Take control!

Where do you ferment?  Is it in the airing cupboard, a corner of your spare room or under the sink?

 

Providing a stable environment for your fermentation is one of the singular most effective ways to ensure great results. Yeast quality and the environment that the yeast is pitched in will make a huge difference to the beer produced. So why do so many home brewers ignore this?

When we first start brewing, most of us get really hung up on ingredients. We spend most of our time choosing the hops, malts, yeasts and other exotic ingredients. We sweat for hours mashing, sparging and boiling to produce our wort. Clean up, pitch the yeast then pretty much forgot about the beer for a week, periodically checking that it’s fermenting.

Sometimes the beer comes out amazing. Sometimes good, but often disappointingly fairly average. We change recipe. We tweak our process. We buy more shiny equipment but the same results.

That’s because the single best investment a brewer can make is proper temperature controlled fermentation.

High and low temperature will affect the production of flavour compounds at the beginning of fermentation. Temperature is also important at the end of fermentation as it affects the yeasts ability to clean up undesirable bi products like diacetyl.

Think this is only for professional large scale brewers. Think again. The smaller the fermentation volume the more it’s effected by swings in ambient temperature so it’s even more important for the small scale home brewer.

Sounds complicated?

It’s pretty simple really and relatively cheap.

 

The best way to ensure you can ferment at any temperature no matter what the ambient environment, is by using a heater, fridge and a temperature controller. Place the fermenter in the fridge, ideally on a heat pad.  Use the controller to measure the wort temperature, which will then turn on the fridge or heater as required. Set the required temperature on the controller and use the probe to measure the wort.

Perfect desired temperature then be easily achieved.

Old fridges can often be found on recycling groups but even a brand new one is a sound investment. If you get a large upright you can even ferment 2 batches at once so long as they are fermented at the same time and temperature.

If your ambient temperature is cool then you may be able to just about get away with a heat source and controller. This however does give you less flexibility.

As well as hugely improving all beers, lagers, pilsners and other more interesting styles can then be produced with ease. You can also start experimenting with different temperatures with complete accuracy.

If there is one investment you make this year, forget stainless steel, make setting up a temperature controlled brew fridge your first priority. Your yeast will thank you for it!

Issues with your beer that are not caused by contamination are usually caused by temperature. So now you know...and have no excuse.