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Old 10-23-2011, 10:39 PM   #1
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Default Use Brewpot as Fermentation Cooler?

I've read through several threads about different techniques for keeping the primary at a good fermentation temperature (wet t-shirt, etc), but I've searched and found nothing about this idea.

Any opinions on cleaning up my brewpot after filling my primary, then placing the primary inside of the brewpot (about an inch of space all around) and filling up with water?

I'm too cheap to buy a cooler specifically for this purpose and it seems like this would be at least as effective as a wet t-shirt at keeping a stable temperature.

At this time of year, I can expect the closet I store my bucket in to fluctuate between 60 late at night, when the heat is off, to 70 (maybe more?) in the afternoons when the New Mexico sun warms the house.

Would my proposed method make the temp fluctuations less dramatic and keep the primary mostly in the middle of that temp range? Is it "better" to have less fluctuation, even if its pretty much within the acceptable range for an ale yeast?

Is there some downside I'm not seeing to keeping the entire bucket immersed in water? Does evaporation off the t-shirt make that big a difference compared to immersion?

Thanks ahead for any comments

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Old 10-23-2011, 11:00 PM   #2
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My biggest question is how are you monitoring your temp? Otherwise I say try it and see what happens. Long live Creativity

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Old 10-23-2011, 11:35 PM   #3
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Ahhh, you have forced me to admit my Secret Shame: I do not "monitor" temp, per se.

The closet I use to store my fermenter, bottles and other brewing supplies is the hallway near, but not right next to the front door. It is on the north side of the house, in the center, so it receives no direct sunlight at any time of day. I believe it to be the place with the most stable (and lowest) temp in the house.

The thermostat in the hallway (which gets no direct forced air heat) usually reads between 60-70. Therefore, I assume the closet stays within that range. So, I creatively consider "assume" to be synonymous with "monitor".

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Old 10-24-2011, 12:26 AM   #4
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Unless you keep replacing the water on a timely basis, it won't be as effective at lowering the exothermic fermentation as the "wet t-shirt" evaporation technique...

Cheers!

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Old 10-24-2011, 01:11 AM   #5
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I would just buy a big plastic tub and put your carboy in there.. It will hold more water and thus increase your thermal mass. I put a floating thermometer in the water. It should match the temp of the beer pretty closely. You can change the temp of the water by adding frozen 2L soda bottles or heating it via an aquarium heater. Works great as long as you don't have extreme ambient temps.

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Old 10-24-2011, 01:13 AM   #6
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Phunhog is right on! That's what I did for years! I used to freeze plastic water bottles to chill it (I didn't have a cold problem). I had a cycle of bottles, big and small depending on what I needed to do to the temp.

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Old 10-24-2011, 10:32 AM   #7
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I did that for a while, it just wasn't enough extra thermal mass to do anything really. If you are making low gravity beers and the area it is in is fairly cool, it shouldn't be too much of a concern. I would worry about going above the recommended temp for the yeast than anything else, I hate fusely beers. I bought a $16, 33 gallon rubbermaid tub and fill it up halfway with cool tap water. Tons of thermal mass, if it needs more I toss in a few 1 liter bottles of ice.

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