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Old 11-02-2013, 12:50 PM   #1
bigken462
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Default Does typical home day/night temps cause drastic changes in brew temp?

I will be making my first purchase in a brewing kit this next payday and I'm wondering how the autumn/fall temps inside my residence will affect what I'm trying to make.

Many of you face the same problem I'm sure. I set my home thermostat at 69-70 degrees or so on heat, but during the day time when the weather warms, the house temp may climb to 76-78 degrees before the evening temps start to drop again. This is just the time of year that there is no happy medium when it comes to heating or cooling the house. We can easily go from using the heat pump at night, to the AC during the daytime. It sucks.

Would those few hours that the house temps go up cause a problem with temperature change in a plastic bucket or glass carboy to cause a problem?

No cellar or basement here. Just a pantry/wash room. At most, I have a cpl closets, but they are on the end of the house and often tends to stay warm on hotter days.

I should note obviously with this being my first brew that I will be doing a extract kit. I was looking over a few recipes last night and was considering a Pumpkin Spice Porter, or American Ale. Quite honestly, I can't make my mind up. Grrr.

Anyway, will this small 10 degree temperature shift create a problem that I will need to address?

Kenny T

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Old 11-02-2013, 12:55 PM   #2
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I keep my fermenter covered on my fermenter stand in the mancave in the Southern facing room of the house. Kept a little cool with dark tee shirts covering the fermenters to keep light out. But they also help keep temp swings slowed down over time. There's so much liquid to 5-6 gallons of beer that temps don't change that fast after they equalize a bit. But you still have to try & keep temps under control somehow. Like a swamp cooler.

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Old 11-02-2013, 01:11 PM   #3
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Use a swamp cooler as unionrdr said. Get yourself a garbage pail and fill it with water. Put your bucket or carboy in there. The water in the pail will be about same as the fermenting wort and be less susceptible to temp fluctuations than just a dark t-shirt. Use 2 liter soda bottles filled with water and frozen to keep the temp down and bottles filled with hot water to raise it. It's a PITA, but it's really the best way to control temps without a dedicated fridge or chamber.

I also wouldn't keep it in the southern side of the house. The southern side of your house will experience the greatest swings of temperatures because of the sun. That's why southern facing windows are great for plants and why many people plant trees on the south side of homes to create shade.

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Old 11-02-2013, 01:14 PM   #4
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For some reason,this particular room works out pretty well for me. The MB upstairs in the other end of the same southern facing part of the house gets really warm. Moreso than the 1st floor mancave on the oppopsite end.

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Old 11-02-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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I agree with using a swamp cooler. And since I keep the thermostat pretty low overnight and during the workday (mid 50's) I also got an aquarium heater that I put into the swamp cooler that keeps things at a constant temperature which I can control.

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Old 11-02-2013, 02:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kozzer View Post
I agree with using a swamp cooler. And since I keep the thermostat pretty low overnight and during the workday (mid 50's) I also got an aquarium heater that I put into the swamp cooler that keeps things at a constant temperature which I can control.
I also agree with using the aquarium heater. Before I got a chest freezer and a Ranco temp controller, I put my beers in a swamp cooler in my garage. During winter when the temps got below freezing, the aquarium heater kept the fermenters at 66F where I needed them to be.
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:13 PM   #7
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I have a 10 gallon stone pickling crock. Would this be a good use to make what you guys are calling a swamp cooler? It's big enough that I guess I could also insert a fish aquarium heating element in it also if needed.

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Old 11-04-2013, 10:20 PM   #8
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As long as your fermentor fits inside the bucket with room for water and a few water bottles of ice/hot water then it will work fine.

Here is what I do and it worked for me in the desert of New Mexico in a house with no AC!! http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/fermenting-desert-420796/#post5338240

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Old 11-05-2013, 12:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigken462 View Post
I

Anyway, will this small 10 degree temperature shift create a problem that I will need to address?
I'm inclined to think the 10F swing in temp won't be that much of a problem. I'm assuming you are making a 5 gal. batch and the thermal mass of 5 gal. of liquid is pretty significant. You will certainly get a little temperature shift but I doubt it will be more than a couple of degrees over a 24 hour period. Mitigate this by putting the carboy in the crock filled with more water and keep it in a dark place where the temperatures will remain the most stable.

I'm convinced that we tend to overthink the whole brewing process. We should remember that people have been brewing beer for thousands of years. How long have we had refrigerators and temperature control? Sure, if we want to brew competition quality beer we need to pick every nit we can find. But if what we want to do is just make a drinkable beer that we can enjoy with our buds and say, "Hey, I made this!" I don't see a problem with just relaxing a bit. Just pretend we're in the 19th century.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:26 AM   #10
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I agree, it won't cause drastic changes in brew temp. Take data with your fermometer and see if it matters.

Then insulate it to fight the diurnal shift, if you're worried about it. I think the pickling crock would itself probably be all you'd need. Maybe a blanket around it or over it.

If you are thinking of this and haven't started yet, just fill your carboy with water and take measurements some day.

Diurnal peaks and troughs last for about 3-4 hrs each, rest of the day between them. It's not to the point of harmful heat levels anyway, 78deg is only a little bit too warm even if it reaches equilibrium, which it likely won't.

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