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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Low-tech lagering solution- let's discuss
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:43 PM   #1
flyangler18
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Default 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!

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:47 PM   #2
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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.

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Old 02-13-2009, 04:52 PM   #3
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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. 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.

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!
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:58 PM   #4
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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
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:01 PM   #5
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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.

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Old 02-13-2009, 05:02 PM   #6
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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.

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Old 02-13-2009, 05:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
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.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:15 PM   #8
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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:

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Old 02-13-2009, 05:16 PM   #9
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The ubiquitous swamp cooler. I know it well.
I know... but it really works well.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:19 PM   #10
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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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