View Full Version : Side effects of warm

10-18-2011, 04:22 PM
Question: I've seen multiple times where people were warned to keep ferments in the lower than 70 range or else "bad things happen". Currently there's nowhere in my house outside of the fridge that gets below 70 by much, although i am storing my mead in the coolest part of the basement while it ferments/ages. What exactly happens if it gets/stays warm like that, and will that ailment age out?

10-18-2011, 06:52 PM
Yeast tend to get stressed when fermentations happen on the high side of their range, and stressed yeast produce fusels (higher order alcohols) that contribute a "hot," harsh flavor to the resulting mead that can take some time to age out. The good news is that fusels will eventually break down into simpler compounds, and that harshness will eventually age away. But that can take months (to years) to happen. Stressed yeast are also more likely to produce various phenolic compounds as a byproduct of fermentation, and those phenolics can take even longer to mellow out. So, it is best to keep your fermentation temps on the low side of your yeast's recommended range. BTW - Most yeast strains have temperature range data available, so you can choose a strain better adapted to fermentation under warm conditions if you can't otherwise cool your must. Medsen Fey, living in Florida, has lots of experience with which yeast strains work best in higher temperature climates.

10-18-2011, 07:00 PM
Epic, thanks for the response. I'm using a 58-86 degree yeast, so i'm pretty much dead center of it's preferred range, hopefully i'm in relatively good shape. Mostly I just wanted to make sure that it's not "permanent" in that if something does get a little warm, i can age it longer to compensate. I've heard some esters and such will stick even with age. That, and i wasn't sure if mead had a general high temp (that's not yeast specific), since i've seen the 70 degree mark thrown around alot.

again, much obliged

10-18-2011, 07:14 PM
I suspect you'll be fine. 70-72F tends to be reasonable for many yeast strains, although in general, the cooler the ferment, the "cleaner" the resulting mead. I suspect that we tend to be a bit more anal about temps because it is often easier to taste off-flavors from relatively small quantities of fusels or phenolics in a mead (especially a traditional), than it is in a grape or fruit wine.

It is also true, BTW, that many yeast strains produce more esters at higher temps. But often esters aren't perceived as much of an "off flavor," since in small amounts they can add pleasant complexity to a mead.

10-18-2011, 07:18 PM
During late summer/fall my brews tend to ferment at 70-72 degrees. In the winter they tend to ferment at 65.

depending on the humidity level of the area that you live in, you can use a simple evaporitive cooler (i.e. wet t-shirt wrapped around the fermentor).

I use this very often here in Tucson. Sometimes I'll even resort to aiming a fan at the t-shirt. In my experience temperature is extremely important. I underestimated its effect quite often when I began brewing and I regretted it.

Another thing some do around here is put the fermentor in a larger tub of water - this increases the thermal mass and helps it keep cool - others even through some frozen water bottles in the tub of water to cool things down. Again - in my personal experience - temp is a high priority.

Best of luck and happy brewing!

10-18-2011, 07:30 PM
I might look into the tub of water, if that really helps, I am a bit limited on space though. currently i'm using the basement under the back stairs, since the kids all know that area is completely off limits. I'm probably going to have to build a "mead room" at some point. Between aging, temps and keeping the younguns out of the fermenting bucket it's probably just going to need it's own space :)

10-20-2011, 11:15 AM
... I'm probably going to have to build a "mead room" at some point... it's probably just going to need it's own space :)

Ah, the things we do for our mead!