This past weekend I led a course on Beer, Brewing, and Sustainability at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, NY. During the class, we brewed a five gallon batch of Octoberfest using organic ingredients from Seven Bridges with White Labs’ San Francisco Lager yeast which is designed to be used at ale fermentation temperatures.
I promised the course participants I’d send them each a bottle of the resulting beer and that I’d keep them updated about the beer’s progress via this blog. So this entry is for you guys – thanks for coming to the course, I had a great time brewing with you!
The ride home to Washington D.C. from Rhinebeck was long and warm – not great conditions for the beer to ferment, but I kept it in the back seat and kept the A/C on the whole way. When I got home I placed it at the bottom of a closet and covered it with some fabric to block any extra light.
As of this morning there was no fermentation activity. Today was hot out again, with a high of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. My place is very shaded though and probably didn’t top 75 degrees F but still, that’s a little warmer than we’d like it to be.
This evening I took a look at the thermometer strip that’s on the outside of the plastic fermenter and it read on the low side of 74 F – definitely a little higher than we want, but I did see very slow bubbles gurgling up through the airlock – almost a minute in between each bubble. The temperature may be causing a slow fermentation. Tonight the weather is forecast to drop down to 59 F outside so we ought to hit the perfect fermentation zone inside the closet of around 65 degrees or so.
I’ll check again before I go to sleep to see if the pace picked up at all. If we don’t see some improvement by tomorrow night I may toss in some more yeast to kick it into gear.