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Old 02-06-2013, 03:20 PM   #1
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Default What to do, what to brew, basement too cold to ferment?

Will be bottling an Irish Red tommorrow, and saw the temp sticker on the carboy is about 55deg. I live in an old farmhouse, stone basement and its about 18 degrees outside. I was looking at recipes to brew, and realized its probably going to be too cold to ferment? Don't want a portable heater blowing on it, swmbo won't want it in our bathroom the warmest in the house, and it will cost big $ to heat this two story up just for the beer. Will be looking for another spot to ferment, but any suggestions?

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:24 PM   #2
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55 is not too cold for some ale yeast and pretty decent for some Lager yeast too. I'd get a plastic tub, like those used in Swamp Coolers and fill it with water up to just under the level of the wort. You can either choose a low temp Ale yeast and just let it go, or you can add an aquarium heater to help warm up the water and use a higher temp yeast. Or buy a brew belt to help warm the fermenter and skip the swamp cooler altogether.

Alternately you might be able to fill some soda bottles with hot water from the tap and add them to the swamp cooler as necessary, but this is more work and it would be better to insulate around the tub to help hold in the warmth.

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Old 02-06-2013, 03:28 PM   #3
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I'm looking to build this one for next winter

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Old 02-06-2013, 05:43 PM   #4
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Lager time!!! Absolutely nothing wrong with brewing with the seasons. Just brew enough to last yoiu the summer

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Old 02-06-2013, 05:44 PM   #5
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Consider yourself blessed, you can do a lager at those temps !!!!............

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Old 02-06-2013, 05:50 PM   #6
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Or get a fermwrap to heat up the ferment - works great. Getting the fermentation temp right for a lager is only the begining. You'll still need to actually do the "laggering" that requires much colder temps.

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:30 PM   #7
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Yeah, you should definitely either make a lager, or else make an ale using a yeast that works well in cold temperatures. The fermentation will boost the temperature a little, too (it's exothermic), so realistically you might see more like high 50s during peak activity.

Notable ale options include kolsch and Scottish yeasts. At least for Scottish, it's fine if it takes a month in the primary to really get done (which it might, if it's cold). That's how they were traditionally made.

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Old 02-07-2013, 12:43 AM   #8
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Good temps to brew an Altbier as well.

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:20 AM   #9
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I pitched a 4 month expired pack of Nottingham on my last brew (an IPA) at 60F. As the ferment took off the krausen was rising quickly so I dropped the temperature down to 54F (wort temp) in an effort to not have to add a blow-off tube. The yeast just kept on going and I ended up having to add a blow off-tube anyway.

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Old 02-07-2013, 05:34 AM   #10
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I just got done building my ferm chamber. I was in the same situation, it being cold as balls here in Alaska.

Got a dead mini fridge (someone killed it making a kegerator... drilled the coolant line) off of craigslist for free.

Bought a 5' piece of 4" wide reptile heating flexwatt and wired it to my stc-1000.
It can hold my temp within a half a degree *F no problem.

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