Heat pad question

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Heat pad question

Post by timtoos » Thu Feb 09, 2017 9:33 pm

Hi all,

I usually brew using brew belts as I have no where to put a fridge. I usually only require heating so the is no issue.

In my fermenter I have a thermowell which is where I place a STC1000 temperature probe. Using this method I can control the fermentation setting pretty good.

Now the question I have is this. As I have mentioned I usually use brew belts but on this occasion I also used an heat pad with the belt to speed heating up. The same STC was used to control the set-point.

Would using a pad cause off flavours? The reason I ask is while a belt heats the vessel walls up, the pad heats from the bottom, and thats where yeast etc sit. Since the heat pad would get hotter than the set point before the contents warm up I am worried that the yeast etc will be heated up too much and awful tastes emitted into my beer.

I have just had a kit beer on (Youngs AIPA which I have done before just using heat belts - turned out beautiful). I have just had a taste (been in FV for 12 days now but FG of 1.007 reached), anyway the sample had the home brew twang. It had that smell too.

Would you guys think this is all due to the fact its a kit beer, that its young or that too much heat through through yeast etc causing this issue?

PS, the beer is not yet dry hopped and to be honest I cannot remember what the beer tasted like before dry hop last time :-/


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Re: Heat pad question

Post by wanus » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:05 pm

Hello timtoos.Firstly iff your previous brew turned out to be beautiful using only a heatbelt i gotta ask myself why change somthing that works? Iff it was quicker fermentation that you wanted did you take an earlier reading before day twelve which was 0.007? Twelve days sounds about normal for getting a kit down to that mark but i wonder when it actualy hit that mark :-k I would now prime add a campden tablet iff that twangs bothering you then wait six weeks and time will tell.I`m sure it will be fine :D
FV 1:Allendale Wolf (Clone)
FV 2:Empty
Demi 1:Empty
Demi 2:Empty
Maturing:20l Session Bitter
Bottle conditioning:Diabolo&Session Bitter.
Drinking:Elderberry wine,Christmas Ale&Session Bitter.
Planning:Session Bitter & Xmas ale.

Keep yer pecker hard and yer powder dry.

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Re: Heat pad question

Post by Kev888 » Mon Feb 13, 2017 3:13 pm

Off-flavours from autolysis aren't usually a great problem, even if you don't rack the beer of the yeast very promptly. BUT heating the settled yeast substancially increases the chances of them occurring strongly and much sooner. If, as you mentioned, the yeast and other sediment also insulate the heater then the resultant hot spots are only going to make things worse. It does depend how powerful the pad is and how much of the time it is on, but a heat-belt is preferable IMO as it can be positioned above the yeast, warming the wort/beer instead. If a heat pad is used then I would suggest being cautious with the power rating and temperature settings, and racking beer off the sediment sooner rather than later.

Additionally, you mention introducing the pad to speed up heating. Rapid/large temperature changes and especially overly-warm fermentations aren't usually beneficial, so depending on how things were set up then that may have contributed too, perhaps. In the bad old days many home-brew books advocated putting the beer in airing cupboards, which were too warm (many houses were too cold then so it was perhaps necessary, as the best of a bad job); combined with often poor quality yeast the results are IMO largely responsible for the old 'home-brew taste' and so a lot of home-brew's bad image back then.

But its also quite soon to be judging the taste. If the yeast have survived in good health, those that are still suspended in the beer will be carried forward and work after fermentation to clear up some of the by-products produced earlier, and there are also chemical changes going on as the beer matures. So it may be that things improve given a little time.

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