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Old 03-07-2007, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default Summer is Coming, What Do I Do?

I am looking for any and all suggestions on how I can keep my pipeline in operation during the summer. I live in an apartment that has no air-conditioning other than in the bedroom and temperatures can reach into the 90s during the peak of summer (also no cellar).

I am mostly wondering what I can do to keep my fermenters cool during fermentation (I think bottle storage will have to move to the bedroom). I have no room to put a fermentation chiller or a tub of icewater (those were the solutions I found when I searched this topic) but I do have an unmodified Sanyo 4912. Perhaps during the summer I could use it as a fermentation chamber instead of a beer fridge? I have also heard that a brew belt can be used to keep fermenters cold, is this in fact the case? I really want to move fermentation to the nice cool bedroom but my wife has pretty much nixed that idea.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

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Old 03-07-2007, 07:03 PM   #2
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  • I thought a brewbelt was for keeping things warm, not cool. But I may be mistaken
  • You could use the fridge if it's tall enough to fit a carboy with the airlock attached. You should measure that before you proceed. I'm using a chest freezer, and it's JUST big enough.
  • You wouldn't want to use the fridge alone; if you do decide to go this route, you need a Johnson temp controller. They're about $50 or $60 from Morebeer, where I got mine. You plug the temp controller into the wall, then plug the fridge into the temp controller, and run the controller's probe inside the fridge. Then turn the fridge temp to the coldest setting, and adjust the controller to the temp you want. It automatically cuts power on and off as required to stay within 5 degrees of your set temp. If you try this without the controller, you're asking for trouble, because there's no really reliable way to regulate the temp, so you'll be checking it all the time. Plus, I'm willing to bet that the hottest temp that fridge can operate at on its own is still lower than normal ale fermenting ranges.
  • Brew alot before it gets too warm (like me!), then switch over to hefe's during the summer.
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Evan!
[*]Brew alot before it gets too warm (like me!), then switch over to hefe's during the summer.

That's what I think it might come down to, although a chest freezer with a temp controller sounds like a good idea if I can find the space for it...
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJadedDog
I have also heard that a brew belt can be used to keep fermenters cold, is this in fact the case?
That can't work. But using the freezer is probably your only solution really. Actully though I did just think of something that Palmer talked about. You basically put your fermentor in a large volume of water (an old bathtub was used I believe in the example). What this does is acts like a regulator because it cools off in the evening (assuming you get substantially cooler temps in the evening) and because you have such a large thermal mass it takes all day to heat it back up, or rather to significantly raise the temperature.

"Brewing in the summertime is a definite problem if you don't have a way to keep the fermentor cool. My friend Scott showed me a neat trick though, he would immerse (not completely) his fermentors in a spare bathtup during the summer. The water in the tub was slow to warm during the day even though temperatures would be in the 90's, and at night the water would be slow to cool, even when the temperature dropped to 45 F. In this way he was able to moderate his fermentation temperature between 60-70 F, and the beer turned out great. I have used this method myself with wash tubs and had great success."
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:25 PM   #5
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Zoebisch, I'm guessing that if he doesn't have room in his apt. for a tub full of icewater, he probably doesn't have a spare bathroom/tub either. Since he's already got the fridge, he could hook up a controller and voila---as long as it's tall enough. Otherwise, he's out of options really. I guess there's the old "wet towel and a fan" ghetto-rig, but yikes what a PITA that setup is. And noisy to boot.

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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TheJadedDog
That's what I think it might come down to, although a chest freezer with a temp controller sounds like a good idea if I can find the space for it...
This is really the best-case scenario, because the fridge may not be able to get it cold enough to do lagers, whereas a freezer can. Check out craigslist, there's usually a bunch of people looking to unload old chest freezers. You just gotta find room for it.
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 03-07-2007, 07:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
Zoebisch, I'm guessing that if he doesn't have room in his apt. for a tub full of icewater, he probably doesn't have a spare bathroom/tub either. Since he's already got the fridge, he could hook up a controller and voila---as long as it's tall enough. Otherwise, he's out of options really. I guess there's the old "wet towel and a fan" ghetto-rig, but yikes what a PITA that setup is. And noisy to boot.

yeah duh lol. It's been one of those days.
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:01 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by zoebisch01
yeah duh lol. It's been one of those days.
I hear ya. Yesterday was leg-day at the gym, which means that for the next 3 or 4 days, I'll be walking like a crippled old lady. Damn, it hurts. But it's worth it, it really is...
__________________
MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan!
I hear ya. Yesterday was leg-day at the gym, which means that for the next 3 or 4 days, I'll be walking like a crippled old lady. Damn, it hurts. But it's worth it, it really is...

Lol. I fell out of lifting last year, with gardening I didn't need to anymore. But when I had started back, I really overdid it. It was so fun to wake up in the morning and literally be paralyzed to a large degree.
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Old 03-08-2007, 06:43 AM   #10
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Son of fermenter is going to be your best friend. Someone here mentioned getting one on craigslist, I found the plans via google, and I've made two. Even if your house temps are low enough for a regular ale, having tight temperature control is nice.

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