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Old 06-12-2010, 08:41 PM   #1
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Default How do I keep fermentation temps down??

Anyone have an idea on how to keep fermentation temperatures down in the summer months?

I live in Chicago and it's about 80 degrees outside so leaving the carboy in my garage is no longer an option. My house is air conditioned, but the basement only gets down to about 67-68 degrees. In my experiences and failed beer batches, the wort can get 6-8 degrees warmer than the ambient air around it. So, how is it possible to keep the carboy at or below 68 degrees?

Any techniques and/or low cost equipment will be considered. Thanks!

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Old 06-12-2010, 08:52 PM   #2
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Your choices are:

1) Don't brew
2) Brew anyways and drink less than stellar (but still drinkable) beer
2) Brew beers that will tolerate those temperatures - Belgians
3) The old place the fermentor inside a garbage container, fill with water and place frozen cartons in several times a day - I think Yooper has a pretty slick/cheap set-up
4) Wrap a t-shirt around your fermentor and place in a tray of water, adding a fan helps. I've done this and it is very effective but I live in a fairly low humidity climate in the summer
5) Build a fermentation chamber - this can be a converted used fridge/freezer or this http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/smal...chiller-79556/

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Old 06-12-2010, 08:55 PM   #3
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I use option #3 except I don't mess with ice bottles, instead i use an IceProbe aquarium chiller and a Johnson Temp Controller. Works great, I get excellent control down to ~55F. Here is the link to my original thread...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/wate...hamber-145194/

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Old 06-12-2010, 10:36 PM   #4
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Your basement's only 4F warmer than mine at this time, an I do all my fermenting down there. The beer is great. I do make sure that I chill to around that temperature (below 70F in any event) before pitching. If you want things colder than that, I suggest just brewing in the basement and setup an evaporative chilling rig (swamp cooler).

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Old 06-12-2010, 11:35 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the ideas, but #1 is definitely not an option! Number 3 seems to be the lowest cost so that's going to be my first try. If that fails then the old fridge in my garage and a Temp Controller will be the next step.

How often does ice need to be added to the garbage can? ...or maybe I can find a cooler that would work if there's a big enough one. So many options. Thanks again!

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Old 06-13-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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The ice probe chiller is about $100. I also considered freon-based coils and the best one I saw for the job was for the older 5 gallon water coolers like the ones used at the office. They have enough horsepower to chill down into the 40's but I couldn't find one cheap. Most of the newer water coolers (especially the cheap ones) use a thermoelectric cooler like the ice probe.

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:25 AM   #7
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Do what I do. Take a big cardboard box. Go to lowes and buy styrofoam sheets, and line the inside of the box with the sheets and duct tape. You've got a big cooler. Thats way better than a rubbermaid in terms of insulation.

Now, freeze a couple gallon jugs and change it out once a day. cool thing about water is, until all the water is melted, the ice/water combo inside the gallon jug will stay at a constant 32 degrees so as long as you have ice in there at all, you've got a 32 degree refrigeration unit working properly.

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Old 06-14-2010, 01:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badmajon View Post
Do what I do. Take a big cardboard box. Go to lowes and buy styrofoam sheets, and line the inside of the box with the sheets and duct tape. You've got a big cooler. Thats way better than a rubbermaid in terms of insulation.

Now, freeze a couple gallon jugs and change it out once a day. cool thing about water is, until all the water is melted, the ice/water combo inside the gallon jug will stay at a constant 32 degrees so as long as you have ice in there at all, you've got a 32 degree refrigeration unit working properly.
Actually, that works with any substance at its respective melting point.
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Old 06-14-2010, 01:53 AM   #9
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Swamp cooler. You can pick up a big plastic tub for about $5 at Wal-Mart.

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Old 06-14-2010, 02:03 AM   #10
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Styrofoam sheets? Wow, never even thought of that but definitely better solution than a cooler. Freezing two gallons of water now!!

In your experiences, does this cause a cold spot in the carboy that affects quality or does the fermentation balance the temp out by the yeast activity? Either way the best option, picking up a 2" board tomorrow. Thanks.

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