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flyangler18 02-13-2009 03:43 PM

Low-tech lagering solution- let's discuss
 
So anyone who knows me will declare that I generally don't have either the patience nor the palate for many lagers, but I'm trying to challenge myself into new areas in both brewing and drinking a lager or two. However, my conundrum is that I don't have a dedicated lagering fridge, and my typical basement temperatures this time of year hover at 58-60 with very little deviation. Firebrewer has needled me into attempting a Maibock and I've trying to give it the old college try without cramping my already limited workshop space with another chest freezer or by spending too much coin. I try to let the seasons dictate my brewing as much as possible, taking advantage of natural conditions rather than forcing the issue by mechanical means.

I know Yoop has had success using a chest cooler with lots of ice, and I may wind up going this route....but let's chat it up about some other low-tech solutions for shoestring lagering! :D

ohiobrewtus 02-13-2009 03:47 PM

Other than ice packs I'm not sure how you're going to be able to. Some lager strains have a high of 57F. 58F might do the trick. Only one way to find out. :mug:

flyangler18 02-13-2009 03:52 PM

Quote:

Other than ice packs I'm not sure how you're going to be able to. Some lager strains have a high of 57F. 58F might do the trick. Only one way to find out.
I like the way you think. :D I suspect I may be able to squirrel the fermenters in the garage for the lagering, but the ferment has me scratching my head. I mean, I don't want a diacetyl bomb because I got too lazy or stubborn to control the ferment. :drunk:

I should be honest- I'm not opposed to ice packs or a CL chest freezer, but enjoy the challenge of brewing according to season!

babalu87 02-13-2009 03:58 PM

http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...ampcooler1.jpg

http://i236.photobucket.com/albums/f...ampcooler2.jpg

Frozen juice/soda bottles
I can knock 20 degrees off ambient temps changing them out in the morning and afternoon, 10 degrees is EASY. Two bottles, change them 2 or 3 times a day.

I put enough water in to so that the carboy is about 1/3 to 1/2 submerged

chumprock 02-13-2009 04:01 PM

I've been thinking of a way to take a thermo-electric cooler and modify it into a bigger box for the reason you mentioned.

I haven't gotten past the brainstorming phase, but I have one that broke. And if I manage to fix it I might just retrofit the guts into something larger that could hold a carboy.
They generally cool 25-35* cooler than the ambient temp of the room so it would probably work perfect in the basement and they're a lot cheaper than a full-sized condenser fridge.

Something like this:
Coleman 40 Qt. RoadTrip Vertical/Horizontal Thermoelectric Cooler at KitchenwaresEtc -

But if you come up with any idea other than an icebath I'd love to know. Talking SWMBO into another full-sized fridge in the basement just isn't working. I even offered to let her use part of it. :(

Boerderij_Kabouter 02-13-2009 04:02 PM

Ice packs, a water basin, a T-shirt, and a fan. Put your carboy in the basin, fill basin with water, put T-shirt over carboy, add ice into water, turn on fan. Check temperature after a couple hours. If it is too low, take some ice out. If it is too high, add some more ice.

flyangler18 02-13-2009 04:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter (Post 1131418)
Ice packs, a water basin, a T-shirt, and a fan. Put your carboy in the basin, fill basin with water, put T-shirt over carboy, add ice into water, turn on fan. Check temperature after a couple hours. If it is too low, take some ice out. If it is too high, add some more ice.

The ubiquitous swamp cooler. I know it well. :mug:

944play 02-13-2009 04:15 PM

A little higher tech, but WITH TEMPERATURE CONTROL is jcarson83's two-cooler, pond-pump and Ranco setup. It works well for me, but this is jcarson's:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...m/IMG_1052.JPG

Boerderij_Kabouter 02-13-2009 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flyangler18 (Post 1131432)
The ubiquitous swamp cooler. I know it well. :mug:

I know... but it really works well.

brewt00l 02-13-2009 04:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by flyangler18 (Post 1131358)
So anyone who knows me will declare that I generally don't have either the patience nor the palate for many lagers, but I'm trying to challenge myself into new areas in both brewing and drinking a lager or two.

You must not be a true born and bred Pennsylvanian with an opening statement like that!

Anywho, I'm going to see if I can get my SOF down to lagering temps for a Pils or two this year (I have the room in the front chamber to partially submerse the carboy in an ice bath if necessary). The basement I ferment in doesn't drop below the upper 60s all winter long and doesn't exceed 72 during the summer so the SOF gets year round use either way.


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