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This happens on a good number of my brews, but if I stick my nose right up to the airlock, or into the ale pail with the lid off (don't do this often), I get an intense solvent-like smell, like to the point where I reel back. I haven't had any hugely noticeable off-flavors, but wanted to know if this indicated a process flaw. I'm hoping its just the production of fusels that will eventually get cleaned up.

Pitched at 75, dialed back to 66 within 12 hours, per Chris White's recommendation, then as airlock activity slowed, crept up temp 1 degree per day until it reached 70.

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I can think of 2 things...it might be CO2 coming from the airlock. It might also be fusel alcohols from fermenting at such high temps. In spite of what Chris White says, my own experience is that my beers come out much better fermenting at lower temps. Don't let someone else tell you what to do when your own experience says otherwise! It might also be a combo of CO2 and fusels.

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just to be clear, Chris White recommends stepping the temperature back up if you pitch at a higher temp than the temp at which you ferment so the yeast can clean up byproducts. The schedule itself (66 degrees, stepped up 1 degree per day) is the recommendation in BCS from Jamil for a biere de garde. –  Pietro Jul 25 '12 at 12:58

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