensus above is that the short high spike might not have any affect and if it did conditioning will probably clear any off flavors out. Only goes to show how tolerant current home brew yeast actually are.

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I should point out that if the temperature was too high early on the yeast will produce a lot of Diacetyl which in very tiny amounts cause beer to take on buttery, butterscotch or microwave popcorn off flavors. I might enjoy a beer with buttered popcorn but I don't want my beer to taste like buttered popcorn.

During the diacetyl rest cleanup stage of fermentation the yeast now convert the diacetyl into food to give them energy as they remove it from your beer, this is pretty cool. The problem is if more diacetyl has been produced than the yeast can possibly cleanup during the diacetyl rest, you'll end up with buttered popcorn tasting beer.


Click here to learn more about yeast...

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Like Sirius DG said, this is not a noob mistake.
Man if there's one thing about this hobcession that drives me nuts is temp control.
I have two fridges just for beer and I still get occasional issues with temps.
Don't sweat it. If I read it right, you sound like you had a good handle on temps for the first few critical days.
Ride it out.
I think you'll be fine.

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