Experiences fermenting "too cold"

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by sbaclimber, Mar 2, 2020.

  1. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    #1 sbaclimber, Mar 2, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
    I am just curious if what I am experiencing is what I think it is...and if it is normal...
    Up until recently, I have been using a small fridge with a heating pad in my apartment (room temp ~20°C) as a fermentation chamber to control my ale (US-5) fermentation temps. Anything from 15°C for primary to 23°C for a diacetyl rest was easily achievable. Now, the fridge is in my basement, which in the summer doesn't get much above 15°C and in the winter apparently has been sticking at about 7°C!
    The good news is, the heating pad has been able to get the fermentation temp up to about 15°C and I have been able to hit my target FG.
    What I am wondering though, is if what I have been thinking of a "disconnect" between malt and hops, is a side-effect of the fermentation being too cold? The beer still has body, but I kind of have the feeling that it doesn't really have the flavor to back up the hops. I tried swapping 1/2 of my dry hops into a late-addition (10 min), in the hopes that that might help, but so far hasn't made much of a difference.... :(
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    If it's an ale - obergaerig - fermenting cool will inhibit esters, part of the flavor profile that could be perceived as "malt" since it's sweet and fruity. I've discovered this by managing the temperature in my "fermentation chamber", an upright freezer. I had the temperature probe hanging freely in the freezer for the longest time, then started taping it to the fermentor. I also started pitching at a lower rate, a practice also thought to increase ester production. Short story long, it really improved the flavor of my ales through an increase in fruity flavors.

    Just a thought....
     
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  3. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Most certainly sounds plausible.
     
  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'd definitely ferment US-05 much warmer if I were you. About 18C minimum would be a good target and even right up to 20C throughout the fermentation will work very well. I've gotten very drab, slightly cloying beers with that yeast at low temps.
     
  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    That is a good description of what I've got. :D
    In summer and/or when I beef-up my heating-pad I will be able to hit those temps again. In the meantime, looks like I am finally diving into the lager yeast world.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...it was sort of a weak peachy flavor. I suspect that there's a diacetyl component that adds to the unpleasant effect.
     

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