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Old 06-12-2014, 01:26 PM   #1
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Default Keeping Fermentation Temperature Cool

Need some suggestions.

The miserable hot summer is upon us Texans. In the past, I’ve not brewed in the summer because I don’t have a means to control the fermentation temperature (no fridge or cooler). Barring lowering the house AC down into the 60’s, I purchased a swamp cooler to see if I could lower the temperature in a single room (no basements in Texas houses). Well, the cooler did a very poor job and lower the room temp by only 2 degrees over eight hours and then stayed steady thereafter. I would like to avoid the “ice in the tub” method and I’m a bit cheap so I haven’t tried to look for a fridge of some sort yet.

Any thoughts?

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Old 06-12-2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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I don't think the swamp cooler method is meant to lower the room temperature. Is that what you were saying? You just put a cloth or tshirt on the actual fermenter with water soaking up onto it and a fan blowing on it to provide evaporative cooling to the fermenter.

Why avoid the ice in tub method? It's pretty easy to do and works fairly well. Just keep a thermometer in the water and swap out frozen water bottles a couple times a day to keep the temp where you want it.

Other than that I would suggest getting a craigslist fridge and a temp controller, but it doesn't sound like you want to go that route.

Frozen bottles in a tub has worked very well for me in the past.

Or you could just brew saisons in the summer since you don't need to keep them cool.

EDIT: Also, temp control is only really necessary for the first few days of fermentation. Once the vigorous fermentation dies down you don't really have to worry about keeping the temps in the 60s, so you wouldn't be having to swap out frozen bottles for weeks at a time or anything.

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Old 06-12-2014, 02:28 PM   #3
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[QUOTE=peterj;6186761
EDIT: Also, temp control is only really necessary for the first few days of fermentation. Once the vigorous fermentation dies down you don't really have to worry about keeping the temps in the 60s, so you wouldn't be having to swap out frozen bottles for weeks at a time or anything.[/QUOTE]

This is true....In the summer, we keep the temperature at our house in the high 70's. I worry that a 2-3 week fermentation would mostly be in the 77-78 degree range. It would be great if there was something like a ThermWrap except for cooling rather than warming.

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Old 06-12-2014, 02:28 PM   #4
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I'm with peterj, the low-cost and very quick road to temp control is using a swamp cooler. The way to control temps with more of an investment is with a fridge or freezer and a temp controller. In the summer a single stage (Johnson Control A19) will work but in the winter you will likely want dual stage.

Either way, if you want to brew now and want to control temps today without investing a ton of cash, a bin, a towel and a few bottles of water frozen will work wonders. Over summer I swap the bottles twice a day; when I wake up and just after dinner time.

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Old 06-12-2014, 04:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hello View Post
Either way, if you want to brew now and want to control temps today without investing a ton of cash, a bin, a towel and a few bottles of water frozen will work wonders. Over summer I swap the bottles twice a day; when I wake up and just after dinner time.
I do the same and it works great, even when room temps are in the 80s. I'm not sure why you don't want to go that route (save for it not being very elegant)... but if you want to go on the cheap, it's probably the best way to go.
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:19 PM   #6
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Hey - got an idea....My wife had foot surgery last year. She received what I call a "6-pack cooler" to bring down the swelling. Here is a picture of the unit: The 6-pack cooler has a temperature control and a fairly large pad. Generally, the water/ice stay cool for 6-8 hours. If I put the pad between the carboy and the carboy cover (and zip it up), put a small block of ice in the cooler (along with water to fill it up), I might be able to get the fermentation temp within the range I want without having too much of a hassle.

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Old 06-12-2014, 05:41 PM   #7
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I'd just bite the apple and get a fridge from CG or something and a STC. You'll have the setup for years and you'll be able to focus on other things than fermentation temps while also knowing you have a fermentation under control.

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Old 06-13-2014, 08:42 PM   #8
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Had the same problem chewse here in DFW... I didn't want to monitor temps and mess w bottles.

I had to break down and pick up a freezer from Habitat ReStore. A fridge with adjustable shelves would have much easier. But combined w an STC-1000, the entire setup was less than $100. The joy of brewing year round is worth that to me. Plus I can now lager (attempting to duplicate some of my favorite Texas Bocks).

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Old 06-15-2014, 05:58 PM   #9
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Hey - got an idea....My wife had foot surgery last year. She received what I call a "6-pack cooler" to bring down the swelling. Here is a picture of the unit: The 6-pack cooler has a temperature control and a fairly large pad. Generally, the water/ice stay cool for 6-8 hours. If I put the pad between the carboy and the carboy cover (and zip it up), put a small block of ice in the cooler (along with water to fill it up), I might be able to get the fermentation temp within the range I want without having too much of a hassle.

Those coolers get righteously cold! It is an excellent idea to keep temps down inexpensively. If it doesn't work so well, then on to the ice bucket method or the small fridge (which is what I need/want/desire!).



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Old 06-15-2014, 06:15 PM   #10
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get urself one of these https://www.cool-brewing.com

Carboy goes inside, add frozen soda bottles as needed. Fits my six gallon carboy with airlock. Works wonders here in the southern AZ.

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