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Old 01-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #1
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Default Yeast Temperature / Outdoor Fermenting

Guys

Happy New Year.


I made a Lager on 12/24 outdoors- I live in NY. Its COLD right now- below freezing

I have this shed /shack outside- its weathered- and beaten up- but is warmer than the outside-

I created a fermentation chamber out of a 2 door cabinet I had- and insulated the inside- wrapped a blanket around that sucker- and its been going off really well since I put it in on the 24th.



Here are my issues: used s23 dry lager yeast- 24 hour prior- did a starter

The yeast ideally wants to be in the 48-50 temp range- im probably hitting around 44 at best. I might even be cooler- its nearly IMPOSSIBLE to tell- as the outside of the carboy is colder than the inside- throwing off the temps.


I have a infrared temp reader I took from work to read server temperatures and crak unit temperatures- I wasnt able to penetrate the plastic and get a core reading of the beer.


I brewed 50 gallons this summer. This is my first lager- and my first outdoor experiment. Will the cooler temps take longer to ferment? I know that its fermenting and doing well- the chamber smells like beer- the kreusen is nice- the yeast are dancing up and down- to my amazement.


Should I keep strict to my 14 day primary- 48 D rest - 30 days secondary at 35 or whatever cold as hell temp I can get this thing at... Should I extend the primary due to the colder fermentating temps -- or do I want to get this beer off the trub asap?

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:34 PM   #2
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Temp CONSISTENCY is pretty darn important to a lager fermentation as well. I typically ferment my lager yeasts at 48F with a -3 differential, so I know lager yeasts will ferment at a 45F ambient temp, but much lower than that, and you probably aren't going to get anything at all. If it is above freezing outside, I would put the carboy in some sort of container where you can surround it with water, which will help regulate the temps and keep the temp consistent despite ambient swings. The more thermal mass, the better.

If the outside temp is going to be much lower than 45F, though, you are literally wasting your time trying to ferment at those temps, the yeast will hybernate.

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:37 PM   #3
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You need to do something like this to lager outside in the winter.

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Old 01-03-2013, 08:55 PM   #4
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The water bath is key. Here is an analysis:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...g-outside.html

Another advantage of the water bath is that the temperature will be within a degree of the fermentation temperature so you can easily monitor temperature.

Looks like you average temperature is below freezing, so you're going to want a heat source soon. An aquarium heater should work:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...e-control.html

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Old 01-04-2013, 03:31 AM   #5
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I am confident that the temperature is 44 on the carboy - with a possible higher temp in the core. I took the carboy out of the chamber and put it on the table in the shed- and by my moving it- shaking slightly- swirling if you will, I saw some newish stuff I never saw before. Yeast started shooting off the bottom- and pretty much we had a soul shakedown party in the carboy with floaties EVERYWHERE.

I can see how a lot of the yeast has hibernated now- as it is visibly different than the trub below it. Im a few days shy of 2 weeks. Ill try and save this thing by taking it inside in a very cold swamp cooler- so the temperature will raise 10 degrees over the course of 12 hours or so give or take- and bring it to my D-rest. Ill then lower the temp by adding more ice over the next 48 hours to get to my 45 range- then take it outside - into the chamber- no blanket- and give it another day or 2 - then take it out of the chamber for what I believe my shed can hold- which is a constant 34-36 degrees- letting it lager for a month to 6 weeks before I even pick it up and take another sniff.

From reading up on the little outdoor brewing that I could scrape up plus John Palmers reference- http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10-5.html im able to gather that the smell is correct- the look looks correct- I guess im just nervous because I have never tried a lager- I dont have a fridge or nice setup yet- but utilizing the winter- as they did back in the old days- could just be about things like you mention- temp consistency- (which I have- as long as we dont run into a heat wave- or my shed goes below freezing- which according to poland spring- thats not happened yet - getting enough yeast in the early stages to do their thing slowly- getting it into a secondary- and waiting a long time.

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Old 01-05-2013, 02:39 AM   #6
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Update:

I took the carboy out of the shed - and did a grav reading.

OG was 1.056
Current is 1.041

The look is nice (although some shaking occurred, swirling etc last night- and via transport today.

Tastes very good surprisingly- clean and crisp at this stage. Still not finished-

Its in a swamp cooler- in the extra shower- in a room with no heat inside the room.

Going to raise to 50- for 48- then over to secondary to finish for 8 more weeks. By the looks of it, ill have a ton(bunch) of yeast in suspension to hopefully finish out the product-


Based on the 10 days at 44ish, dropping from 1.056 to .041 is making progress... right?

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