Take the 2-minute tour ×
Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Recipe calls for fermentation at 70 degrees, basement is 65. I know that fermentation produces some heat, so I was wondering if just letting yeast do its thing will be enough.

Otherwise, do I need to move my carboy to a warmer room upstairs or find a way to heat it?

share|improve this question
    
+1 Interesting question. –  Poshpaws Nov 23 '11 at 14:37
add comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The temperature rise will be depend on how vigorous the fermentation is, and on the volume and shape of the vessel you ferment in. You'll see a temperature rise of about 5-10 degrees on the homebrew scale, in my experience. Still, it varies widely.

I would suggest getting one of the thermometer strips available at your local homebrew shops. They are reasonably accurate, and they're an easy way to monitor the actual fermentation temperature. And they're cheap.

If you find that your temperature is too far off, there are some cheap and effective ways of controlling temperature, up and down. For example, if you find that your temperature is too cold, you can use an aquarium heater to warm it a bit. If you find that your fermentation is too warm, you can use the "swamp cooler" method by wrapping the fermentor in a wet towel or cloth and putting a fan on it, or put it in an ice bath in your bathtub.

All of that said, if there aren't drastic swings in temperature (such as might result from strong drafts or being near a heating vent), then your 65-degree basement will likely give you a good, not-too-hot fermentation. Still, I would get a thermometer so that you can monitor it.

share|improve this answer
    
All of this with one caveat: Your yeast should be able to ferment at 65 degrees in order to get started. I believe most ale yeasts can. –  Dustin Rasener Nov 20 '11 at 2:32
add comment

Yeah, pretty much any ale yeast will do fine at 65.

I had a Russian Imperial Stout that I was keeping at 65 in my temp controlled chest freezer. I took it out during fermentation to clean up a messy blow-off, and it was up to 72 within minutes. So fermentation can generate quite a bit of heat.

share|improve this answer
    
How much volume of wort are you talking about? I would believe that a 1-litre batch could raise 7F in a short period of time, but no-way would a 5 gallon carboy. –  Poshpaws Nov 25 '11 at 8:26
    
It was a 5-gallon batch of 1.108 stout. And by 'minutes' I guess about 20-30 minutes. I was too busy cleaning to keep track of time. But ambient temp in the house was 65, and the carboy's stick-on thermometer read 72 when I put it back. It was at the peak of fermentation activity - it had just fired hops and wort all over the inside of my fermentation cabinet. –  JoeFish Nov 25 '11 at 13:35
add comment

Yeah, pretty much any ale yeast will do fine at 65.

I had a Russian Imperial Stout that I was keeping at 65 in my temp controlled chest freezer. I took it out during fermentation to clean up a messy blow-off, and it was up to 72 within minutes. So fermentation can generate quite a bit of heat.

I would be curious if this person was using a stick-on thermometer, wise choice, but that would explain the wild temp changes. it reads the temp it contacts and if the ambient temp in the "freezer" was 65 and outside was 72, well there ya go. secondary convincing: how long does it take to heat up 5 gallons on a burner or stove? it would take a crazy amount of fermentation heat to go up in temp that fast

share|improve this answer
    
See my comment above. Ambient temp in the house was 65. I remember noting it because I was so surprised at the change in temp. –  JoeFish Nov 25 '11 at 13:36
add comment

@Pasha I have tried to estimate this here. Look up your original specific gravity on the plot and read across to get a (rough) estimate of the expected temperature rise. For example, for a specific gravity of 1.045 we would estimate a rise in temperature (above ambient) of ~5F / ~3C. In this case, you would want to cool your wort to a temperature this many degrees below your target temperature.

share|improve this answer
    
Thank you very much for that awesome writeup. I will try using it next time. –  Pasha Dec 16 '11 at 19:05
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.