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Old 04-04-2010, 03:51 PM   #1
brendanb
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Default keeping primary cool?

hi, i live in chicago in a poorly insulated apartment.

as we start getting into warmer weather, i pretty much have to stop brewing because there is nowhere in my building that maintains a cool temp.

i have an ipa that's two days into primary that's been creeping up from 65 to 70...and it's leaning towards 72. it's killing me to see this.

i have an ice pack that i just sorta leaned up against the carboy...but that just seems silly...and isn't doing anything.

does anybody have any advice?

i would assume i need some sort of bucket or whatever, and put some water and ice in there to keep it cool...and put the carboy in there?

does that work?

what do you guys do?

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Old 04-04-2010, 03:59 PM   #2
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I have a 25 gallon tub that I bought at Lowe's for about 10 bucks. I fill that with a little water and put my primary in it. Then I fill some Gatorade or Vitamin water bottles with water and Freeze them, then I can swap those out to control the temp of the water. I usually try to keep the water in the tub about 5 degrees cooler then I want the inside of the fermentor to be.

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Old 04-04-2010, 04:01 PM   #3
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Most people put their primary in a cooler with frozen bottles of water to keep it cool, that seems like the easiest. Maybe you can go buy one of those big coolers, or perhaps a styrofoam one at a gas station for a few bucks that would work better.

Some other things ive heard of people doing is setting their primary in water, and changing out ice bottles as necessary, wrapping their primary in a WET towel, placing a fan on it, etc...

Check out these links(they have pics that will help you visualize
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/keep...r-cool-114165/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/noob...t-cool-127955/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/what...rs-cool-97152/

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Old 04-04-2010, 04:01 PM   #4
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Here's my solution:


That's just a wheeled cooler. I removed the lid- first because it was hollow, and secondly so I can still use it as a cooler by popping the lid back on. I made a new lid out of a sheet of wall insulation foam. I put a water bath around it, and then add a frozen water bottle (or two) to maintain the temperature at a nice ale temperature. I just float a floating thermometer in the water bath to monitor the temperature.

The nice thing is that it takes a very long time for the water bath and beer to change temperature- so even in a heat wave, you can be gone all day and it won't rise that much.

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Old 04-04-2010, 04:41 PM   #5
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thank you all!

i appreciate your quick responses. i put the carboy into a tub with cool water and an ice pack and the temp has already stopped rising.

related question...do i need to keep the primary cool for the entire time it's in there? i was planning on trying the "3 weeks in primary - straight to keg" technique. how important is it to keep the temp down for the entire 3 weeks?

i'm scared of the yeast cake rotting under all the heat.

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Old 04-04-2010, 05:19 PM   #6
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Temperature control is at its most critical during the first 5 or so days of fermentation. Letting the temps rise a little after the first week probably wont hurt much, but I would avoid it if possible. I would not let if get above 70 degrees. Remember that stable temps within the yeast range will produce the best beer possible. Good luck!

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Old 04-04-2010, 05:26 PM   #7
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thank you, doug.

looks like i'll be adding ice rotation to my daily schedule for a while then!

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Old 04-04-2010, 06:03 PM   #8
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You can easily build a thermostatically controlled fermentation chiller for about $40.00. I used mine last summer in the Texas heat and had no problems keeping my primary between 60 and 65 degrees. Here is a link on how to construct it: http://knoxhomebrewer.com/images/sto...er%20plans.pdf

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Old 04-06-2010, 12:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Here's my solution:


That's just a wheeled cooler. I removed the lid- first because it was hollow, and secondly so I can still use it as a cooler by popping the lid back on. I made a new lid out of a sheet of wall insulation foam. I put a water bath around it, and then add a frozen water bottle (or two) to maintain the temperature at a nice ale temperature. I just float a floating thermometer in the water bath to monitor the temperature.

The nice thing is that it takes a very long time for the water bath and beer to change temperature- so even in a heat wave, you can be gone all day and it won't rise that much.
is that a 5 gallon carboy then being fit into a 15 gallon cooler? or does it only fit a 3 gallon?
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Old 04-06-2010, 01:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coldrice View Post
is that a 5 gallon carboy then being fit into a 15 gallon cooler? or does it only fit a 3 gallon?
That's a 5 gallon, but bigger ones fit. I can put an ale pail in there, but not with that lid. I usually use the 5 gallon carboy for lagering, so that's a lager in there in the picture.
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