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Old 11-08-2005, 02:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeGee
The two conditions I would make sure I could satisfy before setting a fermenter outside would be: 1) constant temperature day & night, 2) no light. A shed might meet the requirements.

In McGrath's case I would add another condition and that's that it is well hidden in case rioting Parisians make it across the English Channel.
We have a walkout basement doorway, which is enclosed (doors that close), and gets very little light. The only issue I'd be worried about is the temperature fluctuation. The temperature DOES vary, but Im thinking with the concrete steps and being enclosed, the fluctuation is going to be much less than what is going on outside.

hmmm... things to think about. I've got 10 days before I have to have a decisive decision
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Old 11-08-2005, 02:59 PM   #12
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You can try moving the fermenter to a large tub filled with water, Add ice and monitor the temps closely. I have seen others here suggest this method so I can't take credit.
As an aside, glad to see another New Yorker, I'm down the thruway from you in Albany. Good luck

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Old 11-08-2005, 03:20 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrewBrew
The only issue I'd be worried about is the temperature fluctuation. The temperature DOES vary, but Im thinking with the concrete steps and being enclosed, the fluctuation is going to be much less than what is going on outside.
For around $20 you can buy a digital thermometer that will keep track of the observed high and low temperatures, as well as the current temperature. I've got one that works pretty well, and if it ever cools down around here again I'm going to stick it in my non-insulated garage and see if I'm dealing with a lager-able environment before winter proper sets in.
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Old 11-08-2005, 03:28 PM   #14
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Hey, BeeGee...

Since you and I are dealing with the same temperatures here, here's what I have been thinking lately (granted, I benefit from having a dedicated brew-fridge in the garage, but....)

Have you ever noticed that a jug of iced tea (with ice cubes in it) in the fridge will sit there for several days before the last of the ice cubes actually melts? This means that the ice and tea mixture is maintaining 32F the entire time the ice is still present. Only after the last of the ice has melted will the temp start to go above 32 degrees.

If it drops and stays below 45 degrees here in the winter, I think that lagering at 32F would be pretty easy to do if the fermenter is kept in an ice-water bath in the garage (or in a fridge.)

Sure, you would have to add more ice from time to time, but if you have a half dozen empty milk jugs, you could rotate them out; three in the water bath, three in the freezer. When the three in the bath melt, swap them with the three in the freezer. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Seems like we could lager, even if the outside temp is in the low 40's.

-walker

disclaimer: I have not yet spent a winter in North Carolina, so I don't know if the temp will be in the 40's or not.

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Old 11-08-2005, 03:57 PM   #15
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The temperature will be all over the place around here (sometimes highs < freezing and sometimes lows > 50), but I think your plan would work well for the lagering aspect. I think that would be fine...it's the fermentation that I'm concerned about since I'm brewfridgeless. I figure if you time it right around here you could ferment a batch or two in late fall, lager in early winter and be golden. If your garage is insulated it should be no problem at all...I just need to measure the day/night temperature swing in mine.

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Old 11-08-2005, 04:01 PM   #16
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My garage is 'half-assed' insulated. I was seeing temp swings of about 10 degrees last week when we had that cold spell. (low 50's at night, low 60's during the day.)

The one thing that I don't like about the half-ass insulation job is that the master bedroom and my daughter's nursery are sitting on top of said garage. It gets pretty damn cold in those bedrooms at night, but just 15 feet away (above the 'normal' part of the house) it's much warmer.

-walker

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Old 11-13-2005, 03:21 PM   #17
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My basement brew room stays 58-62 for most of the winter season. That range works well for scottish ales, alts, kolschs and steam beer.
Before I got my temp controlled cooler I used steam beer yeast for several lagers with good results. You can get a good lagerish beer without having to spend any time in the 30s.

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