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First Post Confused with fermentation temperatures

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HazyNick

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Hi, looking forward to virtualing meeting a lot of you through my home brew journey. I have just bought myself a starter kit (Isolation demanded a hobby) and am brewing an IPA. I live in the Blue Mountains and am trying to figure out the best temperature for my beer to brew. I have read soooo much stuff around the best temperature and of course the colder climate here makes it challenging. So I am hoping someone can help me here. I have a heat belt to make sure the brew doesn't get too cold (advice seems to say 22 celsius is a good temp) but my stick on thermometer has been as high as 28 (this is where I see bubbles in my airlock) down to now about 22. When it is at 22 I don't see any bubbles so I ask is the yeast doing its thing. I checked with my hydrometer today (5 days in) and it looks like im half way there. Should I have bubbles in the airlock and if so should I increase the temperature of my brew? I look forward to some sage advice. Cheers
 

MaggieO

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Welcome aboard.

Beautiful area you live in.

I try to stay at 16-20C. Around 25C is the highest you'll want to get and only with some yeast. US-05 tends to work well this warm. Yeast gives off heat while it's working. The first few days are the hottest so those are the ones you want to keep the temp down to prevent off flavors. My fermentation box goes through a good bit of ice during that time. After five or six days it slows down and isn't a problem anymore. Some yeasts are worse than others.
 

Grmblz

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28 is way to hot unless you are using kviek yeast (which you are not) and the beer will probably end up tasting like homebrew, we are trying to make craft ales/lagers not homebrew.
18 to 20 is ideal for most ale yeasts 22 is the upper limit, lagers are a different story, although winter in the blue mountains could be ideal.
How are you controlling the heat belt? If you just leave it plugged in it will cook your beer.
For a plug and play solution these are good $50 Inkbird ITC308 Digital Wired Temperature Controller AU Plug Dual Stage Heat Cool Controller for Beer Brewing Homebrew Aquaiurm Hatching Reptiles Greenhouse Freezer Fridge Sous vide:Amazon.com.au:Home Improvement
If you can wire up a plug then this at $18 does exactly the same thing, but by the time you buy wire a plug and 2 sockets it may not be worth the trouble, most people use these to convert a fridge into a temp controlled fermenting cabinet Semoic Digital STC-1000 All-Purpose Temperature Controller Thermostat With Sensor:Amazon.com.au:Home Improvement
Bubbles? you almost certainly have a small air leak in your fermenter, at the beginning of fermentation when the yeast is producing a LOT of CO2 then you'll get bubbles but as the yeast slows down the CO2 will leak out rather than push the water up in the airlock.
An average ish time, for an average ish brew is 10 to 14 days, ignore the air lock, trust your hydrometer, check it at 10 days then again 2 days later, if the gravity hasn't dropped then it's finished, if it has dropped wait another 2 days and so on.
As a precaution bottle into these, a buck each, free delivery and if you end up with bottle bombs (easy for a beginner to do) they wont cut you to pieces if they fail. https://www.diybeer.com/au/coopers-pet-beer-bottles-and-caps-15-x-740ml.html
 

MaggieO

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The Cooper's PET bottles are well worth the money. I have thirty of them.

You have to control that temperature. You don't want it running up an down constantly. If you could hold one degree that would be perfect. Floating a couple isn't bad. You don't want to run 16-22 back and forth.
 

gap

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I live in Mt Victoria and agree you need a temperature controller to regulate the temperature of your fermenter. also a cheap yoga mat from Big W wrapped around your fermenter will help with keeping the temperature stable in conjunction with the heat belt and controller.
 

HazyNick

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Thanks everyone. I do have a timer that starts the heat belt at 19 Celsius but the temperature controller is a better idea as i have no control over the heat belt. I'll also look at the yoga mat. Sounds like my first brew may be a bit hit or miss but tge next onis looking good already. Cheers
 

HazyNick

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One last question, Gap. I assume wrap the yoga mat around the heat belt also rather than heat belt around the outside? Cheers
 

Schikitar

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Hey mate, the guys/gals have covered most things off here, I remember when I started I really struggled with temp control but then I spent $80 on an old fridge (that's still working great!) that I could keep the fermenter in, effectively becoming a fermentation chamber. This greatly helps to control the temp along with a good temp control unit like the Inkbird linked above. I've said it before but bubbling airlocks are not a source of truth, they can be an indicator but you should not rely on it to tell the full story of what's going on with your brew.

With regards to your current brew, just try and stabilise that temp as best you can, let it go for a few more days and take another sample. Let us know what these numbers are by the way, the more information you can give us the better we can help! :)
 

HazyNick

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Thanks everyone great advice, I've ordered the inkbird, Katoomba big W are out of yoga mats. I'll let you know how it all goes.
 

Beermonster

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Some great guidance posted here.

I too am blue mountains brewer, Little Hartley. I've just returned to brewing after a 5-6 year break, glad to be back!

Great time of year (here at least) for both Lagers and Ale's without any temperature control IMO. I don't tend to worry about temperature fluctuations so long as it's not above the optimal high end for the yeast, I learnt with my first brew late 06 that it's when temps climb into the 26-28 range your going to get average beer (I often pitch yeast at those temps, which may be less than perfect, but using no chill methods it's a compromise and gets the brew started quickly and most importantly it's below 20 within several hours)

As others have said, keep it below 20 for an ale yeast (which yeast are you using?). I'm doing several brews at the moment using US-05 and the fermenter is is happily fluctuating between 10-17, which I've previously found produces an excellent beer averaged between the two. US-05 will still keep chugging away down around 8 degrees from previous experience, but if your down at those levels you'd be wanting to leave it for at least 3-4 weeks away from light.

I previously used a basic fridge when I was brewing in Sydney and just left a thermometer in the fridge and played with the thermostat to get about 12 degrees for US-05 and about 6-8 for 34/70 lager yeast. I'll be setting up something similar again, but in this part of the world between May-Sep all you really need to do is choose a location where your roughly in the range (garage, cool part of house etc). I can't ever see the need for a heat mat using US-05, unless you can't find a place in your house that's between 10-20.
 

Edd The Brew

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How Do Schikitar ,
I`d say anywhere between 14 - 21 on Ales & Milds ,
15 - 22/3 on Stouts and Porters , and Lagers 6 - 13 c
Cheers Mate :cheers:
Edd
Try this brand new recipe I`ve just written out ,
Linky : NEW RECIPE No 15 : FULL BACK
 

Grmblz

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How Do Schikitar ,
I`d say anywhere between 14 - 21 on Ales & Milds ,
15 - 22/3 on Stouts and Porters , and Lagers 6 - 13 c
Cheers Mate :cheers:
Edd
Try this brand new recipe I`ve just written out ,
Linky : NEW RECIPE No 15 : FULL BACK
Disagree, if you are looking for this sort of advice then you are new, stick with 18 to 20, doesn't matter what ale yeast you have it will work at these temps and not produce homebrew. (which is bad, we want craft ale which is good) the absolutely easiest way to improve your beer after ditching a kilo of sugar in favour of dme or brew enhancer is temp control, period. I'm assuming you have sanitation down pat.
If you are brewing lager then you should already know which strains and their temps you are using.
 

gap

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One last question, Gap. I assume wrap the yoga mat around the heat belt also rather than heat belt around the outside? Cheers
Yes put heat belt on the fermenter and attach to programmed controller and wrap yoga mat over the fermenter
 

HazyNick

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Thanks everyone. Yes I have sanitation sorted. I've got my Yoga mat and the inkbird. I'll focus on 18-20 for the time being. In terms of yeast I'm using whatever came with the recipe kit. That's probably the safest for me atm. Once I get a few brews under my belt and they are tasting like craft beer I'll look into different yeast varieties. Many thanks
 

HazyNick

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Hi all. I have now got my inkbird, yoga mat and blanket wrapped around the fermenter. The inkbird is a lifesaver, my brew now seems to be sticking between 18.4 and about 20.4, im happy with that. My next questions is.....the hydrometer reading when i started was 1040, I checked today and its around 1010, however there is still some activity as the airlock is still having air pushed up, but very minimal. I will check tomorrow and I assume if the hydrometer reading is the same I can ignore any activity and the beer is ready to bottle? I also want to add some additional hops and vanilla bean (maybe) prior to bottling, my plan is to open the lid, throw the hops in (teabag) secure the lid and give it 3 days before bottling. Does this all sound like a good process? Will 3 days be enough? Will I be risking the brew be allowing air in when I open the lid? Thanks for your patience. Cheers
 

Vini2ton

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Sounds like your doing alright for your first brew. I'd maybe sanitise that vanilla bean. Summer is usually the trouble time for brewing. Look into brewing lagers and take advantage of the winter where you live. I'm always envious of our northern hemisphere home brewers with their cold winters and cellars. Find a stable place that is cool (12-14C), and have a crack at lagers for the next few months.
 
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