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Old 07-15-2012, 08:54 AM   #1
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Default How long do I need to hold temps during fermentation?

It's hot. That much the east and midwest will agree on.

I'm itching to make my next brew, Beach Blond Ale, but it is just too hot to leave in my kitchen, or even my basement. My kitchen was at 80 yesterday, so I put my thermometer down in my basement, which feels cool, but it was hovering around 75 down there.

I'm looking to use Wyeast Northwest ale yeast, which has a range of 65 to 75, but experience tells me to not try to use it at the high end.

So how long would I need to keep the temps down around 70? I have two options for that. First, I have air conditioning in the bedrooms of my house, but they aren't usually on all day long. I could bite the bullet and leave it on for the few hours we aren't home, except that we just got the electric bill and it was extremely high already.

Second option would be to keep it in the basement in my giant cooler. I'd have to use ice bottles to lower the temp, and that would involve checking it all the time. I'm not going away until next weekend so I could do that from Sunday (today) to next Friday. I could probably keep the temp at the low end doing this, but how low can I go? Would a towel wrap with evaporation work with the basement at 75, or is it just too hot?

So how long does it need to stay down? Does it need to secondary at 70 or would it be OK at a higher basement temp of 75 or so? Do I need to keep it down in the primary the entire time, or once the krausen falls I can stop worrying?

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Old 07-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #2
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You would be fine keeping it at lower temps til Friday, after that it will fermentation probably be done and the higher temps after you leave won't hurt anything.

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:16 PM   #3
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Generally, with most ales, 3-4 days of temp holding is all I do. After that I'll pull it from my fridge and let it free rise to wherever it wants, which usually ends up being somewhere north of room temp. This helps with full attenuation, and yeast clean up.

It's all about the first few days for a clean fermentation, after that you typically can safely let it rip.

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Old 07-15-2012, 12:30 PM   #4
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You will be fine. If you even add some ice before you leave, it will give you alost a full week at the cooler temps. By then if you let it rise to ambient it will be ok.

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Old 07-15-2012, 01:01 PM   #5
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Thanks all. Now all I have to do is find a time to brew. It is already hot and sticky today, and standing over a boiling pot of wort for an hour in the kitchen doesn't sound like fun.

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Old 07-15-2012, 01:09 PM   #6
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I think you may be surprised if you make a swamp cooler and set it on the basement floor. The concrete will rarely get above 68* and the swamp cooler will stay at that temperature. Putting a t-shirt over it and letting it hang into the water will drop it a degree or two. Check it out.
Good luck,
Bull

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Old 07-15-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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In the Bronx here and feeling your pain bro. I took my small chest freezer and added a temp control to it. I did this before making my first ever batch. I knew I didn't want to stress the temp swings nor deal with a swamp cooler. I'm locked in at 68 and all is right in the world.

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Old 07-15-2012, 02:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bullinachinashop View Post
I think you may be surprised if you make a swamp cooler and set it on the basement floor. The concrete will rarely get above 68* and the swamp cooler will stay at that temperature. Putting a t-shirt over it and letting it hang into the water will drop it a degree or two. Check it out.
Good luck,
Bull
I have my garbage can cooler, basically a smaller can inside a larger one with insulation between them. It is very effective, it kept ice frozen left outside in 95 degrees while chilling my keg for over a day. The problem with it as a swamp cooler is that the bottom would be insulated from the concrete.

I could use ice but I guess the hardest part would be maintaining consistent temps using ice bottles without going too cold. This of course gives me an idea!!!! If I can maintain 50 I could do a lager!
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:00 PM   #9
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toss an old comforter or sleeping bag around the cooler with the ice swap method. You'll only be swapping out a couple 20 oz bottles a day. That will keep it 10 degrees below ambient +/- 2 degrees F

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Old 07-15-2012, 05:11 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer View Post
toss an old comforter or sleeping bag around the cooler with the ice swap method. You'll only be swapping out a couple 20 oz bottles a day. That will keep it 10 degrees below ambient +/- 2 degrees F
I've been using my old down coat as a wrap. It is very effective.

Now if it were only a little cooler today, I'd fire up the stove!
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