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I'm brewing a dubbel and pitched a 1000ml yeast starter of Wyeast 1214 at 68F. It's fermenting in a room now with an ambient temp of 72F. Over the course of 30 hrs, temp has increased to 78-79F according to a stick-on therm. Should I move to the basement with an ambient between 65-68? How about inside of Rubbermaid container with icewater? Or do I just leave it for now and see how it is in the morning (12 hrs for now)?

Not sure if it changes anything, but the OG was 1051 instead of an expected 1065. My guess is that I over compensated for evaporation. I'll be sure to mark 5g on this new 6g carboy.

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Interesting question and good discussion below. Upvoted. –  TinCoyote Feb 2 '11 at 0:34
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Move it to the cooler temp of a cool closet or the basement. The bulk of the ferment may even be done by now depending on how active the yeast really were. Things move pretty quickly at high temps. The best bet is to let it naturally start to cool down in a cooler environment and the let it rest on that cake for 2 weeks. If there is any chance of the yeast cleaning up some of the by products of a hot ferment you want to take advantage of that.

I'd say the beer may come out fine. Only time will tell. Next time you brew under these conditions you should put the fermentor in a tub of water. That will help buffer the temp change and keep things closer to the ambiant temp of the room.

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Thanks. I think you are right about the fermentation being mostly done. Would pitching it at 60F have helped keep the temp down during fermentation? –  Bob Banks Feb 1 '11 at 0:22
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Your ambient temperature isn't too high (close) but the heat created by the fermentation itself has gotten your temperature up to unacceptable levels.

My suggestion would be to move it to the basement. There is no need to cool it quickly, just put it down there, it will cool off fine and gradually on it's own.

The bad part is that at that fermentation temperature, the yeast will have produced some...lets say interesting flavors. Cloves, banana, fruitiness, can all come from fermentation at that temperature.

That being said, it's not the end of the world and it's not like it ruined your beer. It may just be a bit different than what was expected.

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Thanks. I ended up moving it to the basement before bed. This morning (EST), temp was down to 72 and the krausen was gone. It still had a lot of movement though. Tonight, I checked the gravity and it was down to 1015. That's in about 50 hours. –  Bob Banks Feb 1 '11 at 0:18
    
Super-fast, but hey, it will still be beer. And probably good beer too. Best of luck! –  TinCoyote Feb 1 '11 at 3:58
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I'd find some way to hold it steady the 78 mark until at least a couple of days after it's finished fermenting. The danger is that if you cool it too quickly, the yeast will drop out of suspension and leave your beer underattenuated and possibly full of fermentation by-products that they would have come back and consumed later.

You can add sugar water to bring the gravity up some. This will also help you get the attenuation you need in a Dubbel.

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You fail to mention the off flavors involved in fermenting at that high a temperature and the supposition of drop-out causing under-attenuation is not widely supported. Also, adding sugar to the primary after fermentation has begun...well not the best idea either. I have no idea why you would suggest holding the beer at a temperature higher than recommended by any yeast maker for anything but saison. Suggest re-edit and re-consider. Downvoted, genuinely bad advice. –  TinCoyote Jan 31 '11 at 15:49
    
"Primary Fermentation: Pitched at 68F (20C), rises to 81 to 84F (27 to 28C), 4 days" -- Brew Like a Monk, p48, discussing the way Chimay Brews their Red. –  baka Jan 31 '11 at 18:44
    
News to me. All I can tell you for sure is that for the majority of beers, that kind of brewing temperature strongly effects flavor. For instance, the range for Fermentis Safeale S-05 is 59-75dF. Danstar Windsor is 59-70dF. Danstar Nottingham is 58-70dF. Since we don't know what yeast he used we can't be sure, but I can tell you that for most beers, sub 70 is where it's at. –  TinCoyote Feb 1 '11 at 3:57
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Sorry, I didn't notice the yeast in the question, my bad. I still maintain that running that yeast at the very top of its acceptable temperature range will produce undesirable results. The range for WY1214 is 68-78, so bringing it down to 72 in his basement is simply going to keep the yeast from getting too stressed by running too hot. The style will not suffer. On top of that, listed max attenuation for WY1214 is 78%. I find it unlikely he will hit 85-95 without use of a different yeast to finish. –  TinCoyote Feb 1 '11 at 14:41
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WY3787 and WY1388 both show similar numbers, and I've gotten both of them into the 85-90% range with stepped feeding of simple sugars. If it's timed right, you won't get off flavors from the sugar and the yeast will keep working. –  baka Feb 1 '11 at 15:07
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