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Old 12-07-2013, 07:35 PM   #1
Barley_Bob
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Default Cold Basement

Hey gang! I've been reading a lot of great material in this forum and it's finally time for me to make my first post. I have what I hope is a fairly simple problem. I'm getting ready to brew my first batch in the next couple of weeks. I'm prepared to do a Dusseldorf Altbier and a California Common. I bought WLP036 and WLP051, and I intend to do the Altbier followed by the California Common a couple of weeks later. So far, so good.

The plan all along has been to conduct my primary and secondary in my basement. A few days ago, I put little cups of water all over the place, and I went today with a liquid thermometer to check the temps. The warmest spot is 59*F! That's under the stairs. I'm not going to call this a crisis, but it's an issue.

So, the big question - can I just put my primary under the stairs at 59*, or, failing that, is there a way I can keep it warmer? I've thought about maybe enclosing it more by walling off the underside of the stair with cardboard or something. Once it starts fermenting maybe it will provide some of it's own ambient heat. Once thing is for sure, cold conditioning the California Common is not going to be a problem.

Let's go ahead and rule out moving it upstairs now. I don't have a convenient place, my wife would be pissed, and my kids would be into it. Let's also rule out waiting until spring. That would be a bummer.

WLP036 - 65-69* (although I read on their website even 62* is okay)
WLP051 - 66-70*
Thanks for the help!
Your friend,
Barley Bob

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Old 12-07-2013, 07:39 PM   #2
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With those temp ranges,59F would be a bit too cold. Maybe get a heating pad or some similar devoce to keep the temp in range?

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Old 12-07-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
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I think you'll be ok as is at 59. I ferment in a fridge with a temp probe and I usually set my controller to 59-60 and my Carboy typically ferments between 66-70. Since fermentation normally raises temps 7-10 I think you'll be good. I would just try to pitch at the temp you wan it to ferment at since you'll be placing the Carboy in a colder spot.

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Old 12-07-2013, 07:42 PM   #4
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My initial ferment temps usually only go up a couple degrees if the room is cool,like this time of year. At least wrap an old winter coat or quilt around it. That help a couple degrees.

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Old 12-07-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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You are definitely going to want to move the fermentation to a warmer part of your house. Otherwise your yeast will start to go dormant and won't do their job. The only other option you may have is buying a good space heater with a thermostat or something like this.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/h...-heat-mat.html

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Old 12-07-2013, 09:51 PM   #6
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Remember the fermentation will raise temp. In my experience its about 6-7 degrees. You're looking at a ferment temp around 65 degrees. A base temp of 59 is perfectly fine. I ferment all my ales at 64 degrees and they come out nice and clean. At that temp, the yeast will not go dormant. Go for it!

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Old 12-07-2013, 10:02 PM   #7
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Perfect temp for a lager. I use safelager 34-70 all winter and the beers are exceptional.

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Old 12-07-2013, 10:12 PM   #8
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Not sure what all the issue is, I ferment my common steam at 60 all the time and it turns out fine, go for it, the temp will bump a bit when active and the beer will ferment perfectly fine and then cold condition as well.

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Old 12-07-2013, 10:19 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your help, guys. I'll stop worrying, and, if the temp is a hair low, I'll wrap it in a blanket or something. I will definitely keep a close eye on it. Adding a heater would be good, but, as I'm just starting out, I'm not eager to sink cash into the added piece of mind. It would be a good investment down the road.

I really didn't realize how cold my basement got. If I had, I would have set out to do lagers from the beginning. I do love a good Oktoberfest. Anyway, my storm cellar is 33* right now, and I'll bet money it stays cold enough to lager through summer.

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Old 12-07-2013, 11:57 PM   #10
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I agree, it should be fine. I find that a two gallon batch in my 59' basement only gets to 61-64, but a five gallon batch gets into the upper 60s. Raising it off the floor helps it warm, the cold concrete saps heat, which helps in summer.

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