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dkeller12 09-27-2012 03:26 PM

Help maintaining ferment temps in Florida
 
So I live in Florida and as with most homes here, I don't have a basement to leave my fermenter in. I am trying everything I can maintain good temps without buying a second chest freezer on top of the one that I already have filled with food. Right now I am using the T-shirt method but that is going to be a lot of work over the next month as I ferment my IPA I brewed this passed Sunday. I am thinking about building a cooler box out of 2" insulated sheathing and loading it with frozen water bottles but not sure if this will be much different. Anybody have suggestions as to how someone in the south (Florida) can easily maintain temps fairly easily and not too expensive? By the way the reason I am trying to do the as easy and inexpensive as possible is due to SWMBO is getting slightly irritated with my new hobby :(

mikemet 09-27-2012 03:40 PM

How large a batch are you making? I find that if you do a 5G batch- you will be able to 'sink' the carboy / bucket in a swamp cooler (laundry tub, wrap some blankets around it to further insulate it) - rotate several 2 liter empty soda bottles filled with water / ICE- in there- in the morning- and the evening-

I found this to be VERY effective during my hot summer in NY. My room temp was 80- yet my carboy was sitting at a pretty 65- with 2 2liter bottles of ice. I have at least 8 2 liter bottles in the freezer so that I can always have extras. I sometimes use them to balance out the space in the cooler to keep things from rocking around.

It by far is the quickest- easiest way.

SurlyBrew 09-27-2012 03:43 PM

I use a bucket filled with 60 degree water, cover carboy with a towel and use the frozen bottles to keep it cool. That should be all you need. As long as you keep the carboy cool during the primary fermentation stage you should be alright. Just make sure you put some sanitizer in with the water to keep it from getting smelly.

TopherM 09-27-2012 03:43 PM

I'm in the Tampa Bay area. I have a commercial beverage cooler I bought for $125 that I added a Johnson A-419 temp controller to for $53. Over the long haul, that's pretty cheap and very blingy!!

Have you searched the SWAMP COOLER method?? Basically just go get one of those big laundry baskets from WalMart (better known as keg buckets in college!!) for about $10-12, fill it with water, and rotate in 4-6 bottles of frozen water bottles every 8-12 hours. That maintains a pretty steady 65ish for under $15 total investment.

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:A...8LZWTzvD5OmFZA

trevor_b 09-27-2012 03:48 PM

Have you searched craigslist?

I recently found a fridge with an already wired love controller for $75. I got tired of doing the swamp cooler method.

EvilDeadAsh 09-27-2012 03:52 PM

Get a Cool Brewing Cooler. It works like a swamp cooler, except it isn't as messy. You can keep your temps in check with that, and they are cheap. It also has a small enough footprint that you can just keep it in a closet, out of the way - nice feature for SWMBO.

dkeller12 09-27-2012 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EvilDeadAsh
Get a Cool Brewing Cooler. It works like a swamp cooler, except it isn't as messy. You can keep your temps in check with that, and they are cheap. It also has a small enough footprint that you can just keep it in a closet, out of the way - nice feature for SWMBO.

Have you had any experience with this cooler? This sounds like a good idea and it looks a lot better than the bucket despite being a little more cost wise than the bucket. I am thinking SWMBO would appreciate that over a bucket therefore she may be more reasonable about its cost.

dkeller12 09-27-2012 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikemet
How large a batch are you making? I find that if you do a 5G batch- you will be able to 'sink' the carboy / bucket in a swamp cooler (laundry tub, wrap some blankets around it to further insulate it) - rotate several 2 liter empty soda bottles filled with water / ICE- in there- in the morning- and the evening-

I found this to be VERY effective during my hot summer in NY. My room temp was 80- yet my carboy was sitting at a pretty 65- with 2 2liter bottles of ice. I have at least 8 2 liter bottles in the freezer so that I can always have extras. I sometimes use them to balance out the space in the cooler to keep things from rocking around.

It by far is the quickest- easiest way.

Oh, it is a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon bucket.

Safa 09-27-2012 06:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dkeller12 (Post 4449260)
SWMBO is getting slightly irritated with my new hobby :(

I know exactly how you feel. First batch in primary right now and I'm not popular!

Who knew that making her a cider and a gluten free beer wouldn't be sufficient to keep her happy!? Maybe I need to sacrifice to the beer gods.

As far as cooling: I have my bucket half submerged in a cooler with a towel over the top, ambient temp is 75 and the bucket stayed at 72 for the whole process, which is too high according to what I've read/been told.

Even adding ice and cooler bricks didn't help except for very temporarily. I'll be looking into the cooler EvilDeadAsh mentioned pretty soon.

Whattawort 09-27-2012 06:20 PM

I have a similar issue since I too live in the south (albeit not quite as far south as you). I've found that getting a large rubbermaid (square or rectangle) tub and filling it half way with cold water and putting that in your tub is a great way to keep the fermenter cool. I have mine sitting directly under an AC vent too. I actually discovered that the t-shirt method is not effective for me. Try to swap out 2 frozen 2 liters bottles once a day or every other day. One should go on either side of the fermenter. I also pour a healthy amount of bleach (eeek!) into the water in the tub to keep the flies and other critters and vegetation from thriving in there. I would just about kill to have a basement, but there aren't many of those to be found around here.

The t-shirt thing doesn't work because the humidity tends to provide mold a good place to live even if you change it out regularly. The water that wicks up the shirt also becomes warm and dank very quickly. I prefer to have the top of the fermenter exposed to cool circulating air than to be trapped under a warm, dank shirt with mold spores.


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