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Old 10-29-2012, 12:40 AM   #1
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Default Brewing in the Tropics...am I limited?

Forgive me.... I am EXTREMELY NEW to home brewing did my FIRST batch with a kit last night. I did a 5 gal. batch of American Light last night as it looked like the simplest of the kits that I currently have. This morning the primary fermenter was bubbling at about 1-2 bubbles per second so I assume it's going well. I also have a kit for a Porter and a kit for Amber which I will try next week.

I live in the tropics where it averages 82-84F all year. I’ve looked, but I could not find any specific threads regarding brewing in warmer tropical weather.

My question…. Am I limited to the types of beers I can brew without refrigeration or cooler temperatures? Are there any concerns I should be aware of brewing in such warm weather?


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Old 10-29-2012, 12:57 AM   #2
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Yes ther are concerns. You need to figure out how to keep your fermenter cool. Search swamp cooler. It is basically a tub of water that you put your fermenter in and then put some frozen bottles of water in ther to keep the temps down.

Most ale yeasts like the temp to be in the 60's. Too hot and the produce off flavors and fusel alcohols.

The only yeast that I can think of that likes it that hot is 3724. Belgian Saison. Even most Belgian yeasts need to be kept cooler for the first few days of fermentation.

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Old 10-29-2012, 07:37 AM   #3
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Thanks BG. I'll move the fermenter into a cooler when I get home and fill with cold/ice water.

I am curious, if I do ferment in 82-84 F would it be possible to prevent the off flavoring and fusels by bottling and refrigerating the beer sooner rather than letting it ferment completely in the secondary?


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Old 10-29-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haggendas View Post
I am curious, if I do ferment in 82-84 F would it be possible to prevent the off flavoring and fusels by bottling and refrigerating the beer sooner rather than letting it ferment completely in the secondary?


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First off, welcome to your new addiction

Essentially you want to pitch your yeast whilst your wort is at a temperature of somewhere between 70 to 80f. The lower the better. Then you really need to get the temperature of the brew down into the low to mid 60s before the yeast really gets into its stride and keep it there as constant as possible for the next few days of initial, vigorous, fermentation. This stage is critical if you want to avoid getting lots of off flavours and smells, fusels, phenols, weird esters. Fermentation is an exothermic process so heat is one of the by products. This is where things will be difficult for you because living in a tropical climate your ambient temps and humidity are high so keeping your brew at a constant, say for example, 60 degrees is going to be a challenge. Swamp cooler, swapping out bottles of frozen water, towel draped over fermenter wicking up water and a fan blowing over that set-up will lower temps for a while, but how low and for how long that will be effective I can't say. Personally, I gave up brewing from early June to end of September here in Osaka due to the problems of keeping the brew cool and I know you're a similar, if not slightly higher, heat/humidity in palau, all year round. If leaving an air conditioner on all day/night is a possibility that would make things easier for you with the swamp cooler method. If not, a dedicated fridge/fermentation chamber would definitely give you a good shot at producing some really great beer.

After the first stage of fermentation has finished winding down and the krauzen drops it's OK to let the brew warm up, gradually, to about 70f or slightly higher. You're not going to get much, if any, in the way of off flavours developing in the second or third week in the fermenter BUT you are going to allow the yeast to do a really good clean up job of certain flavours/aromas/by-products so, unless you are adding fruit/oaking/bulk aging etc. you don't need to transfer to secondary and, indeed, it is thought by many that a three week primary is better for many and varied reasons.
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Old 10-29-2012, 08:39 AM   #5
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Other have success at reducing temp by wrapping a towel or large cloth around the fermenter and making this wet with part of it in a bowl of water then turn a fan on it. The evaporation draws cool water into the fabric helping to cool the beer.

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Old 10-29-2012, 09:26 AM   #6
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I brew in Hawaii and I recommend biting the bullet and buying a chest freezer if you have the room/money....its so much easier than dealing with a swamp a cooler set up. If you don't the room our money than the cooler is your best bet

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Old 10-29-2012, 04:01 PM   #7
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I use the "Son of Fermentation Chiller" (plans online) which is a box made from foam insulation. It uses frozen bottles of water and a computer fan with thermostat to maintain fermentation temps. You should have no problem maintaining ale temps with it.

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Old 10-29-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for all your educational feedback! I appreciate it a lot!

Well, here's a quick question based on my observation. Prior to posting my question yesterday the it was bubbling pretty fast, but after I got home from work yesterday to place it in a cooler I notice that it had stopped bubbling through the airlock. I did not do anyting to it as I needed guidance.

1) Should I toss it out and consider it a loss? or
2) Put it on ice and see what happens?

Thanks and I will definitely save up for a spare fridge.

HD

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Old 10-30-2012, 01:44 AM   #9
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You may as well see your current brew through to completion so you can learn various lessons from the end result. Plus, it'll give you the chance to practice other processes necessary for ending up with your beer, packaged, conditioned and ready to drink.

The batch you're doing right now might not be all that great due to possible off flavours/aromas/fusels/phenols/esters BUTit'll still be beer. Your first homebrew made by your efforts, so it's a special creation. You never know, it might even turn out really good!! That's just how it goes.

Check out the stickies, especially this one

If you're going to go with a fridge to help keep fermentation temps low and constant you might want to look into getting a Johnson controller

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Old 10-30-2012, 07:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogri View Post
You may as well see your current brew through to completion so you can learn various lessons from the end result. Plus, it'll give you the chance to practice other processes necessary for ending up with your beer, packaged, conditioned and ready to drink.

The batch you're doing right now might not be all that great due to possible off flavours/aromas/fusels/phenols/esters BUTit'll still be beer. Your first homebrew made by your efforts, so it's a special creation. You never know, it might even turn out really good!! That's just how it goes.

Check out the stickies, especially this one

If you're going to go with a fridge to help keep fermentation temps low and constant you might want to look into getting a Johnson controller
Thanks! I'll definitely see it through. Yes, it is my FIRST BATCH EVER and I do consider it kinda special...even if it doesn't turn out

Thanks everyone!

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