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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Where to ferment?
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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Default Where to ferment?

I'm getting all of the pieces in place to begin my first homebrewing adventure. My only problem is where I'm going to ferment.

We keep our house at around 62-63 degrees in the Winter. I planned on using my basement as my primary place to ferment. From October through April it runs anywhere from 50-60 degrees. The rest of the year it is 60-70 degrees on average.

So this begs the question, should I only do lagers in the cold months, and do ales in the warmer months? I really don't have any other place to ferment.

Also, is it possible to do lagers without racking to a secondary?

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:09 PM   #2
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I make brews that have longer fermentation times in my parent's basement because it's colder than my apartment and I can choose wherein the yeast temperature range I want it to be. The storage room in their basement is 50*F and I use a bucket full of water to immerse most of the carboy with a submersible fish tank heat to keep the water at my preferred temperature.

Right now I have a hard apple cider fermenting at 67*F to avoid some of the undesirable esters I might find if I were to ferment it at 72-72*F.

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:19 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by SeamusMac View Post
I use a bucket full of water to immerse most of the carboy with a submersible fish tank heat to keep the water at my preferred temperature.
Wow! That's a great idea. Any idea of how efficient the aquarium heaters are if they are sitting in a 50-degree basement? I'd hate to think I would be burning out a heater with every batch. Also do you know the brand/size of the heater you are using?

Also is there any chance of the water-bath leeching anything through a plastic bucket fermentor into your beer?
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:20 PM   #4
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Your winter temps sound a little too high for lagers and a little low for ales,

+ on the water jacket with fish tank heater

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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There are some ale strains that work in the mid fifties and up fairly well. I know I have two batches fermenting with Nottingham yeast right now in my attic stairwell and it stays at 55-60 pretty consistently. What I would suggest is keeping them near a heat source to keep them a little warmer if it gets really cold in the house. Next to the fridge or freezer is a good spot, along with near the furnace.

There are also brewers belts you can buy that wrap around the fermenting bucket to keep it a tad warmer. Some people have used fish tank thermometers and a water bath to keep the fermenters warm too.


Holy crap you guys are fast!

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:29 PM   #6
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Your basement might just be perfect...perhaps near the furnace or wter heater will put you close to 60. US05 or nottingham will give you a nice clean ferment at high fifties to low sixties.

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Old 03-04-2009, 01:40 PM   #7
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Your basement might just be perfect...perhaps near the furnace or wter heater will put you close to 60. US05 or nottingham will give you a nice clean ferment at high fifties to low sixties.
That's the one place I didn't check the temps. Today at lunch I'll put my indoor thermometer in the space between the furnace/boiler & the water heater and see what it says.

Where there's a will (to brew) there is a way, so I will make this work.
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:45 PM   #8
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I have a similar situation to OP: 50 - 60 in the basement, desired ferment 66 -70.
I'm currently using a 100 watt aquarium heater in a picnic tub.
It's better than nothing, but there are some issues.
1. I should get an ice cube type cooler to reduce the heat loss.
2. The temp in the picnic tub is 10F different from top to bottom, so I should add a stirrer or pump.

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Old 03-04-2009, 02:50 PM   #9
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Actually, I'd do the initial fermenting at around 60-62 because the yeast will cause some heat on their own. When it starts to slow down after a couple of days, you can move it a bit warmer to finish.

I've also wanted to do that cooler and aquarium heater thing. Sounds decent. You can also buy a brewers belt that wraps around the fermenter and heats it up. I think they sell for around $20 or so.

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Old 03-04-2009, 02:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weezknight View Post
Wow! That's a great idea. Any idea of how efficient the aquarium heaters are if they are sitting in a 50-degree basement? I'd hate to think I would be burning out a heater with every batch. Also do you know the brand/size of the heater you are using?

Also is there any chance of the water-bath leeching anything through a plastic bucket fermentor into your beer?
I bought the biggest aquarium heater they had at the pet store, I'm only at my parent's place on the weekends so I'll check the brand/wattage when I'm there this weekend. It has a sucker so I stuck it to the bottom of the bucket in an effort to create some natural circulation and keep the top-bottom temperatures reasonably close. The temperature is perfect at the surface and still well within the temperature range of the yeast so the water at the bottom of the bucket.
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