To Wrap Or Not To Wrap

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jeffpn, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I decided to take advantage of the cold weather, and get a lager going in the garage. I bought some old lager yeast on sale, and had to get it going for about 2 days at 60°F before I saw any activity. I put it in the garage last night, expecting to see the temperature fall to 55° By morning. The low last night was 12° here. It's an unheated, attached garage. This morning, the beer temp is 60°, which I think is close to what it was last night when I went to bed. I have the glass carboy fermenter well wrapped with blankets, and I have fermwrap on the carboy, set to come on at 55°. I know fermentation produces heat, but that much? This is my first foray at garage fermentation. What are your experiences? Should I forget about the blankets? I don't want to waste energy, but I do want my temps where I want them.
     
  2. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Messages:
    2,254
    Likes Received:
    2,455
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Back in the mountains
    RDWHAHB. That's wrapped up tight?
    STOP! Step away from the beer. The yeasties know what they are doing.
    If ferm wrap temp is set correctly it will cool 5 more degrees soon.
    Check ambient temp in garage too.
     
  3. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    The temp did not drop even one iota over the cold 8 hour night. I'd guess it's about 30-35° in the garage. I monitor the beer temperature with a probe inside a well. The ferm wrap is not turning on. The beer is warmer than its set point. I guess my question to you garage fermenters is, do you wrap your carboy with a blanket to keep your ferm wrap from working so hard?
     
  4. Thurston Brewer

    Thurston Brewer Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2016
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    137
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    Sunny So Cal
    I'm no expert, having never made a lager, but just based on physics I'd say the carboy will reach 55 °F in time as long as the ambient is below that. If you're concerned that it's not getting there quickly enough, here's what I'd do:
    Take off the blankets until you see the ferm wrap turning on, then wrap it up again. The blankets will help keep the temperature more stable, in addition to reducing the workload on the heater.
     
  5. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Yup. Thanks. Already considered every bit of that ;).

    I was hoping to find out from someone who's done this before how he does it. My temp is currently the 55° I'm looking for. I do have only 1 blanket (instead of 2) wrapped around the carboy. Based on what I'm seeing for myself, it wouldn't surprise me if other brewers put their beer in a 20° environment with ferm wrap set to 55° on the carboy, and don't use any blankets at all.
     
  6. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    6,672
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Ditto. You give up control by fermenting in "uncontrolled conditions," but you'll get beer. Worst case, you get some extra esters that aren't to style but are great in ales.
     
  7. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I believe I can control the temp at 55°F, so long as it's no warmer than 30° or 40° in the garage. Shouldn't be a problem for the next 3 weeks at least. The ferm wrap seems to be doing its job. I was hoping to hear findings from someone who's already gone down this path, but I'll get there.
     
  8. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I am happy to report that the temperature is holding steady at the fermwrap set temperature. I think if I do this again, I won't wrap it with a blanket until it drops to the set temperature.
     
    Thurston Brewer, Trialben and GPA like this.
  9. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    3°F this morning. Beer temp still holding steady at 55°. I have water in the airlock, which is bubbling away. I don't use vodka until I'm lagering. I'm cheap that way! I suppose the water would be more likely to freeze when CO2 is no longer passing through it. But like I said, I think it's warmer than freezing in the garage. I just found an old thermometer that for some reason has been sitting in our garage. It's reading about 34°.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    6,672
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    Ahhh, I missed the part about the ferm wrap. It should keep you several degrees above ambient temperature. Do you have it on any kind of thermostat? If you do, then you have the same setup as those of us with a temperature-controlled refrigerator, instead, though, of turning on the cooling part, you're turning on the heating part.

    I use my Ferm-wrap to warm up the fridge if it gets too cold. Usually it only is needed in the initial phases when the beer is cooling to fermentation temps (or warming because I've gotten the beer too cold).
     
  11. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I usually lager in one of my two chest freezers. They are both presently occupied. I have 4 STC-1000 controllers: 2 for the freezers, 1 for my keezer, and an extra one to keep my ales warm in the basement during the colder winter months. I have 3 ferm wraps. One for each chest freezer for primary fermentation, and one for the winter time ales. I'm using my winter time extras in the garage now on this lager. I never use a blanket in my freezer when fermenting. The carboy is bare. The difference with the garage is that the cold doesn't go away. That's the reason for my question. I'm seeing now that it's probably best to let the carboy drop to 55° in the garage before I wrap it with the blanket. Then the temperature will be stable.
     
  12. Brew Cat

    Brew Cat Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Messages:
    278
    Likes Received:
    95
    Trophy Points:
    28
    I used to do lagers in my garage before I got my chamber and temp control. It worked quite well. It has to be in the forties though. I would pitch the yeast at about or a little below 50 and leave it in the 40 deg garage it would stay there happy fermenting at around fifty if it got to cold I would wrap it in blankets. After fermentation I hurried the kegs in a snow cave for lagering. I made some great lagers that way
     
    Trialben and jeffpn like this.
  13. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Today's high was about 15°. Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 48°. This should be interesting.
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    9,418
    Likes Received:
    6,672
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Aurora, CO, USA
    5 Fahrenheit now, snowing and the power is out. Good thing Casa Stanley is well insulated. Brass monkeys are endangered around here this time of year.
     
  15. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Uh oh. It's 55° outside right now. That's my set temperature on my controller. So far, so good. It'll be interesting to see how warm it might get. It's probably done fermenting, but I still don't have a ferm chamber available for it. I have to empty a keg first. Can I get some help?!
     
  16. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2013
    Messages:
    2,494
    Likes Received:
    1,582
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Female
    Occupation:
    Happily retired
    Location:
    Upper Michigan/Florida
    It's probably been done for a week. It's a great time for a diacetyl rest, so I'd bring it to 62-65 if possible and it sounds like it may be possible with that temperature.
     
  17. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2015
    Messages:
    3,240
    Likes Received:
    1,557
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'll get there. Inside works real well for a diacetyl rest, too. Many times, I'll just unplug the freezer and open the lid to do that. Always makes my family wonder if I forgot to close the lid.
     

Share This Page

arrow_white