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Old 10-03-2007, 05:47 PM   #1
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Default Temp control during fermentation

I live in Southern California, and even this time of year the temps in my upstairs condo are around 80F.

I realize that temps in this range can produce some undesired fruity flavors, especially because the fermentor is going to be warmer than the ambient air.
The problem is space. I don't have enough room for a tub to fill with water and ice packs, and I don't have room for a beer fridge. I don't want to leave the AC on all day either, so does anyone have a suggestion on how to get around this problem?

Thanks.

PS: the garage is downstairs and I don't feel like lugging carboys up and down either!

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Old 10-03-2007, 06:11 PM   #2
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Try getting a 70qt Igloo Ice Cube cooler and either using a dremel to cur the lid to fit your carboy or making new lids out of polystyrene board. The cooler footprint is about the same as a 6.5 gallon carboy and a 1L bottle of ice per day should keep your temps down if the ambient air is 80deg.

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Old 10-03-2007, 06:23 PM   #3
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I am still fermenting in a closet in the garage, which, like you, spends a good amount of time in the 80's. During the day, I have been putting a 1 gallon bucket of water that I froze the night before in the closet with the fermenter, then wrapping them both with a sleeping bag. I am not doing real time monitoring or anything, but it seems to be doing the trick. the bucket is always melted at the end of the day, but still cool. Just make sure you take the condensation into consideration.
The other thing to keep in mind is that it takes a long time for 5 gallons of water to change temperature. Your fermentation temperature is really the average temperature over the 24 hours. If your condo gets up to 85 from about 9am to 5 when you come home, then you kick on the AC when you're home, you might be OK if you just insulate the fermenter during the warm hours and let it soak up the cool the rest of the time.
Cheers,
Jeremy

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Old 10-03-2007, 08:52 PM   #4
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Thanks to both of you!

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Old 10-03-2007, 09:03 PM   #5
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On this note-does anyone who's used this method of immersing the fermentor into a keg bucket with frozen water bottles have any idea as to what 'x' amount of ice will yeild in terms of temparature of the fermentor?

I've got a Dubbel up next and it calls for a day at 68 degrees, then down to 60, then up to 68 for the rest of the fermentation. I've heard that wlp500 is pretty sensitive, and I want to get it as close as possible. The ambient temp of the basement now is low-mid 70s.

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Old 10-03-2007, 09:36 PM   #6
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I live in CA, too, and have had to deal with this problem. You can decide if you want to deal with it the way I do.

Wetting a T-Shirt and sticking it over the carboy, then setting a small fan to blow on it can lower the temperature about 15 deg F. The only thing is that you need to re-wet the shirt once in the morning (and once at night if it's not cool enough at night, either).

The evaporation will cool the sucker down.

(The good thing about CA is that the dry air makes evaporation a real good way to go)

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Old 10-03-2007, 10:02 PM   #7
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Cheers to the Spartan!

I had wondered if convective cooling would be enough to bring the temp down enough...it's certainly cheaper then buying another cooler.

Thanks for the idea!

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Old 10-10-2007, 02:48 AM   #8
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keep an eye on ebay.com and craigslist.org for a cheap air conditioner. I just picked one up for a whopping $5. I'm building an insulated lager box, but you could use a big cardboard box. Those can be found in back of any appliance store in town. cut a hole in the side of the box to fit the A/C and adjust till you get the right temp. Total investment: $5 Happy yeast: priceless

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Old 10-10-2007, 03:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Germey
I am not doing real time monitoring or anything, but it seems to be doing the trick.
...
Cheers,
Jeremy
You should spend a few bucks and get temp strips to stick on the side of your fermenters. That way real-time temp monitoring is as simple as looking at the fermenter. Personally I think the ease of monitoring is worth the investment!

ALSO, you don't really need the huge ones brew supply shops sell, a smaller fish tank temp strip will work just fine and probably cost less...
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplecj
You should spend a few bucks and get temp strips to stick on the side of your fermenters. That way real-time temp monitoring is as simple as looking at the fermenter. Personally I think the ease of monitoring is worth the investment!

ALSO, you don't really need the huge ones brew supply shops sell, a smaller fish tank temp strip will work just fine and probably cost less...
Hmm, let me clarify. I've got the strip. but I am gone from about 5am to 6pm. I asked SWMBO to check it every 10 minutes for me...her response would be censored here. I don't think it is getting too cold during the day, and it is not too hot when I get home, but who knows what it is doing during the day.
Cheers,
Jeremy
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