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Old 11-17-2012, 07:51 PM   #1
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Default Temperature range for a single ferm chamber?

I find myself constantly adjusting my ferm chamber temps based on what is actively fermenting, but right now, I have multiple batches going in, and I was wondering what you guys thought about small variations in temperature between brews.

For example, right now I have the following brews that want to be at the specified temps:

- Apfelwein fermenting at 74 (started yesterday)
- La Fin Du Monde clone keg conditioning at 70
- American IIPA fermenting at 68 (starting tomorrow)

Now, these brews exist in a single chamber, and what I normally do is prioritize whichever one is most actively fermenting. So, yesterday when my Apfelwein went in, I raised it up to about 73, and tomorrow when my IIPA goes in, I'll probably drop it to 71 or so to try to balance everything.

Thoughts on this process? Am I affecting the quality of all my brews by regularly changing temps and by not quite getting them to their optimal temps?

I understand the effects of fermenting too cold (stuck ferms, etc) or fermenting too warm (banana esters, etc), and I'm pretty sure these small variations won't make that big of a difference, but I was just curious what the consensus was.

I guess it's also important to note that I'm still trying to nail down my brewing process, so my process changes a little bit every time I brew.

Thanks for any thoughts or recommendations!

I attached a crummy mobile phone pic of my very messy ferm chamber.

-Josh

ferm.jpg  
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:26 AM   #2
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I have/had the same issue. Now I set the temp for the lowest beer and use heat wraps for the others. I've done up to four at different stages of fermentation, all using different temps with great results.

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Old 11-19-2012, 04:52 AM   #3
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Heres the item's you would need.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16674/
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/c...al-carboy.html
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mini-Digital...item337dbb907a


I actually made my own insulating wraps, and found the heaters locally for about $25. The STC-100 is about $20, and I see now they have a single control version for only $13 (I only use the heat side of the control for this anyway). Haven't used the single stage version but it seems it should work fine.

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Old 11-19-2012, 10:08 PM   #4
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Too hot is generally more detrimental to your ferment than too cold, so I would tape the probe to the side of the vessel that wants to be the coldest, place it at the bottom of the fridge, and then set your controller to that vesel's desired temp. Putting the others on the higher shelves should keep them marginally warmer unless you have a fan running.

In most cases, this will just cause the ones that want to be warmer to take a little longer. It's not perfect, but I think this would give you the best performance overall. Examples where this wouldn't work: a belgian will really need the warmer temps to develop the desired flavors, and I wouldn't do this if the desired temp difference is more than about 10-15ºF.. If you try and ferment an ale that wants to be at 70ºF at a lagger temperature, you'll put your yeast to sleep.

Of course, that is just my opinion. In your situation, I'd set for 68ºF with the probe taped to the IIPA, and call it good.

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Old 11-19-2012, 10:33 PM   #5
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I do what you do. Attach the probe to the newest batch, since that's when it's most vulnerable. I've also started trying very hard to get my pitch temp as close to ferment temp as possible. I do this to keep the freezer or the heater from kicking on for a little while. When you throw a bucket of wort in at 68, needing to get it down to 62, the freezer kicks on and pulls the temp of the beer down like a champ, but it simultaneously sucks out all of my airlocks and cools my other carboys. Putting it in closer to its target temp leaves all the other beers alone. I also put it right next to the heater and the freezer coils, so that it takes less time to heat or cool that individual vessel.

Here's a picture of my set up in action:

full-fermenter.jpg  
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:36 PM   #6
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Oh yeah, and all that goes out the window for a saison. I ferment for about 36 hours at normal temp in my fermenter, then pull it out, set it on the floor in the corner of the kitchen and wrap a heating pad around it.

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Old 11-20-2012, 12:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICWiener View Post
I do what you do. Attach the probe to the newest batch, since that's when it's most vulnerable. I've also started trying very hard to get my pitch temp as close to ferment temp as possible. I do this to keep the freezer or the heater from kicking on for a little while. When you throw a bucket of wort in at 68, needing to get it down to 62, the freezer kicks on and pulls the temp of the beer down like a champ, but it simultaneously sucks out all of my airlocks and cools my other carboys. Putting it in closer to its target temp leaves all the other beers alone. I also put it right next to the heater and the freezer coils, so that it takes less time to heat or cool that individual vessel.

Here's a picture of my set up in action:
You need to be careful doing this if your already set to a low temperature.

If your already lagering at say 50f, then swap the probe onto a warm keg, the freezer is going to stay on for a long time trying to bring that new 5 gallons down...bringing the temperature of your 50f beer well below freezing. Frozen beer is not good.

I say this if your using a chest freezer, if your using a fridge and it cant get that cold its not a big deal.

People seem to make this mistake with their keezer all the time.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
If your already lagering at say 50f, then swap the probe onto a warm keg, the freezer is going to stay on for a long time trying to bring that new 5 gallons down...bringing the temperature of your 50f beer well below freezing. Frozen beer is not good.
No worries. The worst temperature swings I get are similar to what I mentioned above. 68 down to maybe 60. I don't do lagers, so that's not a concern, and I don't cold crash in that fermenter.

Another thing I try to do, since I'm long-aging several sours in my fermenter, is I try to bring the overall temp down gradually if I know I have an upcoming brew that needs a low ferm temp. I'll hit the Ranco for about a 1 degree drop every 12 hours or so. That way everything in there gets cooled down a bit and I'm facing a much softer overall swing in temp.
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