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Old 06-08-2010, 04:53 AM   #1
wulfsburg
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Jan 2010
Phoenix
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I have some more questions. After reading more and more about the brewing process in this forum, I need public opinion.
I live in Arizona, and it requires a lot of attention to keep my beer at the right temperature in the summer. I do the tote, with a towel, and a fan, and ice packs/frozen water bottles. My first 3 previous batches turned out pretty good, and all of them fermented about 72-74 degrees, and all of them sat for only 7-9 days. I have been really good about being patient with letting them age in the bottle, and now I am completely out of beer. I just bottled my 4th batch of peach cream ale. 7 days primary, 8 days secondary on peach puree and then bottled.
A lot of people say 3 weeks primary or combo of primary and secondary (in the total of 3 weeks minimum).
My home can get up to 85 during the day and with a towel/tote/water/fan combo it averages about 70 degrees. It is just a pain in the butt to keep attentive to it for 3 weeks. 2 weeks was bad enough. The towel starts to smell all mildew-ey and it starts to stink up the spare room a little bit. I know it is important to keep the beer cooler during the more rigorous fermentation process in the beginning, but if I slack a little bit after it has been over a week, is this a HUGE deal? After tasting it before bottling, it tastes like it is going to be GREAT. I want to up my beer reserve and get another 45 or so in my closet so I can drink em in a couple months... and it is really warming up and the ac is finally on in the house mainting 85 when we arent home (during the warmest parts of the day)
Also, I obviously just bottle and stick em in the closet. If the closet gets up to 85 degrees or so, is this a problem for conditioning after they are bottled? Is it going to hurt the final product of the beer?
The 3rd batch I did, I was not too concerned about the temperature (as it was a cool spring) and it had a slight off flavor and was my worst beer I brewed. It could also have to do with the fact I added a pound of honey to the beer to boost the alcohol content. I still ended up drinking all 45 of them though!! :-D

Soooo, experts and noobies alike... Do you ferment for longer than 9 days ? Have you noticed a signifigant difference in taste if you do?
Why does Charlie P's book only say 7-9 days? This last batch I did was the first time I ever did secondary and I secondaried in a pail. (Even though I have a carboy I have never used)

Reason: forgot something

 
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:05 AM   #2
joelmole
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Sep 2009
Houston, TX
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I'm only on my first batch, and haven't even tasted it yet, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I'm doing a water bath for fermentation temperature control too, but I haven't had much of an issue keeping temperature cool and under control. Where I differ from your method is in a few areas:

1) I use an Igloo Ice Cube cooler as the fermentation tub. You want the 60qt (90 can) model, which comes with wheels or without.

2) I don't use evaporation cooling at all. I fold 3 or 4 towels in half longways, and lay them across the top of the cooler in such a way that only the neck of the carboy and blowoff tube are protruding. This, along with the cooler, acts to maintain lower water temperatures much better than a plastic tub would. There's another homebrewer here who bought a sheet of rigid foam insulation from a hardware store and cut it to fit the top of the Igloo cooler, and cut a hole in the middle for the carboy neck. This would work great too.

3) I also use ice packs, but this is my only method of lowering temperatures. I'm fermenting in the low 60s, typically around 63-64. I haven't had a problem keeping it at this temperature. During active fermentation I had a short spell where I used 2 ice packs at a time, but typically I only need one ice pack and exchange it every 6-8 hours. The ice packs I use are 16oz.

4) I add a small amount bleach to the ice bath water. I haven't had any signs of mildew yet, and I certainly wouldn't want mildew building near my fermenter. A couple of my towels did kinda fall into the water a bit at one point so I removed them and re-washed them.

Ambient temperature in my place is around 78 degrees. I do think this method would become a bit of a burden over the long run, so I will eventually migrate to a fermentation fridge. Here are a couple of pictures:





This is the thread for my first homebrew batch.


 
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:20 AM   #3
wulfsburg
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Jan 2010
Phoenix
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Nice. I just dont have the money for a new cooler... let alone the room to store it. But this is a great idea. At times I have ended up turning the fan off because it seems to dry the towel too fast.

Thanks for the help, that setup looks pretty solid.

 
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:25 AM   #4
joelmole
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Sep 2009
Houston, TX
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I found the cooler for $25 (the wheeled version) at Academy, a sporting goods store. Most places I've seen it for $35. I've convinced the wife that we'll use it as a regular cooler too (she likes the ice cube much better than our current cooler, easier to roll around), but I kinda wonder how often it will not have a carboy inside it.

 
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Old 06-08-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
rhoadsrage
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Mar 2010
Chicago
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I let the hydrometer decide when the primary is done fermenting. If you use a yeast start it may only be 5 days of fermenting. With session beers there can be a quick turn around from brewpot to bottle. Just make sure you give it a few days to have all the yeast settle out (and clean things up a bit) but you can speed that up with Irish moss.

 
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