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Old 03-09-2007, 11:10 PM   #1
crisis
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Default Cold Basement

I moved into a new place, and am brewing my first batch (a berry cream ale) as I type this!

My question is, I have a room in the basement that I thought would be great for my brew. The issue is, right now it is 58 degrees!

I don't mind waiting longer for fermentation and understand cooler temps can give a cleaner taste, but is that high enough to start fermentation in?

Or do I need to keep it warmer until fermentations starts? Thanks!

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Old 03-09-2007, 11:16 PM   #2
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check the temp the yeast is rated for.
most ale yeasts can get down to around 60
i would let it get started at a warmer temp and then move it to the cooler area.

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Old 03-09-2007, 11:48 PM   #3
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Most yeast will handle those temperatures, assuming you pitch a proper amount of yeast. You can get it to start at those low temperatures if you pitch a starter of at least 2 liters (pitch just the slurry, not the whole volume). With a large starting volume of yeast, the metabolic action of the yeast will raise the temperature of the wort by 5 or six degrees, enabling the yeast to work at their normal rates. If you don't use a starter, or one that is too small, you won't raise the temperature enough to get a strong fermentation and you may not get full attenuation.

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Old 03-12-2007, 04:41 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugeaterbrewing
(pitch just the slurry, not the whole volume).
I've wondered about this with my starters... why not the whole volume? Seems as though I'm wasting a nice 1/2 gallon of prefermented beer! (And the alcohol!)

I've used the entire volume in the past.
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Old 03-12-2007, 04:57 PM   #5
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You could also try wrapping your primary in a blanket. With the yeast hard at work, they produce a little heat and the blanket will keep that contained. That's good for a few degrees - and that's just about all you need!

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Old 03-12-2007, 05:00 PM   #6
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Just heard a great idea on Basic Brewing Radio on this exact topic.

Put your carboy/bucket in a big tub of water. Get an acquarium heater. The better ones will allow you to adjust the temperature with the precision of about one degree. Viola! It'll heat the water around the fermenter, not the fermenter itself, but that should be enough to solve your problem.

Now, if only they made acquarium *coolers*...

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Old 03-12-2007, 05:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
Just heard a great idea on Basic Brewing Radio on this exact topic.

Put your carboy/bucket in a big tub of water. Get an acquarium heater. The better ones will allow you to adjust the temperature with the precision of about one degree. Viola! It'll heat the water around the fermenter, not the fermenter itself, but that should be enough to solve your problem.

Now, if only they made acquarium *coolers*...
That seems like A LOT of work for a couple of degrees. Wouldn't a blanket and / or a heating pad be easier?
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Old 03-12-2007, 05:04 PM   #8
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Just an idea I heard, throwing it out there for consideration...

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Old 03-12-2007, 05:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_bird
Just heard a great idea on Basic Brewing Radio on this exact topic.

Put your carboy/bucket in a big tub of water. Get an acquarium heater. The better ones will allow you to adjust the temperature with the precision of about one degree. Viola! It'll heat the water around the fermenter, not the fermenter itself, but that should be enough to solve your problem.

Now, if only they made acquarium *coolers*...
Right--as a general rule, it's much easier to heat things than to cool them.

Here's my basement fermenting solution.

I use an old upright freezer as a fermenting chest. Inside the freezer, I wired up a 120-volt inline thermostat and a porcelain light fixture w/ a 15 watt bulb. Total expense: less than $20.

You could do this with a space heater or any heating device, inside an old cupboard or anything that will capture a reasonable amount of heat. Just make sure whatever you cobble up is not a fire hazard.

I've also seriously considered the aquarium pump thng. But I had the old freezer, and I don't have a tub that would work tih an aquarium heater (would have to be non-plastic, I assume.)
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Old 03-12-2007, 06:07 PM   #10
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I started my first ever batch on Friday night. I put it in the basement, and by the next morning, it was sitting at 61F which I thought was a touch cold. The kit I got from my buddy came with a brew belt. It said that it would keep the brew at 75-80F which I thought was too warm. So, I asked the nice folks on this forum for ideas. Someone had a suggestion to use a timer to control the brew belt. I remembered that I had a timer for running the Christmas lights. I set it up to do one hour on, and one hour off. The timer has brought the brew up to a nice consistent level of about 67F. It seemed to work perfectly for me.

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