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Old 06-14-2009, 04:45 AM   #1
Stevorino
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Default Conditioning Temperature?

I usually ferment in a fridge at 68 degrees and let the carboys sit in there a week or so to condition at that temperature as well. What would happen if I pulled the carboys out of the fridge and put it at room temperature (constantly fluctuating between 68 and 74 during summer months) to condition?

(This would allow me to put a new batch in the fridge as opposed to waiting another 2-3 weeks for the current batch to completely condition).

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Old 06-14-2009, 11:10 AM   #2
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Since you say "carboys," I assume you're talking about conditioning in either an extended primary or a secondary. I just leave all my primaries & secondaries in my basement, which ranges from the high 50s in the Winter up to about 61F in the Summer. Ferments are no problem, as the exothermic nature of the fermentation itself will keep the primary bucket at 64-65, which works out really well for the beers I brew. Most beers (I brew only ales) do fine with two weeks in the secondary carboy at those temps. Naturally, a big beer like an imperial stout (I have a Winter Ale down there now) will have to take a long nap down there.
After bottling, I move the bottles upstairs for the first few weeks to get the carbonation / conditioning well along.

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Old 06-14-2009, 02:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rico567 View Post
Since you say "carboys," I assume you're talking about conditioning in either an extended primary or a secondary. I just leave all my primaries & secondaries in my basement, which ranges from the high 50s in the Winter up to about 61F in the Summer. Ferments are no problem, as the exothermic nature of the fermentation itself will keep the primary bucket at 64-65, which works out really well for the beers I brew. Most beers (I brew only ales) do fine with two weeks in the secondary carboy at those temps. Naturally, a big beer like an imperial stout (I have a Winter Ale down there now) will have to take a long nap down there.
After bottling, I move the bottles upstairs for the first few weeks to get the carbonation / conditioning well along.

Yeah, I do an extended primary conditioning process. I'm really trying to figure out what kind of impact the fluctuation of temperature and possibly higher temperatures will have on the conditioning process.

I'm assuming that the exothermic nature of fermentation won't help keep the carboy temperature steady since the majority of yeast activity will be over. The thermal mass will keep it from jumping wildly, but I'm wondering what impact, if any, there will be.
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Old 06-14-2009, 02:27 PM   #4
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That is exactly what I do with no ill effects to the beer, I am sure its not ideal, but its what I have to work with.

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Old 06-14-2009, 03:16 PM   #5
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I don't think it matters all that much in the temperature range you specify. It would be nice if you could drop a thermometer into the wort to see how much it actually fluctuates. I usually dry hop at a warmer temperature than I ferment at with a 3 degree max swing, so you are probably not far off on that. Do you have a cooler closet or crawlspace you could use?

Basically I would not get hung up on it

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Old 06-14-2009, 06:16 PM   #6
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I don't think it matters all that much in the temperature range you specify. It would be nice if you could drop a thermometer into the wort to see how much it actually fluctuates. I usually dry hop at a warmer temperature than I ferment at with a 3 degree max swing, so you are probably not far off on that. Do you have a cooler closet or crawlspace you could use?

Basically I would not get hung up on it
This is what I'm thinking too -- as long as it doesn't fluctuate wildly and stays under 75, it should be fine. Honestly though, It probably will be between 67-70 degrees the majority of the time in my basement, but sometimes it may swing out of there in extreme situations.

I'd love to hear more thoughts if ya'll have any -- thanks for the thoughts so far!
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Old 06-15-2009, 01:48 AM   #7
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Ambient temperature fluctuation will not affect the beer temperature that much...it takes a maintained temperature increase (several hours at least) to significantly change the temperature of 5 gallons of liquid. I wouldn't worry about it, there's no way your beer temperature will fluctuate the same rate as the room temp.

My secondaries sit in a room that fluctuates between 68 and 78 this time of year. 72 is the highest I've seen on the fermometer strips. They are on the floor, which is carpeted cement.

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Old 06-15-2009, 02:02 AM   #8
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I agree that it shouldn't be a problem, but to minimize the ambient temp changes, you could set the carboy in a tub of water. That'll act as an insulator, keeping the beer temp a little more steady. (I think that's too much work for what little benefit you'll gain, though.)

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Old 12-05-2012, 12:09 AM   #9
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I agree that it shouldn't be a problem, but to minimize the ambient temp changes, you could set the carboy in a tub of water. That'll act as an insulator, keeping the beer temp a little more steady.
Don't do that water is a conductor not an insulator. You would just be increasing the surface area contact of the environment with the beer. Better to wrap the carboy in a towel and sit it on some carpet or cork or polystyrene.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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Don't do that water is a conductor not an insulator.
That is true, but it's also an additional thermal mass. You *want* it to exchange heat with the carboy because you're effectively increasing the thermal inertia of the beer, which will make it less sensitive to short-timescale room temperature fluctuations. Once that gets big enough, it'll basically sit at the average air temperature (after equilibrating).
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