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Rich27

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You shouldn't get much smell while it's fermenting - if you do it means your hop aromas are escaping rather then going into your beer!

Regarding temperature, there's a lot of thermal inertia in 5 or 10 or 20L of fermenting beer and it takes a lot of heat added or removed to change its temperature significantly. But I do recommend those cheap stick on thermometers for the outside of your FV so you can keep an eye.

Nevertheless, one thing you can do is sit your fermenter in a bucket or crate of water (see below), this will create even more thermal inertia and help maintain stable temperatures. You can add ice blocks to the water bath to lower temperatures - in this case it was for a lager fermentation, but you can do the same with ale yeast, just keep the temperature a little higher:

https://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/threads/matt76s-brewdays.81971/page-2#post-830155
I've got a nasty feeling my brew may have stalled, possibly due to having it in the porch which was too hot during the day.

I brought it into the hallway which is much cooler but, it hasn't been giving off any beer smells for a few days now and the krausen production seems to have stopped too. However, the temperature on the sticky thermometer is at 23c which may suggest some activity still going on.

Do I need to open the lid and check the gravity over 24hrs to see if anything is happening?

Many thanks
 

DavidDetroit

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@Rich27
How many days was it at a good temperature?
What is "too hot" temperature-wise?
What is your yeast's temperature range (on the packet or on the internet)?

Without know these details, I would suggest leaving the beer in the fermenter for two weeks. Check the gravity over a couple of days with a sanitized hydrometer to see, one, if you reached your target gravity and, two, that there's no change and if it's then safe to package.
 

matt76

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I've got a nasty feeling my brew may have stalled, possibly due to having it in the porch which was too hot during the day.

I brought it into the hallway which is much cooler but, it hasn't been giving off any beer smells for a few days now and the krausen production seems to have stopped too. However, the temperature on the sticky thermometer is at 23c which may suggest some activity still going on.

Do I need to open the lid and check the gravity over 24hrs to see if anything is happening?

Many thanks
How many days is it since you pitched your yeast?

It could simply be that the initial vigorous phase of fermentation has happened and you might not expect any bubbles in the airlock after this, even though the fermentation is still active (albeit at a more pedestrian pace).
 

Rich27

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David,

It was in the porch for the first 3 days which got to around 30c during the day but dropped to around 18c at night.
It's not been in the hallway which is 19c for the last 3 days. According to the internet the ideal brewing temp for this yeast (American West Coast) is between 15-22c.

Matt,

I pitched the yeast last Thursday and the dry hops are due to go in tomorrow (going by MJ instructions) but maybe I should hold fire until I know what's going on?

I'm wondering whether the high temp for the first 3 days may have vastly expedited the fermentation process but hope not as I don't really want any fusel alcohol in the brew.

Thanks guys
 

matt76

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Well I'm not sure the high temps will have done you much favours but fingers crossed...

It might be worth checking the gravity to see where you're at - personally I sanitise a small espresso cup and scoop out about 100ml which I then add to my trial jar. I prefer to avoid putting things in my FV, sanitised or not - but that's just me!
 

Rich27

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If the fermentation had stopped, would the temperature still be up around 23c?
 

matt76

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If the fermentation had stopped, would the temperature still be up around 23c?
Hard to say, there are so many factors - it takes a lot of energy to heat or cool 10 or 20L of liquid, it will retain its temperature to some degree.

Have a peek, if there's still a foamy krausen then leave it be, if the krausen has dropped you could check the gravity.
 

DavidDetroit

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30C is really hot. That probably unleashed some unwanted flavors into the beer. Furthering Matt's point about 23C question, the large volume can work in your favor with huge temperature swings as it's a lot of liquid to heat/cool.
I wouldn't be surprised if it is done fermenting but I would still leave it until two weeks are up at 19C to give the yeast a chance to help out as much as possible. I don't see a big upside in opening the fermenter since you saw a krausen so it did ferment. You didn't kill the yeast since people make starters even a little higher than 30C.
On the bright side, aging will reduce some unwanted flavors plus strong hop flavor can also cover mistakes. I think it's definitely good enough to continue with. Just have it be your second beer you drink during the evening if it turns out not great.
 

Rich27

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30C is really hot. That probably unleashed some unwanted flavors into the beer. Furthering Matt's point about 23C question, the large volume can work in your favor with huge temperature swings as it's a lot of liquid to heat/cool.
I wouldn't be surprised if it is done fermenting but I would still leave it until two weeks are up at 19C to give the yeast a chance to help out as much as possible. I don't see a big upside in opening the fermenter since you saw a krausen so it did ferment. You didn't kill the yeast since people make starters even a little higher than 30C.
On the bright side, aging will reduce some unwanted flavors plus strong hop flavor can also cover mistakes. I think it's definitely good enough to continue with. Just have it be your second beer you drink during the evening if it turns out not great.
Hi David,

30c was the temperature in the porch. I did not have the sticky thermometer available right from the start so couldn't tell the exact temp of the brew.

So are you saying, don't bother checking the gravity just yet? The hops were due to go in tomorrow as per MJ instructions. If the gravity is down to 1020 it's ready to hop. Maybe it's best to leave it another week first?

If there is some fusel alcohol in there, is it still safe to drink?

Rich
 

DavidDetroit

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Hi Rich,

I understood that it was the outdoor temp and not necessarily the beer temp.

I forgot about the dry hopping. I would follow the instructions as given in the recipe including adding the hops based on checking the gravity (if I get your meaning correctly). I do it differently but in the beginning, it's safer to follow the recipe.

Fusel alcohol is just a bi-product. I think the biggest concern is a bit of a headache the next day. Early on, I've made a beer with fusel alcohol and it's not that bad and more of a bother than anything.
 

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Hi all first time brewing and looking advice. At present I have a St peters stout kit brewing away but not sure how long to leave in fv. Its been 6 days now. Yeast was added at a temp of 22-24 and OG reading was 1.044. Did another reading today and it was 1.020. What's the norm. Any advice welcome.

Thanks
Defo needs a few more days - patience is the key - aim for 1.014 or below. I'm the most impatient brewer I know, and I can assure you it's worth waiting for.
 

Rich27

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Update,

I took the lid off the FV and there was a nice thick krausen on top. I took a hydrometer reading and it was 1012 which is already at the final target reading, if my ebay hydrometer is accurate.

I took a sample using a turkey baster (sanitized), added the hops and put the lid back on.
The sample was very murky, which is normal at this stage I suppose and there were no unusual smells although it didn't taste great. It did smell like a proper IPA without the hops I guess.

How would you know if the brew had gone bad?
 

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I would leave it at least another week, no nasty niffs is a good thing did it taste like beer normally very bitter at this stage acheers.
 

DavidDetroit

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I agree with Rod and it's all normal.

@Rich27 I would say bad odors and flavors that are really off and unexpected would be an indicator of a brew gone bad. I've never made one though. I've made a couple not-so-great beers at the beginning but they were drinkable despite the abuse I put them through.
I would still keep to your recipe instructions.
 

Rich27

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The beer didn't taste great; like you said David very bitter. I'm not sure how it would taste if it went bad. Sour I'm guessing.

I'll leave it a week at least and then transfer it to a keg or bottles to see how it clears up in a couple of weeks in the garage.
 

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You can double check your hydrometer by putting it in water, it should read 1.000 - I'm sure it's fine but worth checking.

Worst case is you've learned some do's and don'ts for next time - and I'm sure it's not that bad! Give it at least another week, then once it's bottled give it at least a month...

Rule of 2+2+2, 2 weeks to ferment, 2 for it to carbonate after bottling and another 2 weeks to condition...

It's astounding how 2 weeks or more conditioning can really round out the flavours, and longer can clean up off flavours.

And if all else fails - make a shandy! :laugh8:
 

Rich27

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Thanks Matt,

I did the water test on the hydrometer when I first bought it and it was definitely 1.000 so should be fine.

I didn't realise it would take so long to be ready to drink so good job I've got a good supply of bottled ales in the cupboard and fridge. :thumba:

I've also go a hard cider bubbling away nicely in a large demi and would think that will be ready first.
 

matt76

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Now you see why i was urging you to get another FV and get another brew on while you wait - it really is a waiting game. Some styles benefits from extended conditioning (usually darker beers) while others are ready to drink sooner (Belgian witbier).

I've got a Baltic Porter conditioning at the moment - i bottled it in July, it won't be ready until at least mid October!
 

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After several decades of brewing, I just invested in 2 extra fermeters. Now have a grand total of 4. So now, at a cost of 15 extra quid, maybe I can have a bit more patience.
 
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