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I brewed my first extract batch in awhile yesterday (5.5 gal Great Lakes Christmas Ale clone), and I feel I may have cooled it too much. I got 2.5 gallons of the concentrated wort down to about 98deg, then mixed with 3 gallons of cool filtered water, probably about 45 degrees. The brilliant man that I am, I didn't take a temperature of the combind wort. However, if my mathematics figerrin' is right, thats about 68.4 degrees average temp based on the proportions.

As I need this to ferment relatively quickly and it turned out even bigger than expected (OG of 1.095), I pitched 2 vials of WLP002 and put it in my basement, with an ambient temp of about 65 degrees. My wife said it was bubbling this morning, but not vigorously (I have heard of multiple airlock blows with this beer). I'm trying to get a vigorous and quick primary fermentation on this one, so I can move it to a secondary with the requisite spices and have it in the bottles before xmas.

Should I move to a warmer area of the house? I usually keep my thermostat at about 67-70 degrees. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

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Are you sure about the OG? Kit beers almost never are off on OG. Is it possible that it could be incomplete mixing giving you a false reading? Can you post what you used for fermentables? –  Denny Conn Nov 21 '11 at 21:58
    
This wasn't exactly a kit, it was a clone recipe off of HBT that was converted to extract (presumably by BTP; Promash, etc.)....in any event, i used: -~1 lb specialty grains (8 oz crystal 60, 4oz de-bittered black, 4oz crystal 80) -9.5 lbs PME (liquid) -3 lbs wheat LME 1.5 lbs meadowfoam honey definitely mixed well pre and post boil, and oxygenated the hell out of it. It could very well be that my refractometer needs to be recalibrated tho. –  Pietro Nov 25 '11 at 15:35
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4 Answers

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65 F ambient is fine. I wouldn't worry about it. As long as you pitched your yeast into wort below about 85 F (much higher might kill or seriously weaken it) I think your beer will be OK.

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Well, again, I have it in the water bath now just to mitigate any temp swings, but I was thinking of moving to a warmer part of the house so its more in the 70 degree range for the next 5 days to finish it out...will raising the temperature result in better attenuation? Again, I should probably go back to Palmer, but thought some of the big beer brewers might have some direct experience with bumping up the temperature once the initial fermentation has slowed. Thanks again- –  Pietro Nov 25 '11 at 15:32
    
racked it to the secondary last Friday, got the gravity down to 1.026 (72% AA). Found a little bit of krausen on the bottom of my airlock, was probably pretty close to a blow off given the amount of yeast. Beer tastes amazing, though little 'hot' (i'm hoping this is simply the alcohol content and not fusels). Added fresh ginger, cinnamon per the recipe, along with 1.7oz of Amarillos (per my obsession with them). Cross your fingers for a Christmas miracle. –  Pietro Dec 5 '11 at 20:13
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If the basement stays at 65, I don't see a problem with this. Sounds like you've got enough yeast, and the temperatures you have are right in the sweet spot for that strain, (65-68F).

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I too am brewing a couple winter warmers right now (1.090) one a week old and one a day old. I always start my fermentation out a little cold (max 5 deg from suggested, 2 or 3 if i can help it) that way the yeast has a chance to get comfy and rev up. Both batches pitched at low 60's, and the other answer is very correct about fermentation raising the temp, the first batch got up to 65 deg before it started back down (room temp 70), Iv'e never seen one go 10 deg though. according to the vial the acceptable temp range for WLP002 is 65-68 so you will be just fine where it's at. It's better to wait and be late then rush and give out crappy beer!

Good luck

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Not only is it not too cold, it is in fact, too warm and could possibly make crappy beer.

A 1.095 beer is going to ferment with a LOT of activity and heat. The real temp of that beer today or tomorrow is going to be close to 70-75F if the ambient temp is 65F. Anything over 70F and you've got a real danger of developing fusel alcohols that taste bad and do not age out the way other flavors do. They'll also give you a hell of a hangover.

Get that carboy cooled down to 63-66F by any means necessary unless you want a beer that is undrinkable for 6 months, and barely drinkable after that.

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I don't know that I'd go as far as crappy beer, but upvote for the temp comments. Even if the basement is at 65F, the ferment is going to generate a lot of heat. In my experience with big beers, I've seen 8-10 degrees above ambient. –  JoeFish Nov 21 '11 at 22:02
    
Great, thats a huge help. It really took off yesterday, as my wife said it was barely bubbling yesterday morning (pitching time + 15 hours), but when I got home last night (pitch +24-28 hours), it was bubbling away a 4-5 bubbles a second. Ambient temp down there is 65, what if i submerge the Ale Pail in a water bath? Do I need to continually add ice, or will the ambient temp and water keep the temp low enough? I can do it today (pitching time plus 48 hours max) –  Pietro Nov 22 '11 at 13:40
    
Change the ice daily as a general rule. You really need one of those strip thermometers to put on the side of the Ale Pale to see what the temp of the fermenting beer is. I guess you can tape a regular thermometer to the side if you don't have a strip... Without a temp reading, its going to be very hard to stay within the ideal range (63-69F). But if you really cant measure the temp, then try to change an icepack or two daily. As the fermentation slows (might take a week), you can back off the ice and let it rise naturally to the ambient temps. –  Graham Nov 22 '11 at 13:53
    
sweet. I think i do have a few strip thermometers lying around that I never used, and I have plenty of ice packs and a tub. Question though, is the fusel damage already done at pitching time + 48 hours? –  Pietro Nov 22 '11 at 14:46
    
Hard to say. I think you'll be OK if you get it cooled down asap. If you throw the temp strip on there today and it reads "90F" and melts the strip, then pour it all out and start over. If not, then just wait and see how it comes out :) –  Graham Nov 22 '11 at 17:07
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