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Old Yesterday, 12:37 PM   #1
Superstorm
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Default Swamp cooler and temperature control

Hey everyone, I was planning on brewing in the next couple days and I'm still trying to figure out how I'm gonna keep my wort cool in this hot summer weather. Where I live, it gets pretty hot and stays in the 80's and 90's every day during summer and then gets cooler in the evenings and nights. I usually ferment in a closet and I've been monitoring the temperature in there. The temperature is about 82-83 degrees in the closet throughout the day and my wort needs to be kept at 62 degrees. I was thinking of making a swamp cooler with some cold water and some frozen water bottles or the wet towel method, but there's no outlets nearby so I can't plug fans in. Someone on another thread that I was reading said that you can use an aquarium heater in your water bath to keep it at your desired temperature. Has anyone else used one for this and been successful? Are there any other things I should know to make sure that my wort stays at 62 degrees?


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Old Yesterday, 12:48 PM   #2
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Aquarium heater would WARM the water. You could run an extension cord to the area where the closet is and use that to provide power for the fan.

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Old Yesterday, 12:53 PM   #3
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Yea, an aquarium heater will not help you. Place the vessel in a large tub, fill with cold water and add frozen water bottles to bring the temp down. You will most likely have to swap the bottles twice per day to maintain your desired temp.

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Old Yesterday, 01:41 PM   #4
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I started using a swamp cooler with my last batch and didn't use a fan at all. I simply filled the tub with water and switched out frozen water bottles as necessary. I usually ended up with two or three bottles in there at a time, which seemed to work very well. The water in the tub stayed around 63 degrees most of the time, and the makeshift temperature probe I had taped the bucket usually read 66-69 degrees. I mostly went by the reading on the probe and constantly tried to keep it lower. However, when I pulled out a sample to test the gravity, the temperature of was almost always 2-3 degrees cooler than what the probe was reading. It's not as good as a refrigerator, but it did the job for me.

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Old Yesterday, 09:24 PM   #5
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I had to keep several 2 liter and 1 liter water bottles to keep mine in the mid 60's in a room that was kept 74-5*. And it takes at least 24 hrs for a big bottle to completely freeze. It took up half of a large freezer.

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Old Yesterday, 09:48 PM   #6
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I had a similar problem. I bought a large cooler big enough to hold my fermenter with the lid closed. kept frozen water bottles in it. No water, no fans, more even temps. Works like a charm

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Old Yesterday, 10:38 PM   #7
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This is what I do: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/diy-fermentation-chiller-using-my-mash-tun-wort-chiller-438154/

Keeps temperature far more accurately than randomly adding and removing frozen water bottles to the swamp cooler, and if you have most of the stuff already, its really quite inexpensive.

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Old Today, 09:26 AM   #8
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Thanks guys This has all been really helpful! But should I use cold water that has been in the fridge or room temperature/sink water for the bath? And is it going to be really hard to control the temperature in a room that doesn't drop below 80?


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Old Today, 12:21 PM   #9
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It ought to be colder water, but it needs to be kept colder. You cannot just allow it to eventually warm up to room temp.

In this situation you're likely to be better off doing as tooldude did as just ice bottles in water at 80* will melt them more quickly than mid 70's, and I had to change my bottles 2-3 times a day.

If maintaining a temp like this is too difficult you'll either need to brew with Belgian yeasts (or any others) that do well at a higher temp or invest in a fermentation chamber.

Skitter has built a nice small fermentation chamber sized for 2 Mr Beer fermentors that uses a temp controller, a fan, and ice bottles, and it works quite well for him. It doesn't appear much larger than an end table.

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...tasting a beer at 1 week, and again at 2....that to me just means there 2 less beers that are actually tasting good and are ready at the end.
"Anyway on the wall was this sign. People who drink light beer don't really like beer. They just like to piss a lot."

"Were I to leave where else would I go? Your words of life and of truth You hold." - Third Day
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