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Old 04-25-2010, 03:59 AM   #1
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Default Fermenting during the warmer months

Hi all:

During the summer, my basement temperature is in the mid-to-high 70s. Unfortunately, I cannot make special arrangements to cool the fermentor so I have to deal with what I have.

What ales ferment well in the aforementioned temperatures?

I ran a search, but the only answer I found was a vague one recommending Belgian ales. I like Belgian-style Witbiers, but I don't believe they are fermented that high.


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Old 04-25-2010, 04:08 AM   #2
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I have the same problem. The only solution I've found is Saisons They ferment best at much higher temps than your standard Ale. The problem is that they usually take 6 months to reach their most delicious.

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Old 04-25-2010, 04:16 AM   #3
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I'm also in the South, but do not like Belgian style ales. I like my American and British (and occasional German) style ales instead! I say ambient temperatures of 75+ are bad for most ales. Are you sure you can't create an ice bath for your basement? All it requires is a $4 rubbermaid bin that you place the fermenter in, with water surrounding everything. You then also rotate putting frozen water bottles in the water.
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Old 04-25-2010, 05:39 AM   #4
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+1 to the ice bath. Use at least as much water as the fermenter volume to help moderate temp changes.

Another inexpensive idea is to make a "root cellar". Most locations in north america have a ground temperature around 55F. Create an area that is thermally isolated from the rest of the basement, and it should be cooler than the much warmer air temp. All you need is some 2x4s and some insulation.

Then there is the Son of Fermentation Chiller -

You can also find fridges for cheap on craigslist. My 30+ yo old fridge keeps lagers right at 50F on the warmest setting.
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Old 04-25-2010, 07:18 AM   #5
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Put your fermentor in a water bath then take an old t-shirt, wet it and fit it over the vessel. The bottom of the shirt should rest in the water bath and the airlock should stick out the top. As the moisture in the shirt evaporates, it'll carry heat from the carboy away from it, thus, cooling it. A couple times a day, you'll have to re-wet the shirt but that just takes a couple seconds to do. You should, of course, also place your fermentor in the coolest place you can and away from sunlight and air conditioning vents.
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Old 04-25-2010, 08:03 AM   #6
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+2 ice bath or t-shirt method. I live in Southern California and fermented an Oktoberfest ale at 60 during August with an old cooler and frozen water bottles changing them every 12 hours or so. Don't have basements in CA really so its a great alternative for me. Also Saisons are great for summer brews, IMO. Brew it in the early summer at room temp and you have a great brew for those warm weekends later.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:01 PM   #7
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Don't be tempted to do what a lot of us have done - ignore everyone's advice about controlling fermentation temps, ferment something at those temps, and then end up with 5 gallons of some of the worst beer you've ever tasted. Does it sound like I'm speaking from experience?

My first summer brews were what convinced me to buy a temp control system.
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Old 04-25-2010, 09:10 PM   #8
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Here's my solution:

It's a cooler, and I took off the lid (so I can still use it as a wheeled cooler by popping the lid back on) and made a new lid out of a sheet of foam insulation. I add some water, up to about 2/3 way up the carboy, and add a frozen water bottle or two every couple of days. I float a floating thermometer in the water bath to monitor the temperature and it stays in the low- mid 60s (or wherever I want, just by the number of frozen bottles I exchange) all summer.

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