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Old 04-27-2009, 11:42 AM   #1
hlumbard
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Default Primary Fermenter temp too high?

I'm heading into day 3 on a Brown ale (my first homebrew) and I want to know how worried I should be. My air temp is right at 70, it's the best my little window AC unit can do. It just happens that NY is in a bit of a heat wave at the moment. The sticky thermometer says I'm at 75-77 on the bucket. The beer fermented quite vigorously the first night, almost woke up to raining beer. I now use a blow off hose.

1.) Could that really be the gap between and air and my beer?
2.) Is this ok? Do I need to get a wet towel out or something?

Thanks!

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Old 04-27-2009, 12:25 PM   #2
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You should be ok, but some kind of swamp cooler set up wouldn't hurt. Use the search function and swamp cooler, you'll see.

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Old 04-27-2009, 12:58 PM   #3
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i know every one here will say you are fine. and you may be...BUT i have noticed the off flavors from fermenting at too high of a temp to be unpalatable in my opinion. FWIW

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Old 04-27-2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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I live in the NC in an old uninsulated house. I set my fermenter on the kitchen counter in front of my window unit, set a couple frozen bottles around the fermenter, and drape a towel that I mist with a spray bottle 3 or 4 times a day. You have to deal with humidity in NY, so a basic swamp cooler method will not usually cut it. the Window AC unit actually drys the air making the swamp cooling method somewhat efficient in humid climates.

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Old 04-27-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
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That is a bit too warm, but any damage is already done. You may end up with some fusel alcohols that at least will mellow with a little extra time in the bottle but could give you a "hot alcohol" flavor.
I am not sure if this would be much of an issue in a brown, but it made one of my hefe's unpalatable until 2+ months in the bottle.
Very simple solution, set your carboy or bucket in a tub or trashcan, or whatever. Cover with a wet t-shirt and keep a few inches of water in the tub. The shirt will wick up the water and cool the fermenter as it evaporates.

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Old 04-27-2009, 05:51 PM   #6
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The initial few days of fermentation are critical when it comes to temps. You very well might end up with some flavors that will clash with what you were expecting. I like the wicking method. I also use a water bath with frozen ice-packs and/or ice. It becomes so simple when you do this and your beer will love you for it!

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Old 04-27-2009, 06:08 PM   #7
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I use a "Mother of a Fermentation Chiller" : Wort-O-Matic: 38DD Mother of a Fermentation Chiller
Mine is without the beautiful wood paneling finish because I need to be able to pick it up and move it up / down stairs etc. by myself.
It holds two 6.5 gal. carboys, and for the ice I fill and freeze heavy duty plastic jars that once held malt extract. I actually found the fan / thermostat to be overkill - I accidentally stopped fermentation by making the chamber making it too cold. The jars are in a large tupperware tray (storage bin) to catch any condensation.
I don't believe it would be adequate for lagering, but for knocking off a few degrees it's great.

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Old 04-27-2009, 06:14 PM   #8
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I'll get it into a swamp cooler after work tonight although it seems the damage may already be done. I see a "Son of Fermentation" cooler in my future....

The ideal temp my instructions said were 60-70F. Is this ambient air temp or wort temp?

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Old 04-27-2009, 06:14 PM   #9
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I used these plans: Wort-O-Matic: 38DD Mother of a Fermentation Chiller
I left off the beautiful wood paneling because I need to move it up / down stairs when not in use. I leave the fan off because I accidentally stopped fermentation by making it too cold. I don't think it would be adequate for lagering however. I also keep the ice jugs in a tupperware bin that pulls out like a tray, so the condensation is contained.
(Oops! I just meant to edit, not post twice)

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Old 04-27-2009, 06:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hlumbard View Post
I'll get it into a swamp cooler after work tonight although it seems the damage may already be done. I see a "Son of Fermentation" cooler in my future....

The ideal temp my instructions said were 60-70F. Is this ambient air temp or wort temp?
This is referring to wort temp as fermenting wort can be several degrees higher than ambient. I use a water bath with an inline chiller set to 65°F for a temp range like you mentioned. The t-shirt method will usually get you to somewhere in the high 60's without jumping through very many hoops at all.
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