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I made a modified Oktoberfest 11 days ago. I used an ale yeast to cut down on the time. I let it ferment at 68 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 days, then decided to put it in the fridge at 50 degrees. I wrapped it in ice belts for 24 hours and dropped the temp to about 60 before transferring it to the fridge at 50. It's been sitting at 50 for 6 days. With the ale yeast, is it doing anything or am I just wasting time? Can I move it back to 68 to 70 room temp?

Mlas

  • 50 degrees what? Some of us think Celsius, you know. Also, what kind of ale yeast, exactly? – Mołot Sep 23 '15 at 12:33
  • Yes Fahrenheit . – Justin Sep 23 '15 at 17:05
  • Okay so I racked this experiment into a 6 gallon glass, slowly brought it up to 68F and re pitched with Safale05. After 24 hours, there is very little activity. One bubble every minute. Is it possible that fermentation completed in the four days at 68F before I dropped the temp too low? It was down to a rate of about 6 bubbles a minutes. I don't know much about the gravity aspect yet (only my 4th batch), and just recently purchased a hydrometer. The reading when I transferred it into the glass 2 days ago was 1.02. The brew has a very clean finish with good flavors. Should I bottle? Should I du – MLAS Sep 27 '15 at 13:38
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4 days was likely a little early to start chilling it. Most Ale yeasts will go dormant and start to flocculate if the temp drops significantly.

I'd recommend that you warm it back up. Then carefully try to rouse the yeast by slowly swirling your fermentor until the yeast seem back up in suspension. Don't do this until you've warmed it up first.

Take a gravity reading as well, pre the swirl. Then a second reading a week later will show you if you've got active yeast again.

I know a lot of people like to try and make ale based Oktoberfests and that's fine. I've done it a few times as well. But you have to stick with an Ale schedule and not try and force it to be like a lager. You'd have been better off using a lager yeast at warmer temps, than an ale yeast at too cold a temp.

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  • I need to purchase a gravityometer. This is my first 5 gallon batch. Having a blast, beer is turning out tastey (all IPA before this one). Now my challenge is warming it slowly. Thanks for the help. – Justin Sep 23 '15 at 22:41
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Most ale yeast don't like rapid changes of temperature. And most of them don't like temperature go down. My experience says that 1 °C difference (2 °F?) is safe, and you should rather start low and go up than the other way around.

Also, each strain of yeast has the temperature range advertised by manufacturer. Unless your experience says you can (or you feel adventurous), don't go outside it. For example, classic safale US-05 have:

fermentation temperature: 12-25°C (53.6-77°F) ideally 15-22°C (59-71.6°F)

If that's what you use, it's quite possible you already killed them, or put them to sleep. Raising temperature might help, because you are not far from temperature that's OK for them, but be careful and do it slowly.

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