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-   -   Carboy Fermenting (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/carboy-fermenting-371390/)

rklinck 12-02-2012 02:46 PM

Carboy Fermenting
I recently bought a 6 gallon carboy to use for fermenting so that I can actually see the progress on some of my brews (I currently have two batches sitting in plastic buckets and it kills me not being able to see anything). I know that it is important to keep the carboy out of the light while the beer is fermenting, but does that mean complete darkness all the time? My plastic fermenters are sitting in our guest room (SWMBO keeps it around 68 degrees in our house so perfect temp for ale yeast). The lights are generally off, but we go in there from time to time for reasons other than the beer. I am assuming that turning the lights on and off less than once a day won't cause a major problem.

F250 12-02-2012 02:49 PM

If you're concerned about light, throw a towel over it.


dadshomebrewing 12-02-2012 02:50 PM

turning the lights on once in a while isn't going to hurt a thing.

it will be fine.

it's beer. it will be fine.

if the guest room as a closet, that might be even better

cheesecake 12-02-2012 02:55 PM

Lights from lams wont really hurt it. Its the light from outside. I normally throw a sweatshirt over my carboys

rklinck 12-02-2012 03:03 PM

When I cover the carboy, should I try to wrap something around so that I don'g cover the airlock?

stpug 12-02-2012 03:15 PM

I've always kept my carboys in rooms with incandescent lights that go on frequently, or having windows that provide intermittent, natural ambient light, and have never had any issue arise because of it. No off flavors, no stuck fermentation, no skunkiness, etc. I've never allowed a carboy to sit in a room with large amounts ambient light, or in direct sunlight, uncovered.

The caveat is that I will occasionally use black plastic garbage bags and a blanket to assist in temperature control, but not all of the time - frequently my carboys are sitting in a room against a wall with nothing wrapped around them. I use a blanket primarily as a way of moderating fermenting temperature, but also incidentally serves to block light. It keeps in some of the warmth in my ales when fermenting in a cold room. The black plastic garbage bags also serve to moderate fermenting temperatures to a lesser extent, and to dim the lighting. Where a blanket may actually provide too much heat retention, a black plastic garbage bag won't retain nearly as much heat. The light blocking from a single layer black plastic garbage bag is so-so (perfect for electric lighting IMO), so I will use two black plastic garbage bags if I'm concerned about there being too much light (i.e. large amounts of ambient light).

Side note: Setting a carboy in a black plastic bag with an upside-down juice pitcher over the airlock and pulling the garbage bag strings tight also provides a catch-basin for blow-off fermentation in case it happens.

That's how I do it and it works for me :D

HeavyHefe 12-02-2012 03:26 PM

I also like to watch.

luke2080 12-02-2012 03:32 PM


Originally Posted by HeavyHefe (Post 4641573)
I also like to watch.

That wins the Creepy Uncle Comment of the Day award.

Direct UV light is what you want to avoid. Towels work great. If you cover the airlock it shouldn't matter. Towels allow the transfer of gas/air, so won't add to any pressure build up.

Minky 12-02-2012 04:54 PM


Originally Posted by rklinck (Post 4641480)
(SWMBO keeps it around 68 degrees in our house so perfect temp for ale yeast).

That is a good temp for many ales, if you're speaking of the temp of the wort itself. The fermentation process creates a lot of heat so, with an ambient temperature of 68, you could see your wort temp shoot up into the mid-70's or higher.

Do a search on this site for "swamp cooler". Using a swamp cooler will kill two birds with one stone. You'll be controlling your temp and blocking light at the same time.

BBL_Brewer 12-02-2012 04:57 PM

I use old t-shirts to cover my carboys. You have a hole for the airlock that way.

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