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Old 08-07-2012, 01:18 AM   #1
nottul27
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Default Cracked Fermenter Lid and Swamp Cooler Question

I have about 4 brews under my belt, brewing mainly extract using Brewers Best Kits for now. I brewed one up on Friday morning, their Summer Ale Kit. The yeast included in that kit is Safeale US-05. I did all of the necessary sanitation, hop schedule, etc. I cooled down the wort after boiling using my first DIY homebrew project (an immersion chiller). It brought down the temp to about 75 degrees and then added my tap off water which brought it down to about 68 degrees. I then aerated and pitched at around that temperature. I know that fermentation can sometimes take awhile to show visable signs so i relaxed, didn't worry and had a homebrew when i didn't see any airlock activity Saturday or Sunday. However, when i didn't see any activity when i came home from work today i got a little bit worried so I investigated. I am using a swamp cooler (more on this later) and t-shirt method, and when i lifted up the t-shirt i saw about an inch and a half crack in the fermenter lid about where the airlock grommet goes.

My question now becomes this, is there anyway to fix this? I just sprayed some star san on the crack to sanitize it and put a piece of blue tape over it. Any other suggestions on fixing this? I don't have another vessel to transfer this to (no empty buckets or carboys).

Second Question: As far as monitoring fermentation temperature I have attempted to utilize the swamp cooler method with a small fan blowing on a wet t-shirt. See picture for my setup. I am using a digital thermometer that has the probe (for monitoring meat temperature, etc). Should i have the probe in the water or should i tape this to the fermenter bucket. Theoretically the temperature of the liquid on the outside should be about the same as the temperature of the wort correct? I am only looking for ballpark figures here, not exact. Any suggestions would be awesome.

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Old 08-07-2012, 02:45 AM   #2
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You still have positive pressure but only for a short time. Can you get a replacement lid local ? Probe taped to the out side with some bubble wrap over it is what I do "although I use a freezer and temp control".

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Old 08-07-2012, 03:03 AM   #3
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I'd say just go buy some cheesecloth and experiment with open fermentation. You should probe the bucket. Can you get a stick on thermometer? That's what I have on my fermenters and it's easy to tell when they are in my swamp cooler.

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Old 08-07-2012, 03:18 AM   #4
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You still have positive pressure but only for a short time. Can you get a replacement lid local ? Probe taped to the out side with some bubble wrap over it is what I do "although I use a freezer and temp control".
I do have a local supply store that I could get a replacement at but they are currently out.
I may just order one from the web.
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:18 AM   #5
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Your piece of tape should be fine, once the fermentation begins, if it hasn't already, you couldjust cover it with a piece of sanitized plastic. I'd stick with the lid. Did you re-hydrate the yeast, or just sprinkle on top? Re-hydrating seems to speed up the start of ferment for me.

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Old 08-07-2012, 03:24 AM   #6
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I'd say just go buy some cheesecloth and experiment with open fermentation. You should probe the bucket. Can you get a stick on thermometer? That's what I have on my fermenters and it's easy to tell when they are in my swamp cooler.
Mike that is actually a good idea. However, I have a dog and 2 cats. I have heard that they could carry some wild yeast on their fur and don't know how that would turn out. I also have a one year old and the idea of an open fermenter scares me a bit. +1 on the stick on thermometer however. That is the first time I have heard of them. I will order a few.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:20 AM   #7
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Mike that is actually a good idea. However, I have a dog and 2 cats. I have heard that they could carry some wild yeast on their fur and don't know how that would turn out. I also have a one year old and the idea of an open fermenter scares me a bit. +1 on the stick on thermometer however. That is the first time I have heard of them. I will order a few.
Yea, I wouldn't risk it unless you had a safe place to keep it. Sounds like it may be tough for you. Some people do open fermentation with the lid on loosely, so I imagine a crack wouldn't be much different from that. The stick on thermometers are literally a sticker. I think they sell for like $1.50 from homebrew stores, so check them out when you get a chance. I wouldn't stress it too much; I think you will be fine. Good luck and let us know how it goes. Cheers.
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Old 08-08-2012, 02:06 PM   #8
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So I stopped by my LHBS on a whim, just because i can't seem to stay out of that place, and they had replacement lids back in stock! I went home to replace the lid, opened it up and the aroma was amazing! Fermentation was going along very nicely, lots of krausen. I don't think the crack affected it too much, just a tiny bit worried about what might have gotten in there, but we will see in about a week and a half or so. I also picked up a stick on thermometer to monitor the fermentation temperatures. I put the new lid on last night and when I went to go change out my ice for the swamp cooler this morning the airlock was bubbling away.

Thanks to all for the tips.

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