Fermenting too low!

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twistandstout
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Fermenting too low!

Post by twistandstout » 10 months ago

As I type this, I am struck by the irony. Over the summer I was experiencing issues with fermenting too warm due to heat waves. Now, my fermentation is slightly too low! I can never win. I did acquire a small fermentation fridge recently but this big fermentation pail I used for this batch doesn't fit, so I'm using a cold living room as an ambient room to ferment. However, I checked the day after fermentation began and the wort was at 16C. I raised the ambient temperature a bit to get it up to 18.

The beer is an IPA in which I'll add mango and guava in secondary along with a very generous dry hop. The yeast is WLP644, 'brux trois.' I brewed a similar IPA (no fruit) with this yeast in September during a heatwave where the ambient temp in the room was 26C throughout the fermentation. The beer was intense, extreme passion/tropical fruit juice and scored very highly in a competition.

What are the consequences of fermenting a beer like this at a lower temp? I'm assuming that elevated fermentation temp in September contributed fruity esthers to the final nose/taste of that beer. Then again, on the packet it says WLP644 can be fermented warm. I'm just wondering what effect fermenting at 15-16C will have on this beer, because if I understand correctly, that's approaching lager fermentation temps.

Thoughts?

Thanks! :drunk:

Mr_Tastyfish
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by Mr_Tastyfish » 10 months ago

The first thing you're likely to notice fermenting cooler than normal, will be how much longer the yeast takes to do it's thing. The flavour profile is likely to change as well, though I can't really say in what way having never used that particular strain before. I'm quite familiar with the challenges of fermenting at ambient temperatures, and generally try to plan ahead and match yeast strains and beer styles to the temperatures they'll be fermenting at.

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twistandstout
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by twistandstout » 10 months ago

It's bubbling away like mad right now as this yeast is an absolute monster that attenuates quite highly. I'll slowly raise the temperature of the room day by day to ensure a complete fermentation. I last checked it at 16C when the ambient temperature of the room was 15.5C. I now programmed the thermostat to 18.5C and will most likely check the temp of the beer tomorrow!

Do you think I'm looking at significant delays in fermentation time at 16-18C? I thought that was on the cooler side of normal for an ale?

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Reignman
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by Reignman » 10 months ago

I always thought that once it starts going that the temp will be around 4 C higher than ambient temp? My fermentation room was 16 C, but the temp strip indicated it was at 19 C. Once it was done it didn't take long to drop to 16 C. If it is bubbling away right now, I can't see it taking an abnormal amount of extra time to finish. The only way to tell is to take a hydrometer sample.

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twistandstout
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by twistandstout » 10 months ago

I thought so too. But I only have 3.5 gallons in there so maybe it's not enough liquid to produce so much heat?

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twistandstout
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by twistandstout » 10 months ago

So the beer stopped fermenting at 1.028. I think it's just too cold. I took a temp reading and the beer is at 16C. I put it in a warmer room wrapped in a blanket 2 days ago and roused up the yeast by gently mixing the beer/trub around but there's still no airlock activity.

I'm supposed to dry hop soon and add fruit. I'm assuming the fruit will kick start the fermentation again? The yeast is wlp644 and is usually a monster, getting up to 80-85% attenuation. Right now, I'm at 60% which is just too low for this yeast. I'm assuming it's the cold, but could it be something else?

Any tips on how to get my beer to finish at a lower FG?

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brhenrio
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by brhenrio » 10 months ago

What were your mash temps?
In the fermentor: Cherry Brown Sour, Raspberry Sour, Golden Sour, Gentleman's Skids Brown Ale
Tap 1: Root Beer
Tap 2: Destined for the drain
Tap 3: Lil' Runt Mild
Tap 4: Kicked

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twistandstout
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by twistandstout » 10 months ago

I mashed at 154. I usually mash ipas at 150 but wanted to try something different. Still, I don't think this temp is high enough to warrant that many unfermentables.

Thoughts?

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brhenrio
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by brhenrio » 10 months ago

No 1054 is fine. Would expect a fg of 1010-1014 depending on yeast. I just had a beer finish too high because i mashed too high. It is now in the brand new sour program of mine.
In the fermentor: Cherry Brown Sour, Raspberry Sour, Golden Sour, Gentleman's Skids Brown Ale
Tap 1: Root Beer
Tap 2: Destined for the drain
Tap 3: Lil' Runt Mild
Tap 4: Kicked

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twistandstout
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Re: Fermenting too low!

Post by twistandstout » 10 months ago

It's now 1.026. It's always so damn cold in here because it's unfinished concrete basement underneath. The room was at 24 but the beer is at 17. I put it on a table wrapped in a giant blanket in a room where I set the temp at 23. I'll see if it takes off.

I'm dry hopping and adding fruit this weekend regardless. It's been in primary 2 weeks so it's time. Hopefully the added heat and fruits will kick the yeast in the ass to keep performing as it should!

I was going to enter this beer in a homebrew comp this month but it looks like this won't be happening now due to these issues. Oh well. :facepalm:

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