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Old 03-03-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
Bacchusuga
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Default Temperature control

I just brewed my third batch yesterday and I keep reading more and more about how to improve my beer. I've read a lot about temperature control during fermentation and how different temperature work better for different yeasts. What are some tricks for temperature control? This time of year is tricky in Georgia. Some days the outside temp is up to 80+ and some days its mid 60s. I store my beer in the dining room in a plastic fermenter.



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Old 03-03-2011, 11:59 AM   #2
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Usually a well insulated closed off closet or basement works well. Another important thing to consider is you should avoid sunlight as much as possible; Im sure you're not getting that in the dining room.



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Old 03-03-2011, 12:31 PM   #3
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Best thing you can do is get a used fridge and a 2 stage temp. controller. If you're a serious brewer you'll get one sooner or later. Why not do it sooner?

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Old 03-03-2011, 12:35 PM   #4
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Default temp control

will a temp controller enable the fermenter to maintain temps between 60 and low 70's as some yeasts prefer? I can see how it would help keep temps low, but I would like this re-assurance.

gracias,

Sheldon

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Old 03-03-2011, 12:51 PM   #5
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do you have a basement? usually a basement is steady enough for most ales. also, do you have a stick-on thermometer on your fermenter?

the thermostat controls override the temp control on a fridge or freezer so you can set it at whatever you want, as long as its at or below the ambient temp.

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Old 03-03-2011, 02:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheeldon View Post
will a temp controller enable the fermenter to maintain temps between 60 and low 70's as some yeasts prefer? I can see how it would help keep temps low, but I would like this re-assurance.

gracias,

Sheldon
Yes. The temp controller just turns the fridge on when it is above the temp set point. Especially in GA you can feasibly maintain any temp you want from 48-80 before you only have to worry about cooling it down. In CO in the winter getting the fridge warm enough can be the issue. If you are going to go down that route, I would suggest buying an un-wired temp controller and wiring it yourself. I have zero electrical experience and was able to do it easily with the help of pictures/videos/walkthroughs from this fourm and other websites.

If you dont want to spend any money, do a search for "swamp cooler." Its basically submergering 60% or so of your fermenter in water and then using ice packs/frozen 2L bottles to keep the temp down. The water helps keep the beer colder as well as prevent temp swings due to changs in ambient air.

If you can, I would suggest the temp controller method. Much easier, you dont have to babysit the beer and everyone always says they wished they would have done it sooner
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Old 03-03-2011, 02:49 PM   #7
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I live outside Boston but in a hermetically sealed condo. Temps (as my wife and I set them) vary 68-77 degrees depending on the time of year. With a digital Johnson Controller and a mini-frig I have all the temp control I need (but I have not done batches needing temps over 68 degrees). Keep in mind that an ambient temp of 70 means a temp of anywhere from 73 to 80 in the bucket during fermentation.

Also, the controller I have is simple (about $70). Plug your frig into the controller outlet instead of the wall outlet, set the temp on the controller and you are done. No wiring skills needed.

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Old 03-03-2011, 03:02 PM   #8
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Default Temp control

Thanks for the good info. I need to find a mini or small frig for temp controlled fermentation. One of the details I have not mastered in my brewing (good beer) experience.

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Old 03-03-2011, 06:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheeldon View Post
Thanks for the good info. I need to find a mini or small frig for temp controlled fermentation. One of the details I have not mastered in my brewing (good beer) experience.
I think that fermentation is probably the most important aspect of brewing. You will see the difference when you start controlling the temp well. Be patient and watch CL for deals
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:53 PM   #10
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Here in San Diego I have the same issue with fluctuating temps. I keep my freezer (fermentation chamber) in a storage closet outside. When it dips to the 40's it gets way too cool for ale, so I just throw a heating pad in there on the lowest setting (not touching the carboy) and if it starts to get too warm I just wedge the top open a bit. It takes a little babysitting this way but if I had a 2 stage temp controller I could easily set that up to to heat/cool as necessary. So I recommend biting the bullet and getting the 2 stage controller and a chest freezer.



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