Ambient temperature during fermentation

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by sbaclimber, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    After another rather warm summer and an unsuccessful attempt at a swamp-cooler, I have finally bought a small refrigerator (used) to keep my fermenter cool. I am planning on using it for the first time for my next brew in 2 weeks, but am debating on whether or not I need to replace the temperature control before hand...

    I brew / ferment 25l. at a time, using WLP007, which should be kept at 65-70°F during fermentation. The refrigerator seems to hold ~40°F at the lowest setting and ~60°F at the highest.

    For those you who use refrigeration during fermentation and have measured the ambient temperature, based on your experience, do you think I will be able to hold the yeast at ~65°F for the first few days of fermentation?
    Or, should I just go ahead and build in an external temp regulator with a probe that I can tape under some insulation on the side of the carboy...?
     
  2. LarryBrewer

    LarryBrewer Active Member

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    I have always used a temperature controller. I'd be concerned about the temperature range the fridge operates in, even on the warmest setting. How cold does it dip down to, and how hot does it get? Temperature fluctuations put stress on the yeast and are bad for the beer.

    The temp controller would also give you the option of lagers or cooler ale fermentations too.
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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  4. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Great tip, great price! Unfortunately...they don't seem to ship to germany. :(
    I can get an anolog controller here for about the same price though.
     
  5. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    Good point. While testing out the frig, I did notice an at least 2°C fluctuation while at one setting.
     
  6. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    there are a dozen sellers of these types of items, most come from china and most are Celsius but I would at least use a controller of some kind like the one you mention
     
  7. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    When my lagering fridge is occupied and I want to cool my fermenters I use the "Redneck Swamp Cooler." Ambient in my basement is about 74° in the summer and I generally have the fridge in use for some kind of lager so what I do is take one of the large cable tubs, dirt cheap at Wal-Mart, put a few gallons of water in the bottom, put the carboy in it and wrap the carboy in a towel, generally wetted from the water in the tub. Alternately, I place the carboy in the tub, wrap the towel around it and pour the water over the arrangement. I then take a cheap box fan on high and aim it at the towel. Evaporation cools the towel which cools the carboy into a usable fermentation range. I don't have precise control over the temperature but it drops them cool enough I can do a Hefeweizen in the summer and get great esters. It works well here in the Denver area - I'm at 6,000' elevation and generally very low humidity. Bonus: It works as a humidifier!

    I'll post pics this eve but the moral is there's generally a solution. The solution may be brew Saisons that can tolerate hot temps in the summer (an idea I shared with a friend in Poland) or close the brewery from March to October (the old German solution) but look for it. It might be lower tech than you think.
     
  8. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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    I brew IPAs and don't mind a bit of ester in my beer, which is why I thought I could get away with a swamp cooler, but ambient in my apartment in summer was 26C+ and the humidity relatively high, so the swamp cooler only cooled a couple degrees for the fist couple days. After a week, it started to mold under the t-shirt too... :cry:

    Right at the moment, I am still on the IPA kick.
    HAHAHA, not going to happen. ;)
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The swamp cooler is a solution that works for me in my specific situation, high altitude and low humidity. Over there you may be limited to refrigeration. Having experienced a few German summers unrefrigerated, I do share your pain.... Ever think of doing an IPA with Belgian yeast?
     
  10. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    here a cheap small freezer is only $180 or so delivered, I have 4 kegs in mine and periodically use it to ferment, most of the time I use a 2" Styrofoam box with a window air conditioner piped to it, inside that box put a plastic tub of water, I put my carboys in the water, never gets above 70, very efficient.
     
  11. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Had a chance to measure the "Redneck Swamp Cooler" today - it lowers temps by 7°F. That brings my 74° basement temp to right about where I want it for most ales.
     
  12. chessking

    chessking New Member

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    You already got the fridge. I agree w/ Quality HB. Find some kind of thermostat to control your temps precisely. Your going to want one anyway, so start planning that way from the start.

    Here is a DIY version that uses a digital home thermostat that is wired up for a fermentation chamber.

    http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/Remo ... s-Than-$25

    Haven't tried it myself, as I use the STC 1000 wired direct. I actualy use three. One for the ferment chamber, and two in the kegerator.
     
  13. sbaclimber

    sbaclimber Well-Known Member

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