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Why does beer need heat when fermenting?

Views: 3     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-06-29      Origin: Site

Does heat affect fermentation?

Heat or thermal energy definitely affects fermentation. Just as the sun brings life and motion to the inhabitants of the earth, heat is the energy that enables life forms to do things. In this particular case, it will affect beer-making microbes.


Why Does Fermentation Require a Warm Temperature?

Fermentation of ales requires warm temperatures simply because it is the specification of the yeast itself.


You can have a better insight by analyzing human specifications. Your normal body temperature is generally around 98.6°F (37°C). The “normal” body temperature actually ranges from 97 to 99°F (36.1 to 37.2°C). You can only do things effectively within this range, more or less.


With this newfound insight, you can conclude that ale yeasts require a warm temperature. This is by virtue of the temperature being part of the vital properties of the organism. And by extension, affects fermentation performance.


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Why Does Heat Speed Up Fermentation?

There are so many known, unknown, dependent, and mutually exclusive factors that affect the speed of fermentation. These factors have their own individual optimal temperature ranges. Take for example the enzymes from yeasts that do the actual sugar breakdown and conversion. Some of these enzymes improve performance at the back end of the working temperature of yeast.


Also, empirical observations of yeast show that temperature affects their multiplication. You can effectively increase the workforce by subjecting them to warmer temperatures.


How Warm Should Fermentation Be?

When brewing ales, the temperature you should be aiming for your fermentation liquid is a temperature within 68 to 72 °F (20 to 22 °C). This will really depend on the recipe so you do not have to take this as dogma.


What Temperature Is Too High for Fermentation?

A good reference for high temperature is the temperature when you, a human, are considered sick. A temperature of 100°F (38°C) is indicative of a fever. Fever temperatures are designed to subdue microorganisms, so it is a good place to start as a warning.


As you increase the temperature from this danger baseline, you will slowly be losing yeast. And when you hit the border between microbe life and death, 140°F (60 °C), your workforce is guaranteed to be devastated.


What Happens if Fermentation Temperature Is Too High?

It will mark the end of your brewing adventure. Your yeast population will either be totally spent or outright dead.


If you prematurely end the fermentation, you will have to re-seed your brew with fresh and pre-conditioned starter cultures. But the chances of success at this point is, well… do not get your hopes up too much.


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