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Old 03-01-2009, 03:20 AM   #1
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Default Brewing in Texas

So its staring to warm up here in the lone star state, and this will be my first summer brewing here. I have a bit of a problem with summer time, basically we keep our thermostate between 74-78 degrees in the summer (due to the fact that we dont want our energy bill to be $400 a month). So heres what I'm thinking, I already store my fermenters inside my closet, which as a vent running overhead, so I am thinking of putting my fermenter inside a rubbermaid tub, and swapping out frozen 2 liter bottles in the summer. I wonder will this make the temp jump up and down to much. I figured I will put a frozen 2 liter in; before work, after work, and before I go to bed. Anyone think this will work? Any pointers would me much appreciated.

On a side note, SWMBO is a professional cake decorator, so I'm trying to convince her we need a fridge in the garage.

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Old 03-01-2009, 03:23 AM   #2
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I think Revvy has a setup pretty similar to what you mentioned. The trick seems to be putting a t-shirt over your carboys, to allow the cold water to wick up and keep the temperature pretty uniform. As long as you have thermometers on your carboys to accurately monitor the temperature, it should work fine once you get it tweaked right.

Edited: Wait, you don't have a fridge in your garage? They must have changed the laws since I left Texas, I thought it was mandatory to have a beer fridge in the garage.

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Old 03-01-2009, 03:34 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llazy_llama View Post
I think Revvy has a setup pretty similar to what you mentioned. The trick seems to be putting a t-shirt over your carboys, to allow the cold water to wick up and keep the temperature pretty uniform. As long as you have thermometers on your carboys to accurately monitor the temperature, it should work fine once you get it tweaked right.

Edited: Wait, you don't have a fridge in your garage? They must have changed the laws since I left Texas, I thought it was mandatory to have a beer fridge in the garage.
I have a big chest freezer that doesn't work anymore - I put ice in a 5-gallon bucket (2-liter bottles, bag, whatever) and it keeps the internal temperature between 63-66 pretty consistently... I might add a fan or something in the heart of the summer to keep the cool air circulating in there preventing hot spots but overall it works great; and it's simple. I considered using dry-ice but I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. I can hold 8 cornies, or any combo of cornies, my conical and some aquatainers...
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Old 03-01-2009, 03:40 AM   #4
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If you have the room in your garage, grab a chest freezer off of craigslist. I got one for a 100 bucks. Then you get a ranco controller off of ebay.

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Old 03-01-2009, 04:55 AM   #5
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i agree beer fridge in TX is a must

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Old 03-01-2009, 05:06 AM   #6
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Depends on your setup. I had a townhome with tile floors and I did the rubbermaid container and water thing and it kept the temps down to the mid 60's even if the thermostat was set higher. The cooler floor material and water helped. You may be able to do this in a spare bathroom if you have one. I would drop a plastic gallon jug of frozen water in periodically depending on what the floating thermometer was showing.

Not the most scientifically controlled environment sure but I'm making beer, not competing in an MIT science experiment. That's just my $0.02

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Old 03-01-2009, 05:12 AM   #7
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Get yourself a used fridge or freezer and a controller. You will never look back. Experienced brewers will tell you fermentation control is crucial. I would get fermentation control before going all grain if I had to choose one over the other.

That said it does cost $ so if you need cheap then the frozen bottle swap will work - I did it in Davis, CA where it gets 100+F consistently in the summer. Here in WA the wet T-shirt and fan works to keep temps about 10-12F cooler, but the humidity is much less here then in Texas so I don't know how well it would work for you.

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Old 03-01-2009, 02:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
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i agree beer fridge in TX is a must
Absolutely.


To the OP: having a lot of water in your waterbath will help smooth out the temp fluctuations.
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:39 PM   #9
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I have a 7 cu ft chest freezer with a ranco controller for kegs and bottles. I have a 14 cu ft upright freezer with controller for fermentation. A 50 bottle wine cooler. A 9 cu ft freezer for beef and a normal 20 cu ft refrigerator in the house. I wonder why the electric bill has gone up.

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Old 03-01-2009, 05:08 PM   #10
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If you go the water & ice route, you could insulate the container somehow to help keep the temp. stable & allow you to make smaller ice additions which would reduce your temp. spikes.

I used the water & ice method last year. I'm sure it was better than just letting them sit in room temp. water.

There is also the Son Of Fermentation Chiller route. Do a search on the forum for that.

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