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Old 06-25-2013, 01:42 AM   #1
Ryan0186
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Default Fermentation temp issues

Received my brew kit from Northern Brewer today and couldn't be happier. I am going to wait till I get more bottles saved up (which should be very soon) and a few other pieces for to be properly prepared for brew day. I was looking over the instructions that came with the kit and noticed that the recommended temp for fermentation is between 60-72 degrees. This time of year in SC it isn't unheard of to have outdoor temp in the high 90's. We keep the AC on in the house at 78-79 degrees to help save on the power bill. I am planning on doing the entire brewing process from brew day to bottle day in my kitchen. I was just wondering if these warmer temps in my house are going to affect my batch in any negative ways. We don't have cool dark basements here so the only next best place I can think of would be the closet in my bathroom. Stay a little cooler in there during the day. Any advice on this issue is very much appreciated. Thanks everyone.

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Old 06-25-2013, 01:46 AM   #2
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You need to make yourself a swamp cooler. Just do search and you'll find instructions.

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Old 06-25-2013, 01:51 AM   #3
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While I wish I had AC in my house the usual ambient temps that I deal with are 80*+. That being said, it is very important to control your beer fermentation temps. The best way to do this if you, like me, don't really have either a basement or a naturally cold place in your house is to do an ice bath of sorts. Some people here call it a swamp cooler.

Get a large laundry bucket (or something that you can place the fermentor in with room around it for water). Fill the bucket with water up to about half way up the wort in the fermentor. Add frozen water bottles to the water to keep the water cool. The more bottles of ice you add the lower the temperature of the water will be. It's also not a bad idea to add either bleach or star san to the water since it's sitting stagnant and you don't really want to deal with moldy water. Not that that would effect your beer any but it's not really fun to clean either. You want to make sure the water temp is about the temperature that you want your wort to be. Remember that fermenting will increase the temps inside the fermentor so make sure your water sits about 62-64*. If you have a thermometer that you attach to your fermentor be sure to go by that instead of the water temp.

This has worked well for me. Granted I'm on my first batch but I have been able to keep the fermentor between 64-68* this way even though the ambient temp of the closet my beer is in is about 82*.

I can post a picture of my set up if you want to help clear up what I'm trying to say.

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Old 06-25-2013, 02:02 AM   #4
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Your next brew could be a siason, where temps in high 70's or low 80's is preferred.

Here in Maine, what I brew coincides with the season. Although I usually have a few mini-environments. Right now it's in the upper 70's on the second floor, lower 70's on the first floor, upper 60's in the garage and lower 60's in the cellar. I had my siason upstairs a month ago and it did well. I have an American wheat in the cellar right now. It might not be a perfect science, but it works ok.
If I want to do a siason in January, I would have to buy one of those heating rings to put around the bucket. There ain't a spot anywhere around here that is warmer than 64 F in January (except maybe the dog's bed).

Sounds like you have less mini-environments right now so the swamp cooler is right up your alley.

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Old 06-25-2013, 02:03 AM   #5
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IF you could post a pic that would be awesome. I will def build a swamp cooler. I am going to have to do the fermenting in my kitchen so I guess during the day I will throw a towel over the bucket to block sunlight. The kit that I ordered didn't come with any temp equipment. Where is the best place to get the temp strips that are hooked to the bucket? Thanks for the advice so far guys.

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Old 06-25-2013, 02:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan0186
IF you could post a pic that would be awesome. I will def build a swamp cooler. I am going to have to do the fermenting in my kitchen so I guess during the day I will throw a towel over the bucket to block sunlight. The kit that I ordered didn't come with any temp equipment. Where is the best place to get the temp strips that are hooked to the bucket? Thanks for the advice so far guys.
Couple bucks at the LHBS. I have also heard that aquarium stores sell them to monitor water temp. They are nothing fancy.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:08 AM   #7
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I check with the aquarium store here in town this weekend and see what I can find. Its going to be a few more weeks before I start brewing so I can get all my gear together.

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Old 06-25-2013, 03:10 AM   #8
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Quick note on bottles. Make sure you are saving the ones that don't twist off. The twist-offs tend to not seal very well when you cap them.

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Old 06-25-2013, 03:15 AM   #9
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Yea, I have been buying a lot of sweet water to get the bottles. I also bought a case of new castle but after doing some reading in the forum it seems that the clear bottles are not going to be the way to go and I might just ditch them. I have a friend that works a a bar down the road. I told her I would give her ten bucks if she gets me a few trash bags of bottles on Saturday night. I am hoping there will be some amber pry offs in the bags but I have a feeling its going to be 90 percent cheap domestic twist offs.....

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Old 06-25-2013, 03:53 AM   #10
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With that warm of an ambient temp, it's going to be a challenge to keep that fermentation cool enough (especially during the first 5-6 days when it's most crucial), but you'll have to do it if you want tasty beer. Also, try to get your wort down around 62-64*F before you pitch yeast. That will really help.

Keep in mind that the swamp cooler method is less efficient in humid climates since it relies on evaporative cooling. Have lots of frozen water bottles ready to go before you brew.

What yeast came with the kit? If it's US-05, 65-66*F seems to be the sweet spot for that. Nottingham? It loves cool temps (upper 50's-lower 60's) and gets funky above 68*F. These are beer temps, not surrounding air.

If you find yourself really enjoying this hobby and getting addicted to it, you may want to look into having a fermentation fridge/freezer regulated with an STC-1000 controller if you have the space. It is just the thing for those of us who live in the south. It will make temperature problems a thing of the past.
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