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nytimez 06-07-2011 01:44 AM

Second Brew: Should I Wait?
 
Hello -- I just brewed my first beer today (and already had my first n00b infection panic, posted in another thread)... and no matter how this batch turns out, I want to brew another.

Here's the thing: I live in New York, and when I am ready to brew again it will be mid-July or August... and I expect temps to hit the 90s with loads of humidity.

Is there anything I can brew/ferment/bottle in this kind of weather? I have AC of course but I do not keep it on 24/7 and certainly would not want the AC on while I'm not home, etc. etc.

So -- should I wait for cooler weather, or can I keep at it? And if so, what can I brew?

Thanks in advance.

Hovercar 06-07-2011 02:02 AM

Empty out your fridge and ferment lagers :D

Honestly I have no idea if there are ale yeasts that can ferment that high, but I'm going to guess no. Anyhow, you want steady temps for fermenting, or it throws the yeast all out of whack.


I think >_>

Legin 06-07-2011 02:14 AM

It's probably best to wait. Belgians are best for hot weather. You can go to around 75 degrees, sometimes higher. If you can somehow control the temp for the first 3-4 days, you can then let it rise to whatever to finish out. Within the first few days the flavor profile is mostly finished.

Yeast will certainly ferment at that temp, although the result may not be drinkable. Expect high esters. Yum yum bubblegum.

gyst 06-07-2011 02:16 AM

Swamp cooler! My apt has been 80 for the past week, and I am currently fermenting an ESB that I wanted at temps of 65-68. So I got a plastic bucket that went about half-way up my carboy, filled it with cold water from the tap (my cold water is about 68 from the tap), and chucked in an ice pack or two. I chilled the wort to 68 and pitched, then put the Better Bottle in the plastic bucket with a wet t-shirt covering the bottle and soaking in the cool water. The t-shirt soaks up the cool water and evaporates it off, creating a 'sweating' effect that cools down the wort. With regular, twice a day ice pack changes (morning and evening), my cooler has stayed between 65-70, with my wort running a degree or two cooler (I took the wort temp a few times with a sanitized thermometer).

Of course, as this has been a bit of a PITA, my next brew is gonna be a Saison. Gonna let the warm temps work for me, not against me.

ryandlf 06-07-2011 02:16 AM

After a few more batches you are going to realize that you need some way of controlling your temperature if you really want to make good beer. I use an upright freezer with a temperature controller on it that keeps an ambient temp of 58 (the beer stays right around 64 and goes up to around 70 when fermenting). I bought the freezer off craigslist for $50 and the controller from my LHBS for $60...temperature problems solved and I can fit 4 carboys in there comfortably.

Refly 06-07-2011 02:23 AM

I'm in the same climate (Long Island) and I wrestled with that question last year. For me, I think getting the fermentation process down to a science with good temperature control has made a huge difference to the quality of my brews. I'm not going to brew anything in July and I actually have my last brew fermenting away as of today.

Having said that, there are a lot of methods to deal with temperature - coolers with bottles of frozen water, fans with teeshirts to evaporate water and the like. Do a search and you will see some very inventive and inexpensive methods and many are well tested. For me, it's a decision over how much time and effort it will be to keep the beer at a temperature I want vs. the need to make another batch. Having a pipeline made that decision a lot easier this year so I'm avoiding July and August.

Since you are on your first brew you may want to consider some of the same things - do you have control over the environment or is it going to be up and down while you are away, are you willing/able to put in the effort once the weather gets warmer, etc... another possibility is that some styles do actually like higher temperatures - saisons as an example with the right yeast. It could be something to look into if you feel the need to get batch number 2 under your belt.

It's a great hobby - good luck on batch number one :mug:

nytimez 06-07-2011 02:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Legin (Post 2985687)
Belgians are best for hot weather. You can go to around 75 degrees, sometimes higher. If you can somehow control the temp for the first 3-4 days, you can then let it rise to whatever to finish out. Within the first few days the flavor profile is mostly finished.

I wouldn't mind keeping the AC on for 3-4 days... it's the 3-4 weeks that I wouldn't do.

Quote:

Originally Posted by gyst (Post 2985697)
Swamp cooler!
Of course, as this has been a bit of a PITA, my next brew is gonna be a Saison. Gonna let the warm temps work for me, not against me.

Thanks, I'll look into it...

Quote:

Originally Posted by Refly (Post 2985714)
another possibility is that some styles do actually like higher temperatures - saisons as an example with the right yeast. It could be something to look into if you feel the need to get batch number 2 under your belt.

...another saison mention -- this is good, I like saisons. Maybe I can brew one of these in July or August.

Thank you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ryandlf (Post 2985698)
After a few more batches you are going to realize that you need some way of controlling your temperature if you really want to make good beer. I use an upright freezer with a temperature controller on it that keeps an ambient temp of 58 (the beer stays right around 64 and goes up to around 70 when fermenting). I bought the freezer off craigslist for $50 and the controller from my LHBS for $60...temperature problems solved and I can fit 4 carboys in there comfortably.

I live in a condo. Space is an issue... I don't want to have to sleep on top of the fridge. ;)

Legin 06-07-2011 03:38 AM

Try this: Use a 6 gallon carboy to ferment the beer. Control the temp of the beer for the first 3-4 days and keep it on the lower end of recommended yeast temp. After that drape a wet towel on it with a fan blowing in it's direction, but don't worry if the temp rises. I've had beer temps reach up to 78 degrees without any discernible off flavors (the rise was after 5 days of active fermentation). The higher temps will just help the beer fully attenuate. Now I haven't exceeded that temp, but the insulated glass carboy will keep the beer's temp from reaching ambient temps. I used this method when I lived on the third floor of an apartment, during one of our 90 degree heat waves. The end result is great beer.

charless 06-07-2011 03:46 AM

Do you have a friend with a basement?

Go Red Sox,
cds

BeerJorge 06-07-2011 04:07 AM

You can also put your fermentor in a container with water and add ice bottles to keep it cool... here's a picture... home brew temperature control


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