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Old 10-30-2010, 09:26 PM   #1
b33risGOOD
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Default Creative ways to Lager without Fridge

After brewing extract Ales all summer, I am itching to try my luck at a lager. I do not have a fridge that I can use but I do live in Canada and Fall/Winter is here. I have a wine cellar which gets quite cold but right now it is just under room temp.

Has anyone come up with some creative ways to keep their lager cool without having to use a fridge? Eventually come Nov/Dec my cellar is going to be damn cold. Id like to know what my options are if anyone has been in the situation.

I am open to the style of lager, I have glass or plastic fementator or secondary if it makes difference.

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Old 10-30-2010, 11:29 PM   #2
nebben
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I've done lager fermentations outdoors before, to take advantage of the seasonal temperature drops.

This should work assuming daily outdoor (or garage or cellar) temperatures are at 50F or less. I have a 30G rubbermaid trash can that I fill about halfway with water. Then, I lower a carboy with fresh wort into it, careful to make sure it is stable and not floating in the can. I have an inexpensive temperature controller that I put its probe into the liquid, and connect it to a 100W fish tank heater. I carefully put the lid onto the trash can to keep birds and crap from falling into the trash can. I dial in the temperature controller to start heating at about 50F.

The extra thermal mass of the carboy+trash can water help moderate daytime/nighttime temperatures, and the heater helps keep everything from getting too cold at night. I did this in March and saw outdoor temps between 40F-58F during the day, and probably down to 20F or close to it at night.

Its sort of an experimental thing, but it is cheap to put together. I haven't decided if having a mini-fridge would be more economical to maintain the 50F inside instead after $70 in trash cans, heaters, temperature controllers...etc.

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Old 10-31-2010, 02:44 AM   #3
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I did a bock and a lager in my basement last year. I had a closet that doesn't really reach the small space heater that the rest of my basement has. I kept temps in there for about a week before I started and it floated in the high 40s low 50s. I know its a bit high for both, but they turned out just fine. I'm in Buffalo so I'm well aware of the temps you get - if your basement is like mine you should be able to work it out, just give it time. I don't think I started my bock until around January.

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Old 10-31-2010, 05:23 PM   #4
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Yea, my cold room is underground and NOT insolated so it gets damn cold. Ill just have to be patient and wait till around January.

Also ive found some lager yeast strains that can funcation at warmer then lager temps, so i might just takea stab at one and see how the beer turns out.

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Old 11-01-2010, 02:04 AM   #5
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Well, think about what was done in Germany so many years ago. Dig a cellar into an area near a river, plant some chestnut trees over said land to keep it shaded, wait for the product to finish and drink! People have been making beer with regular climatic conditions for a REALLY long time... to think that a lager couldn't be done in your cellar in the winter is not reasonable. Sounds like you have the ready-made lagering room ready! I would just take some temps throughout the day and see what kind of range you are looking at before plunking them down there to wait (and be great).

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Originally Posted by BierMuncher View Post
If the inside of your fermenter looks like there was a monkey pooh throwing contest...you're golden.
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