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Old 09-28-2010, 03:48 PM   #1
bertmurphy
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Default Fermenting ale in winter

The cold weather season is quickly approaching and I wanted to get some ideas from you guys about maintaining proper fermentation temps when your fermentation vessel is (required to be) in a cold environment like a basement or garage. Right now its about 70F in Atlanta and having my pink foam fermentation chiller in the basement is no big deal. I just change out the ice every couple days and its fine. Once winter weather hits though the basement will be only slightly warmer than the outside temp. (which in Atlanta will be around 25-45F). My question to you guys is what are your methods of maintaining a consistent ALE wort temp when the outside environment is cold?

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:03 PM   #2
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Assuming you can't put it inside, any ale should be able to ferment fine around 60, maybe even the high 50's, unless you are going for a very estery beer. You could probably put your fermenter in a tub of water with an aquarium heater in it if you are really stuck. Obviously, sticking in the back of a closet would be the easiest way.

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Old 09-28-2010, 05:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertmurphy View Post
(which in Atlanta will be around 25-45F).
Thats as cold as denver!
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pivovar_Koucky View Post
You could probably put your fermenter in a tub of water with an aquarium heater in it if you are really stuck. Obviously, sticking in the back of a closet would be the easiest way.
I know I can always shove them in a closet and go on with life, but I want a bit more control over the temp than that. Also, I'm mainly curious as to what other people have built or modified to work around these kinds of issues (the "why didn't I think of that!" answer). I like the idea of the water and aquarium heater though.

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Thats as cold as denver!
The weather channel says the average low is 29F and avg. high is 50F.
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:36 PM   #5
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"The normal high's are in the mid 40's and low 50's, and the lows are in the low 20's and into the teens."

Denver winter temps from wikipedia. I never know Atlanta got so cold.

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Old 09-28-2010, 06:04 PM   #6
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I use a plastic tub from Home Depot filled with water with an aquarium heater in it. I've never had any issues. Just to be safe, I use a temperature controller that I had instead of relying on the heater's internal thermometer.

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Old 09-28-2010, 06:29 PM   #7
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My pantry is in the low 60's in the winter all the time. Best time to brew in Chicago if you don't have any 'fancy' temperature control equipment.

I'd just try to find a place in your house that is colder than the rest but has semi-stable temperature conditions.

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:17 AM   #8
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I've a temperature controller. Works fine in the fridge for the summer. And in winter I can plug on a mini heater that get's placed in my dedicated fermentation chamber (fridge). Come on and off and maintains exactly the temp I want.

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Old 09-29-2010, 09:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bertmurphy View Post
Right now its about 70F in Atlanta and having my pink foam fermentation chiller in the basement is no big deal.
Do you know the minimum temperature that your basement can reach?

If you are moving the fermenter into your basement for the foam and smell that can derive from the peak of fermentation, you can make that peak in the basement and than transfer the fermenter in your house.

I say so because a normal fermentation can raise the fermenter temperature of about 2°C (about 3°F), but it won't last for all the fermentation. You can pitch at 20°C (about 68°F), stored in the basement at and used an old wool cover to keep the fermentation temp. When the peak is over, the temp will lower, time to move it.

I know that this approach is very basic, but it's very unexpensive too and you don't have to built nothing, expecially if you live in an apartment on rent

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Old 09-29-2010, 10:32 AM   #10
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do you have a son of fermentation chiller type foam box? is it controlled by a temp controller?

I built a mother of fermentation chiller and was thinking about hooking up a small reptile heating pad to the thermostat for heat when it falls below 50 degrees in its current room..

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