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Old 12-10-2011, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default Brewer moving to Phoenix, AZ

I am a brewer in the Boston area and just found out that my work is relocating me to the valley of the hot sun.. I am going to miss my perfect fermentation temperature basement.

Those of you that brew in the desert could you please share your fermentation setup and experiences? I need to figure out what is required for proper temperature control for year around brewing.

Thanks!


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Old 12-10-2011, 09:53 PM   #2
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Ouch, that will be a shock to the body - but easier to take than us sun blessed people moving to the land of ice & snow.

Not quite as hot here on the coast as in Phoenix so I would guess my Igloo cooler full of water wouldn't be as effective (it's not always effective here). I'd say start looking at getting a real fermentation chamber with temperature control, that's the best (though not cheapest) way to go.

Be aware that our water temps are a lot warmer here too. Wert chillers alone don't get the wert cool enough to pitch. I have been using a fountain pump in a bucket of ice water to get the last 20 or so out of my wert.


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Old 12-10-2011, 10:09 PM   #3
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Out in my brew shed my water tubs are keeping good lager fermenting temps right now. That works late November to early March. I get a short time in the spring and fall for ales out there. In the summer all my fermentations are done in my refrigerators.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:20 PM   #4
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Same here, fountain pump with ice to wort chiller is the best way 90% of the year. Winter isnt bad but not as cold as Boston.

Im lucky because my place doesn't get hit with sun all day so it stays pretty cool. I used to ferment in my office it would stay about 70. July & August are the worst though...especially if you don't run the AC all day ( who can Afford that)

I have a fermentation fridge now so the summers are brewable

Get a fridge, chest freezer and you'll be ok. You can brew outside 9 out of the 12 months.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:43 AM   #5
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I use a fermentation fridge as well. A tub of water with a wet tshirt draped over the fermentor and a fan blowing on it works ok in a pinch. Also do not use the water here. Use RO. I learned that the hard way when I first moved out here. What part of the valley are they putting you in?
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Old 12-11-2011, 01:01 AM   #6
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Welcome!

There are a few issues to address when brewing out here.

A. Fermentation as you mentioned. Get a dorm fridge, full size fridge, or a freezer from craigslist. I bought a dorm fridge for $25 on craigslist. Perfectly fits a fermenting bucket. I built a temp controller for $35, but you can adjust the thermostat on the fridge to go warmer.

B. The water out here is awful. Use RO water, and add back the minerals you need. I've been through the trials and tribulations of that, so shoot me a PM if you need details.

C. Wort Chilling. The ground water in the winter is like 75*, and in the summer it's like 95*. So chilling your wort is a pain. I use the ground water to drop my wort as low as I can(usually 100), then I circulate ice water through my chiller.


Now the important info: Drop by Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe. Excellent beers, excellent food, it's right near ASU campus in Tempe. The Sunday brunch is my favorite, but there's never a bad time to go to Four Peaks.
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Old 12-11-2011, 04:13 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone, great advice here that is definitely going to be a change from what I am used to doing.

I will most likely be settling on the east side around Chandler/Gilbert/Tempe area. Stopped by the LHBS in Tempe and it seems there is a lively community here.

Will check out the brew house next time I am in town.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:33 PM   #8
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Four Peaks is Awesome!

Papago Brewing is great (ton of beers on tap, bottle beers you can buy too)

HomeBrew Connection is a great local place to get supplies.

Sleepy Dog Brewery and SanTan Brewing are good as well.

TopsLiquor is a good place to get some craft beer too. Build your own 6-pack etc.

Good luck. Enjoy Arizona!
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:43 PM   #9
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I'm in the Gilbert/Mesa area and the LHBS I go to is Brew Your Own Brew right down the road from me. The gilbert shop is their newer location, their first location is in Tuscon. I highly recommend them.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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I lived in North Phoenix and in Tempe off of Baseline for several years before moving to South Florida last year and have a feeling you will enjoy it in AZ. It is hot as hell in the summer and your electric bill is gonna be horrible but there's alot to do there,especially if you end up in tempe,Chandler by ASU. With the highway system though it's easy to get around even if your not right in that area,i hung out in Tempe all the time when i lived in PHX and it was a easy ride back and forth.


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