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Old 09-19-2012, 09:46 PM   #1
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Default Low-tech Fermentation Cooler?

So it's still a bit warm for good fermentation around me (70's day/50's night) so I'm trying something new to keep the temp cool during the day. I really have no idea if it'll work. Found some big old buckets (Walmart), filled them part-way with water and submerged my 5gal fermenters in them. Hoping the water surrounding my fermenters will draw heat away as it evaporates.

Thought? Anybody try something like this? If it works I'll report back.

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Old 09-19-2012, 09:51 PM   #2
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I'm located in Arizona where it quite hot and this is what I am doing and so far it seems like it is working for me! You can also freeze a few water bottles and throw those in the water and replace those daily. We also have a fan blowing on it if we need it even cooler

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Old 09-19-2012, 10:17 PM   #3
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Yes, that's called a swamp cooler. You can usually get the water to sit about 10 degrees lower than ambient air temperature without ice. I use ice. I check the temperature 3 times a day and add ice as necessary to keep the temperature where I want it.

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Old 09-19-2012, 11:53 PM   #4
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Glad to hear I might have something that'll work, lol. I tossed some ice in to get the temp down quicker. Out of curiosity, how deep do you submerge your fermenters?

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Old 09-20-2012, 12:08 AM   #5
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I generally try to get the level of water equal to the level of wort in my bucket.

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Old 09-20-2012, 12:31 AM   #6
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How are ya'll checking temp during fermentation in these swamp coolers? Thermostrip along the side of the bucket? Dip a sanitized thermometer? Infrared gun? Just curious...

I use an old Magic Chef freezer with a johnson controls controller and I just look at my thermostrip during fermentation.

Being submerged in water might alter the temp on the strip?

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Old 09-20-2012, 12:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jestmaty View Post
How are ya'll checking temp during fermentation in these swamp coolers? Thermostrip along the side of the bucket? Dip a sanitized thermometer? Infrared gun? Just curious...
good question. I just went to check on the fermenters and realized this would be a problem. That said, for my purposes, I'm going to assume the temp is roughly 5-10 degrees lower than ambient. Considering ambient has been around 70ish, I'm not that worried.

Normally In Summer I ferment in my kegerator using a temp-tolerant yeast. Holds 2 5gal buckets. However, right now my kegerator is full of beer.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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There were some definite heat spells this summer, indeed. What I did to keep my fermentation at a steady 68F was set my 5gal. carboy into a large turkey roasting pant and then fill up the pan about 5 inches with water. I would then freeze two 2 liter soda bottles full of water and exchange them in and out of the pan once or twice a day depending if all the ice had melted or not. The bottles sitting and melting in the shallow water kept it around 50-60 degrees which kept the fermenting vessel at a steady 68F. The only down side to this method is checking and freezing the bottles daily... ho hum. It worked for me.

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Old 09-20-2012, 06:12 AM   #9
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I have two thermostips on my fermenter one in the water and one in the middle. And I only have the water going up the bucket maybe 5-6 inches.

Edit: so basically what he said! ^^

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Old 09-20-2012, 06:41 AM   #10
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Wet an old t-shirt and put it over the fermenter so the ends of the shirt hang into the water tub. The water will wick up the shirt and cool the fermenter by evaporation.

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