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Old 01-23-2013, 09:40 PM   #1
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Default Fermenation Tips for TX Newbie

I've read and seen a lot of different fermenting areas and I know how important temperature is, but I struggle because I live in Texas where it's a challenge to keep my home in the 60s most of the year. It's January and we've got 70 degree temps.

So, what are some things I can do to create a suitable fermenting area?

Any suggestions or links to other threads that have already discussed this are appreciated.

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Old 01-23-2013, 09:42 PM   #2
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Search swamp cooler. Best $8 you can spend. Of course you can go wild from there with thermostat-controlled chest freezers if you want, but a swamp cooler is the most economical first step.

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Old 01-25-2013, 04:15 AM   #3
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If you have the space I say get a fridge or freezer off craigslist or somewhere. It will come in handy when you decide to move on to kegging and lagering beer. I do not have the space at the moment but lucky me my wife is breast feeding and needs a place to keep all the milk. I told her a side by side fridge would be a great win/win. She can have the freezer and I get the fridge, WIN/WIN!!! Now that I have permission we just need the space and to find one.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:59 PM   #4
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You don't need to keep the house 60 degrees, you only need to keep the fermenting beer cool and that only for the first few days until the ferment slows. A tub of cool water works as does a refrigerator with a controller. Put your fermenter in a tub of cool water and keep the water cool with ice packs and you are good as anybody. Use a thermometer stuck to the fermenter to monitor the temperature so you know when to add ice. Try to keep the fermenting beer between 60 and 65 degrees until you don't see signs of fermentation, then you can let it warm to the low 70's for the next 2 to 3 weeks and it will be ready to bottle.
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Old 01-25-2013, 02:08 PM   #5
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I live in San Antonio and know exactly what you mean. I struggled for a long time but with the last four batches I found something that works great and is KISS simple. I use a large tub purchased from Wallyworld that is waterproof. I place it in my fermentation chamber/walk-in closet. Put my carboy in there and then put in water about 2/3 of the way up the carboy. I can fit two carboys in mine. This alone only lowers the temp about 2 degrees below ambient so I freeze milk jugs and blue ice packs. I have a pair of each and every twelve hours I'll rotate in freshly frozen ones. I have been able to keep my fermentation down to the low 60's easily when the house was in the low 70's. Gordon Strong says that he uses the same method, in his book Brewing Better Beer.

With my setup I can fit two carboys and float two frozen milk jugs between them. Depending on how much temperature drop I need, I'll use two milk jugs, one milk jug and an ice pack, one milk jug, two ice packs, or a single ice pack--depending upon ambient and upon my target temperature.

"So you say you just brewed your first batch of beer. Welcome to the obsession." --me, to every first time brewer I ever meet.
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