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Old 09-07-2011, 08:12 PM   #1
Clanchief
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Default Temperature control

I have a question about temperature control and regulation. I brewed my first batch this weekend (an English Pale Ale) and this is something which concerns me.

First off, I had a hard time getting the wort down to 70 after the boil. I put it in a sink, filled with ice, and ran cold water around it, but it still took me a good 45 minutes to bring it down to temp. I actually went through 44 lbs. of ice in the attempt. I thought about getting or making one of the copper coil wort chillers I have seen, but I'm not sure that with the piping and faucets in my apartment (I live in a 100-year old 4 story building in Chicago) that that would work. Thoughts?

Second, because of the nature of my apartment and Chicago weather, I've found it tough to control the temperature since, and this is something that is an on-going concern for me come fall and winter here. I put my fermentor in a hall closet, where it is nice and dark and usually stays pretty warm. However, this weekend, it went from being a balmy 90+ for highs to hitting lows in the upper 40's and lower 50's. How concerned should I be over the effect of this on my beer? Because I live in a relatively small apartment, it would be really tough for me to keep any sort of fermentation chest such as I have seen described here. Just a space issue.

Thanks.

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Old 09-07-2011, 08:34 PM   #2
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They make sink to hose adapters, you don’t even need to use a garden hose you can attach vinyl tubing between the hose adapter and the chiller.

you will want to maintain optimal fermentation temperature, I have problems keeping it cool, if you are having problems keeping it warm buy a warming belt for you fermentor.

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Old 09-07-2011, 08:34 PM   #3
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I've made two CFC's lately. One with a 20ft stretch of copper / garden hose and one with a 45ft stretch of copper / garden hose. It's not that tough of a project, and both of them worked pretty well. I made the second longer one because the first one wasn't cooling enough.

BUT...I now kinda regret doing that, since I've read the thread on here about using a cooler full of ice water and a $15 submersible fountain pump instead of running not-very-cold tap water through the water part of the CFC.

So make a 20 foot CFC, get a cooler, make some ice blocks with some 1 gallon milk jugs, get a cheap fountain pump, get some extra tubing and cool away without wasting a lot of water.

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Old 09-07-2011, 08:35 PM   #4
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something like this:
http://www.monsterbrew.com/Prod_Brew...vsfhu=35333436

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Old 09-07-2011, 09:15 PM   #5
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Get a 10 gallon beverage cooler, stick your fermenter in it along with a couple gallons of cool water and a capful of bleach. Exchange frozen water bottles (underneath a bucket fermenter) or a portion of the coolant water (around a glass carboy) twice a day to offset the heat released by fermentation. The thermal mass of the water along with the insulation of the cooler will contribute to a nice stable beer temp.

Bonus, you will be halfway to a nice mash/lauter tun -- just add a bulkhead and braid.

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Old 09-08-2011, 01:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the suggestions. I think I might try the fountain pump trick with the batch I'm brewing this weekend.

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Old 09-08-2011, 03:00 PM   #7
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I use a pond pump to power my IC. It's 550 gph. I had to spend a little time at home depot getting the right fittings to convert the 1/2 in out of the pump to the 3/8 in of the IC input. Not a big deal tho.

You'll want to start chilling with just cold tap water. Swap it out frequently so that it stays cold. Once you are about half chilled, toss in ice.

Hope this helps.

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Old 09-08-2011, 03:31 PM   #8
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Cooling wort has proven to be the most difficult aspect of brewing for me. I live in south florida where the water comes out of the tap around 85 degrees. I bought a chill-wizard which almost instantly brings the boiling wort down to about that temp but getting it down the final 15 degrees has proven to be a challenge. 5 gallon buckets don't cool very well in an ice bath. I've tried soaking my outlet hose (to fermenter) in ice water but the hose itself must be too insulated because that didn't work very well. My wife came up with the idea of sanitizing ice paks and dropping them in the wort. But that makes me think the beer may end up with a plastic taste to it. So my question is this: Can I just put my bucket of wort in the fermentation overnight before pitching the yeast? What can happen?

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Old 09-08-2011, 03:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sanibel14 View Post
Cooling wort has proven to be the most difficult aspect of brewing for me. I live in south florida where the water comes out of the tap around 85 degrees. I bought a chill-wizard which almost instantly brings the boiling wort down to about that temp but getting it down the final 15 degrees has proven to be a challenge. 5 gallon buckets don't cool very well in an ice bath. I've tried soaking my outlet hose (to fermenter) in ice water but the hose itself must be too insulated because that didn't work very well. My wife came up with the idea of sanitizing ice paks and dropping them in the wort. But that makes me think the beer may end up with a plastic taste to it. So my question is this: Can I just put my bucket of wort in the fermentation overnight before pitching the yeast? What can happen?
The idea is to get your wort down to pitching temps ASAP, because the longer you wait, the more chance you give wild yeasts or bacteria to take a foothold in your wort before your beer yeast can move in there and dominate the place.

Personally, I don't think I'd worry too much about a plasticky taste. It's probably food grade plastic. There's better ways to cool it down than with sanitized ice packs. But if I had to choose between a sanitized ice pack and letting it sit overnight, I think I'd choose the ice pack.
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Old 09-08-2011, 03:42 PM   #10
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Since this is your first batch, I'm going to assume you do extract brewing. If not, disregard this advise.

When you do extract on a stovetop, you usually have to add 'top-off' water. What I used to do was pre-boil a gallon of water the day before, put it in a sanitized plastic rubbermaid container, and throw it in the freezer. The next day after brewing, I would take my sanitary (you don't want to use plain ice) ice block and dump it in the wort after the boil. You'd be amazed at how much it can help.

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