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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Too cold lager ferment temp - advice wanted
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Old 12-02-2006, 10:19 PM   #1
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Default Too cold lager ferment temp - advice wanted

I am currently fermenting a Munich Dunkel in my crawl space. I just checked it and the temperature is only 43 degrees. The airlock had pressure, but wasn't bubbling. I just brought it inside to check the S.G and it is 1.036 down from an O.G. of 1.054 so it has some time left. As soon as I brought it inside the airlock started bubbling. It's been in the crawl space since Saturday and fermentation started within 18 hours. Honestly, I have know idea how long it's been this cold as I haven't checked it since Wednesday when it was 48. I'm using Wyeast 2206 bavarian lager which says fermentation temps should be between 46 and 58. I thought I'd found a good spot to ferment my lagers, as my last one never flucuated from 48, but I guess our current cold snap was a little too much. My plan at the moment is to leave it in the house a few hours to warm up then wrap it in a blanket and put it back in the crawl space, unless someone here has a better suggestion.

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Old 12-03-2006, 04:17 PM   #2
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Just a suggestion I have never done this, but you could wrap an electric blanket around it and warm it up to 55 or so . Or just leave it till it warms back up, It wont hurt the yeast to be in the cold it will just take longer to ferment.

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:10 PM   #3
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I'm faced with much the same problem. After a month of a steady 49-51F in the brewery, when I finally got around to doing my Schwarzbier, the temperature drops to the low 40s. I have it wrapped in a foam camping pad and move it back & forth between the kitchen and the brewery. Once the London Black ale is done, I'll be able to use the heater & controller on the lager.

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:16 PM   #4
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This is why I invested in a cheapie $140 chest freezer from Sam's Club and a Johnson temp controller, prior to even thinking about doing any lagering. I still haven't done a true lager, but all I knew is that I didn't want to have to deal with any ghetto-rigged lager setup that I had to continually monitor. I tried that once using a big rubbermaid container and alot of frozen water bottles...trying to cold-condition/lager my Winter Warmer...and it blew. I was down there all the time worrying about it. F that.

I know, not much help for your current problem...but, personally, I wouldn't try lagering unless A) I had alot of free time to sit around monitoring the temps with ice cubes and heaters, or B) I had a real lagerator.

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Old 12-03-2006, 06:49 PM   #5
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How about putting it in a water bath(insulated) and using an aquarium heater?

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Old 12-03-2006, 11:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orfy
How about putting it in a water bath(insulated) and using an aquarium heater?
I like that idea a lot, but it is a "crawl" space. I have a hard enough time moving the fermenter in and out of there, not sure if I could move it with a tub full of water too. In the future I think I'll build a small insulated area and use a light bulb to generate some heat. I've also thought about getting a cheap heating pad and setting the fermenter on it. I'm way too cheap to invest in a freezer and controller and I really don't need the cooling power of a freezer. Even in the summer it's rare if the temp gets above 80, so I pretty much need to add heat. I fermented my first few batches in the guest bathroom, but that was only a temporary solution. SWMBO is okay with that while I'm learning, but really wants something a little more permanent and I thought the crawl space would work. There's also a shed I could setup in, but that would need to be insulated and have some sort of heat source.

Anyway, I got the wort warmed up to 50 last night, wrapped it nice and warm, and put it back in the crawl space. It's at 46 now and bubbling away nicely. The outside temp warmed up today too so I think I'll be okay. As someone else said, it'll just take longer to ferment. Thanks to everyone for the advice.
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