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Old 06-01-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
Jordan Wilson
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Default How warm is too warm?

Here in Philly the temperature is of course picking up with summer rolling in- it's heading up into the 80's now.

This of course raises the temp in my apartment- the temp in my bedroom (I'm keeping my fermenter and bottled beer in my bedroom closet, due to the lack of space that comes with urban living) is currently 80 F.

When it gets much warmer, I'll turn the AC on, but since it's a heavy-duty window unit and not central air, it would get pretty expensive to leave running constantly. So I'll probably only turn it on when I get home from work, and just leave the windows open during the day. Which, of course, means that my apartment will get quite muggy and warm over the coming months.

Which leads me to my question- how warm is too warm to store my fermenting beer? I know that fermentation should ideally take place at 65-70, but that probably won't be too realistic for a few months.

If 80 is getting close to the danger zone (or if it's in it), is there a trick that homebrewers in warmer climates use to cool their beer? Or are there certain types of beer that are better to brew in warmer temps (that are less likely to be ruined by heat) that I should stick to over the summer?

Any and all advice welcome. Thanks much!

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Old 06-01-2008, 05:22 PM   #2
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get a large Rubbermaid tub from wal-mart or someplace like that and fill it about 1/3 of the way with water, take a few one or two liter soda bottles and freeze water in them. To get the temp that you need add the ice and set your carboy/ bucket in to the container. That should help you brew during the warmer months

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Old 06-01-2008, 05:37 PM   #3
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Room temperature (68-70) is generally recognized as a good fermentation temperature for ales.

If you ferment in the upper 70s or higher, you'll have off flavors.

As the previous poster said, there are ways to lower your fermentation temperature if you can't warm down your room.

Some people also have covered their carboys with wet T-shirts and placed in water baths - the water will wick up into the shirt and evaporate, causing some degree of cooling. Others have built insulated, air-conditioned fermentation cabinets. Check out the DYI section for some designs.

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Old 06-01-2008, 05:47 PM   #4
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If you wanted to roll with the temps that you have, a style I'm experimenting with right now is the Saison style, which is brewed at higher temps, 95F is apparently used to make saison dupont, a hallmark of the style. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brasserie_Dupont I believe that Wyeast and Whitelabs have that yeast in their catalogs, I just cultivated some off the dregs from a Saison Dupont. I have a feeling I'll be doing some more as the summer months creep in over here.

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Old 06-01-2008, 06:02 PM   #5
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If you have a few extra dollars I always thought this solution was nice. >>http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?showtopic=60288

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Old 06-01-2008, 06:44 PM   #6
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Ah, that's good. I'm planning on trying a Saison for my next batch, so that works out well. I'm starting a Belgian-style Wit today, so hopefully the weather doesn't warm up too much while I've got that one going.

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Old 06-01-2008, 06:45 PM   #7
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So OK, I'll go grab a keg bucket or something and rig up a water-bath for cooling. How about bottles? Any good way to keep them cool? I'm guessing having them float around in the keg bucket might not be the best plan.

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Old 06-01-2008, 08:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blender View Post
If you have a few extra dollars I always thought this solution was nice. >>http://www.brewboard.com/index.php?showtopic=60288
That's what I use - my Koelsch-style ale is fermenting at 60 degrees inside on of those right now, while room temperature is about 78.
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Old 06-01-2008, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianP View Post
Room temperature (68-70) is generally recognized as a good fermentation temperature for ales.
Only problem being that your temp in the fermenter is going to be several degrees higher than your ambient, so you're going to be in that mid to upper 70s range w/ all the fusel and ester production that can be associated with that for many yeast strains.

OP: I am in the same area as you and will be employing one of these this summer for fermentation temp control:
http://www.olderascal.com/brewing/fermentationchiller/

I have been fermenting in a basement that is 69-72 ambient w/ water baths and ice to draw the temp lower to keep my fermentations in the vessel down in the mid 60s.
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:37 PM   #10
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I'm currently employing the t-shirt over the carboy in a bucket of water method. It's cheap and effective. I have a fan blowing on the t-shirt increasing the evaporation and it works really well. By adjusting the speed of the fan you can effectively control the temperature of your fermentation. Ambient temperature in my house is 76F. With the t-shirt and fan my carboy is staying right around 68F.

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