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Old 02-04-2008, 09:07 PM   #1
radicalsubversiv
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Default Lagering outdoors?

I brewed a Kolsch yesterday, my first partial mash from an AHS kit. Went reasonably well, though the OG was higher than expected and the wort was very cloudy, even after cooling and filtering through a grain bag.

What I'm wondering now is about ageing in the secondary, which I know should be done at lager temperatures. I don't have a lagerator or a basement, so I was hoping to put it outside on my apartment balcony (the average low for DC in February is 26, high is 47).

I know that daily temperature fluctuation is bad news for the beer, so I'm hoping I can come up with some way of insulating the carboy a little bit.

Any advice?

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Old 02-04-2008, 09:15 PM   #2
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Bury it? You'd have to get pretty deep, but it's doable.

You could find a cave....

yeah....

a cave...

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Old 02-04-2008, 09:27 PM   #3
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Not particularly realistic in the city, sadly.

I'm looking for some other way to insulate the carboy. My first thought was to stick it in a bucket of cold water and keep it covered , but I'm not sure what would happen to the Better Bottle if the water around it froze...

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Old 02-04-2008, 09:51 PM   #4
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are you using Wyeast 2565 Kolsch yeast?

its not a true lager yeast...more like a pseudo lager yeast. it'll turn out fine if you can keep it at 50f during part of the secondary. it just helps the yeast flocculate for a clearer beer.

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Old 02-04-2008, 09:59 PM   #5
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White Labs WLP029, actually. I'd be thrilled with a 50 degree secondary, but I'm not sure how I'd get that without putting it outside -- hence my concern about the 20 degree daily fluctuation in ambient temperature.

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Old 02-04-2008, 10:13 PM   #6
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maybe you could wrap it in a sleeping bag or some other insulator to dampen the day/night temp fluctuation. Even fiberglass pink panter stiff would probably help.

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Old 02-04-2008, 10:27 PM   #7
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Maybe you could do like ander recommended and get a sleeping bag for the first 14 days for the primary fermentation to fight off the fluctuation of temperature. I would recommend using a digital thermometer to keep track of your temp. Then when you get ready to lager you can put it in a bucket of water and leave it for a while. IMO I don't think 26 degrees is enough to freeze it solid, if the water does freeze I don't think your beer will freeze. If you are still concerned, you could just keep some kind of top on it to keep the direct 26 degree air off the water.

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Old 02-05-2008, 12:50 AM   #8
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Thanks, everyone. I like the sleeping bag idea. Anyone have any thoughts on whether it's dangerous to have a better bottle carboy stuck in water that freezes?

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Old 02-05-2008, 02:29 AM   #9
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The problem with bottles of any kind and freezing things is that the water on the top of the large vessel will freeze before the bottom. (ice floats)

A friend had to freeze some liquid samples in the lab, and used Erlenmeyer flasks. The smaller area at the top froze first, and then the bottom. This was a problem, as water expands when it freezes. All 80 of the samples were ruined because the flasks had their bottoms blown off when the lower half of each sample began to freeze.

If it's in a larger vessel filled with water, fluctuation would be lessened, but possibly not enough.

OOO! Try one of those fish tank heaters in the larger vessel!

Try it on a smaller scale!

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Old 02-05-2008, 09:31 AM   #10
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If you are going to lager outside, you'll need to cover it anyway as the light will affect the beer. It will cause it to be skunked.

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