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Old 10-19-2012, 07:44 PM   #1
wickman6
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Default help with lager please!

I have a bit of a problem. Due to poor planning, I started a schwarzbier Wednesday, and I currently ferment using the tub/water and bottles of ice rotation method of temp control. I have a fridge in the garage, but no temp controller yet.

Weather is going to warm up over the weekend, to low 60's and the carboy is in the garage. I won't be able to rotate my ice, so would I be better off turning the fridge to its warmest setting and using that, or keep the carboy in the ice bath? I don't know how warm that setting would be, I have it at 34 deg right now.

It's a 1.056 og, fermented with w34/70.

Thanks for your help, and cheers!

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
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Do you have a thermometer you can stick in your fridge? I don't there is any need to go to the warmest setting. My fridge hits mid fifties at the warmest setting. Put thermometer in your fridge and see where you need to be.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:53 PM   #3
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Put your thermoter in the fridge as manoaction said, put it in water if you can for more accurate reading.

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Old 10-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
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If your refrigerator can hold the upper 40's to low 50's steady then that is your best option.

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:11 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info, I'm affraid I'm leaving town tonight tho, and it would really take a day to get an accurate reading wouldn't it?

But you think the better option is the fridge, right? Would a couple days at cooler than 50 hurt this yeast? I don't want to affect attenuation.

What I could do is just put it in the fridge and guesstimate where to set it at.

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:16 PM   #6
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What hasn't been asked is what temp has the beer been this entire time? The worst thing you can do is lower the temperature. Verify the temp you've been at and confirm the fridge is the same or slightly higher. If you reduce the temperature your yeast will fall out prematurely and may not be able to be roused back up again.

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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:19 PM   #7
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That's what I was afraid of. I've been maintaining 50 steadily for 2 days, and krausen is growing nicely.

What I really don't have time to do is verify the fridge temp if I change its current setting.

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by wickman6 View Post
That's what I was afraid of. I've been maintaining 50 steadily for 2 days, and krausen is growing nicely.

What I really don't have time to do is verify the fridge temp if I change its current setting.
Can you take a gravity sample quick? I know it's incredibly unlikely, but if it's nearing FG whatsoever, a bit of a temp rise won't hurt it. You said high's in the 60's? A significant water bath with ice in it will take quite a while to warm up to the ambient of 60, maybe even wouldn't get there unless the ambient was 60 for a long while.

At this point I don't believe getting to the upper 50's will really hurt the beer after it's been fermenting for 3 days, but ice it down as you've been doing for as long as you can before you have to be away from it.

The thing you want to do is make sure you don't drop it back down after it's risen to a higher temp. Reduce the water in the tub, even remove it from the tub if it's going to be exposed to much colder temps after it's risen up.
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Old 10-19-2012, 11:58 PM   #9
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I would have to second this. If it has fermented more than half way to your expected FG, just let it sit in the water bath. With that much mass (water + beer) to heat/cool, day and night temps will average out so it will probably end up oscillating a few degrees up and down from mean temp, or high 50's I'd guess.

If fermentation still has a way to go, I'd still do the same. See what interesting flavors you might get - could end up even better than you were hoping.

A third option if you aren't willing to gamble with the beer is go ahead and put it in the fridge. The lower temperatures won't hurt the beer, but will cause the yeast to go dormant. Once you're back, take it out, roust it, and see if fermentation starts back up. If not, repitch.

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Old 10-20-2012, 02:39 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advise. Turns out I'm leaving first thing in the morning, so I'm currently tending to it as I have so far. In the morning I'll switch out my ice. By the time I return Sunday evening, hopefully its not warmed up by much.

Thanks again for everyone's help.

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