How to keep the fermenter cool (Poor mans way)

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by CausticWolf, Sep 15, 2020.

  1. CausticWolf

    CausticWolf Member

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    I live in Australia, and we're getting ready to enter summer. I live in Sydney, so it won't be as hot as it is up north, but minus Tasmania, the entire continent is HOT. I don't have the option of a fridge to temp control, it's 100% out of the question. I read the article about using a swamp cooler, but I'm not sure that would work either with the heat here.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

    I drink exclusively IPAs, so using Kviek is definitely an option, thank God for Kviek!
     
  2. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Kviek Voss Hornindal Framgarden are all your summertime friends.;)
     
  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    Swamp coolers only work when you have a decent difference between the dew point and the air temperature. Here in Louisiana, they simply don't work. Air temps of 92-95 and dewpoints of 75-78 F. Over in Arizona, they work great. Dew points of 40-50 and temps around 100.

    Most literature on swamp coolers are based on personnel comfort, but I think it's accurate to state that if the dew point is above 60 F, it won't be very effective. Current dew point as I'm writing is 58 F in Sydney, so I suspect it will be marginally effective.

    You can get more detailed analysis if you willing to learn to use the psychrometric charts.
     
  4. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The swamp cooler idea will work if the humidity is not high. It may not bring the temperature down enough. There are devices you can use to cool carboys individually - they are fairly pricey but small. The best idea may be the Kveik route, use something that ferments well at high temperature.
     
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  5. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    If I were you, I would go the Kveik route like you and @Trialben mentioned. However...

    I've filled my bath tub with cold water to the highest point it will go along with 5 or 6 gallons of frozen water. Swapping them out every 12-18 hours. It's not ideal and takes a lot of water (not to mention freezing 5 gallons of water at a time). It also renders the bathtub useless for the entire primary fermentation. Keeping an accurate temp is not easy.

    Having said all that, it did keep it below 50 degrees in the middle of the summer. After the first 2-3 days of fermentation, you should be good to put it at room temp (assuming you are not doing a lager).
     
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  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    It's possible to build a simple cooler box and use frozen ice bottles to keep the temp in a reasonable range. When I was doing smaller batches, I built a plywood box and insulated with rigid foam. A frozen liter or two, depending on the size of the enclosure will bring the temp down quite nicely. How well it holds will depend on the amount of insulation. You could use a defunct fridge or chest freezer if you can find one. I did a water-bath thing in an old chest freezer by filling with water, up to the level of the beer in the carboy and dropping in frozen water bottles to keep the temp in a good range. Because it was fully insulated, the temp would hold well, though you have to watch it pretty closely to keep it from fluctuating too much - small ice bottles more often are better than a big chunk every day.
     
  7. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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  8. CausticWolf

    CausticWolf Member

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    Yeah, I don't have the space for a freezer or fridge that I can turn into a fermentation device, I live in the Inner West, and we can hear one another sneeze (no joke), so the space just isn't there. We are moving to Penrith next Fall, so I'll definitely think about it then.

    For now, minus buying @Frankenbrewer's idea, I think I'm stuck. 10 degrees on a 40 degree day wouldn't do much. I think I'm better off just having the Kviek become my go to yeast in summer. Seriously, thank God for Kviek. I'll think about the beauty of the universe every time I drink a beer from it!
     
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  9. CausticWolf

    CausticWolf Member

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    Thanks to everyone who commented!!!!
     
  10. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    At the pricey end of the market there's things you put into your fermentor that heat or cool the beer. Something like this - https://www.kegland.com.au/temp-twi...rol-your-fermzilla-with-a-glycol-chiller.html, but it's specific to their fermentor, the fermzilla. There's a similar one for the larger Speidel's.

    There's also the Brewjacket Immersion thingy that inserts a rod into the fermenter that it heats or cools = https://brewjacket.com/

    Haven't used either. Always seemed a bit pricey as we've got a little bit of space spare for a fridge.
     
  11. AGbrewer

    AGbrewer Active Member

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    I would agree that Kveik is your best bet, however I thought of one other possible solution.

    @Nosybear mentioned more expensive, and @Mark Farrall provided a link to one that reminded me of this particular cooler that I was considering a couple years ago. It is expensive ($300 USD), but it would fix your issue. It says the sound level is about 45db, so that is roughly the sound of a refrigerator or dishwasher.

    https://www.homebrewing.org/BrewJac...k_S7_zpWl3lX-gAfMbzeo0wiR7P7EP6RoCh9EQAvD_BwE
     
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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    That's the unit I was thinking of.
     
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  13. vl

    vl New Member

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    Hi @CausticWolf
    I feel your pain. I also live in an apartment in the inner west. I guess I had exactly the same problem as you did when I first started. My very first brew was a kit I got as a Christmas present. Inevitably, I brewed my first batch in the peak of Summer and my brew hit the peak of fermentation on a high 30's day (and night!). I woke up the next morning and the 5L carboy had blown its top and I had black sticky wort all over my ceiling. not fun.
    Anyway, after weeks of research, I figured that the only way to do it in Sydney was to do it properly. Your problem is only going to get worse when you move to the Riff. I ended up scouring gumtree for a cheap wine fridge. It happens to be the perfect size for my 20L fermenter, and in the grand scheme of things, doesn't take up THAT much more space than the fermenter itself. I do acknowledge that you said it's out of the question, but I'm not sure what other options there are which take less space and cost less (other than using kveik, which I didnt know about when I had this issue). Maybe you'll have more space after you move west... and just suck it up and use kveik for now until your move...
     
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  14. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Thanks. A question this Georgia boy has had for awhile. Looking to do some 2 1/2 batches, too. Love your by-line.
     
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  15. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I live in a pretty hot climate aa well and currently without power.
    I am fermenting cider in my coolbox and I keep wet towels on top. I manage to get by that way.
    My solar system is about to be installed and then I can go back to my fridge/inkbird combo.
    In your case, try the evaporative cooling idea (swamp cooler) aided with frozen water bottles, freezer blocks etc
     
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  16. CausticWolf

    CausticWolf Member

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    Yeah, once I move out west I can have the space, and to be frank, the power to hook up more appliances. Our Landlord is about a cheap as they come, and the house isn't wired properly. I'm no sparkie, but you need more than 2 circuits for an ENTIRE house... This guy is about as dumb as they come...

    Wine cooler is a great idea, as soon as we get out of here, I'll start looking!
     
  17. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    I did a hybrid with a swamp cooler set up with a couple of 1 Gallon ice jugs I was swapping our every 12 hours and in the large basin I had the 5Gallon Carboy in, I was able to keep a steady 65 degrees in my 70 degree basement. As a self proclaimed "cheap bastard" , this was a complete "use what you got solution " that did the trick for me.
     
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  18. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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    I sit mine in a cooler with water about a 1/4-1/3 of the way up. I add ice bottles and change often as possible to keep temp. Usually about 5 degree difference and I switch bottles. If it drops I leave the bottle out. No I do this indoors so the temp in the house helps.
     
  19. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's cheating! A 70 degree basement is already the perfect environment. :D
     
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  20. Josh Hughes

    Josh Hughes Well-Known Member

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