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Old 11-23-2009, 10:53 PM   #1
panzer
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Default Temperature help!!

Hi all!

I'm relatively new to brewing, and I need some advice on my situation...

Here's the scoop: I live in a small apartment that has building-wide hot water heat. The temps in the apartment are generally around 75F, give or take a few degrees. I have little-to-no control over the temperature - the only way I can cool it down is by opening windows.

I also have access to an unheated storage unit in the basement, which is usually around 60F-65F. In the dead of winter it will probably get down closer to 50F-55F. There are no power outlets in the storage unit.

What I want to do is brew ales in the apartment, and lagers in the basement.

My questions:

- Is the apartment too warm for ales?

- Is the basement too warm for lagers?

- Can I perform a rest on the lagers by moving them to the apartment, or will that be too warm?



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Old 11-24-2009, 01:01 AM   #2
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I have a similar problem. I've had no problems doing ales in the winters but some I made over the summer i think weren't that great. I try to mitigate the heat by putting my carboy in a bucket full of cold water / ice. I tried this once for a lager and it was OK if i changed the ice frequently and wrapped it in blankets.

I'm jealous of your basement. That sounds awesome for lagers. I mean if it's a little too cold you just need to leave it longer (as long as it doesn't freeze or kill the yeast).



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Old 11-24-2009, 01:09 AM   #3
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You can brew beers in what you have! Most ale yeasts will work ok between 60 and 65. You won't get a lot of esters so American Pales or IPAs would be good options for the basement for ales. In the colder months a lager might do just fine in the basement. 50-55 is great for lagers.

I like really clean ferments so I'd rather be a little cooler than required rather than a little warmer. For me, 75 is too warm for most of my ales, might be ok if you are going after a really fruity beer. Perhaps some Belgian style beers in the warm apartment.

Can you fit a small fridge in the apartment, or on the balcony? They're pretty easy to temp control and are great as keeping beer cool. ETA: as Messler said, you can use a tub of water and a swamp cooler setup to ferment ales very nicely in the apartment if the basement gets too cold.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for the tips! I just saw the Wyeast belgian ale strains, and there's a few that can handle 80F-90F. I love Belgian ale, so I'm extremely excited to brew a batches of that in my apartment.

I've thought about the ice method, but I'm trying to have my beers brewing with little to no intervention from me. Putting fresh ice every day on my fermenters for several weeks is way more work than I want to be doing.

I don't have the space for another fridge, but I could possible rig up a water-cooling system using a small pump and some hosing. Again, this is more work than I would ideally be doing for each batch... I think I will try to stick with beers that like the temperatures I have available.

I've got an ale in my apartment right now. Should I move it down to the basement? I was afraid it was too cold in the basement at 60F-65F.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:33 AM   #5
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if you need to get below 40 use a closet and a container to put your fermenter in throw a few frozen bottles in the winter and it will drop the temp. after about a week the 75 degrees will not effect the beer as much.

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:40 AM   #6
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You say 60-65 is too low???

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Old 11-24-2009, 01:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panzer View Post
I've got an ale in my apartment right now. Should I move it down to the basement? I was afraid it was too cold in the basement at 60F-65F.
I can't really say that I have a lot of experience but Jamil Z. (a great brewer and resource) has said that letting the temperature drop during fermentation is not so good. It slows down the yeast's metabolism and leaves more partially metabolized sugars in forms such as diacetyl. I'd let it go until it finishes off. (3 days of unchanged gravity) then wait another 3 days or so and then rack into a new bucket or carboy and off of the dead yeast. Put that bucket/carboy down in the basement and let it clarify for a little while. If you can get it down to around 35 or so for a day or 2 before bottling all the better.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:15 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panzer View Post
Thanks for the tips! I just saw the Wyeast belgian ale strains, and there's a few that can handle 80F-90F. I love Belgian ale, so I'm extremely excited to brew a batches of that in my apartment.
Should also add that the beer will often keep 5 or sometimes (in an aggressive fermentation) 10 degrees warmer than ambient. If you want to be a little more pro-active in your management you can move the fermentation container close to a heater vent after the first couple days. Be careful, I've never brewed Belgian styles but I hear they can have very aggressive fermentations and a blow off is recommended.
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Old 11-24-2009, 02:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantodd View Post
You can brew beers in what you have! Most ale yeasts will work ok between 60 and 65. You won't get a lot of esters so American Pales or IPAs would be good options for the basement for ales. In the colder months a lager might do just fine in the basement. 50-55 is great for lagers.

I like really clean ferments so I'd rather be a little cooler than required rather than a little warmer. For me, 75 is too warm for most of my ales, might be ok if you are going after a really fruity beer. Perhaps some Belgian style beers in the warm apartment.

Can you fit a small fridge in the apartment, or on the balcony? They're pretty easy to temp control and are great as keeping beer cool. ETA: as Messler said, you can use a tub of water and a swamp cooler setup to ferment ales very nicely in the apartment if the basement gets too cold.
This post reflects pretty much everything I was thinking.

After brewing at the high end of acceptable yeast temps for a while, I got a fridge, started controlling my temps and wish I had been from the very start.

It's a small investment for a huge difference in the end product.


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