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Old 07-20-2009, 02:38 PM   #11
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I have been using coolers and frozen 2 liter bottles for a while (my mini-fridge ferm chiller is about on line now).

I usually put two bottles in with an ale for the first day, to get the ferm temps down quick. After that, I rotate one bottle in and out. I use a floating thermometer in a glass of water and try to keep the temp right at 62*F.

I also do some crash cooling that way. I just put a couple of frozen bottles in with my 17 day old Vienna Ale to start cooling. In a day or two I will stick the Better Bottle into the kegerator to really chill it down before kegging.



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Old 07-20-2009, 03:09 PM   #12
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I just had this same problem. I didnt have a lot of $$ to spend and got fairly lucky in solving the problem.
I went to the local Wally World and found me a 43qt plastic tub. Long enough for 2 carboys if needed and its 6-8inchs tall.
It was 7.50 I ferment in my basement but its still 75-80 in the basement at times. I filled the tub a little shy of half full. Put a couple hand full of ice in at first and put a thermometer in the water just to see how cold i was geting it..
Turned out 65 degree wateror so brought the temp down to 70-72.
I added ice about every other day. Also i had a old work shirt not as heavy as a sweater but close that was wet that seemed to wick some water from the pan. Might have helped the cooling a bit.

A idea a buddy had was find a small pump like off a fish tank and recirculate the water...Moving water should bring the temp down better..Kinda same idea as the wort chiller.

You might check craigslist or your local paper for someone selling a mini fridge or a cheap full size fridge. Just the problem is finding the room for it

Hope this helps a bit



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Old 07-20-2009, 03:10 PM   #13
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I cover my carboy in a tshirt and add 1gal bottles of ice, they take several hours to melt, I swap them at 8am and 8pm.

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Old 07-20-2009, 03:50 PM   #14
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what temp are you aiming for? I'm curious as to how low a temp you can get with this method. I'm itching to make a lager but I don't think I can get cold enough. next DIY project might be a fermentation chamber of some sort (now that the keezer is up and running).

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Old 07-20-2009, 03:51 PM   #15
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my house is arround 74-76
this keeps my beer down to 67, i can get a few degrees lower is i aim a fan at it, probably 62-64

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Old 07-20-2009, 04:44 PM   #16
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I lager in a cooler without water. It takes 3 quart bottles of ice to maintain the temps in the mid fifties. 2 quarts keep it around 62 and 1 quart keeps it around 67. I change the bottles once a day.

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Old 07-20-2009, 06:55 PM   #17
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I am in the swamp cooler club too, I have no problem getting my temps as low as 62 if necessary with ice bottles and a fan in a coleman extreme cooler with an open lid. Basically I allow the water to cool for a day or two before brew day, add some ice bottles and get the temps down to about 65 and place my bucket fermenters (2) in, and adjust the temp with the ice bottles, once it reaches the desired temp, the fan aimed at it keeps it pretty stable, and I think the well insulated cooler helps keeps temps stable a bit longer than an uninsulated tub.

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Old 07-21-2009, 10:40 PM   #18
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temperature doesnt matter much once fermenation is complete, right? even if i leave in the primary for around a month?

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Old 07-21-2009, 10:45 PM   #19
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I have experimentally determined that I can get my swamp cooler down to lager temps if I'm willing to put 20-30 lbs of ice in to get it there. Once it's in that range I can maintain that temp pretty easily using the same method as already described by swapping out a bottle or two a couple of times per day.

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Old 07-24-2009, 12:03 PM   #20
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i highly recommend a cooler over any other vessel of water...

i have one carboy in the large slop cellar sink and the other in a cooler without lid in the kitchen...

the one in the cooler is easy to maintain at 62F switching the ice twice a day. the one in the sink stays at about 68-70F



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