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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Apartment ferm temps
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Old 09-21-2013, 08:34 AM   #1
primalyeti
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Default Apartment ferm temps

Hello everyone

So I moved to a new place at the beginning of september and I'm finally ready to brew my first batch in the new place. I placed a couple of glasses around the house in acceptable fermentation spots (where I can let the carboys sit and do their thing) and the lower temp I managed to get was 70-71 in the sump pump closet.

I know thats still within acceptable ferm temps for most yeasts (65-72), but I was wondering if anyone has any ideas how I can cool off the room, so it can sit at around 67-68. It might not be an issue when I hit the winter months, but we're not quite there yet.

Cheers!


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Old 09-21-2013, 08:59 AM   #2
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Swamp cooler. If you dont know what that is just do a search on here or google. Basically the carboy sits in cooled water and keeps the temp down. If I really wanna do a lager before winter is here I will use White Labs San Fran Lager yeast. Needs cooler temp but not as cold as lagering temps, it works great for me.


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Old 09-21-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
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70/71 ambient is likely too warm. Fermentation is exothermic and your beer will get several degrees warmer than that during the active stages of fermentation. It depends on what yeast you're using, but for almost all, you'll end up at least a few degrees too warm I would think.

A lot of people here either use a swamp cooler or a simple water bath. Swamp coolers rely on evaporation to keep temps down (and from the reading I've done, they can work extremely well). As for a water bath, that's what I use. Input my carboy in a big bucket with some cold water (with a small amount of Star San in it, others use bleach, to Prevent nasties in the water), and switch out frozen water bottles to keep the temp low. Since your room is at about 70, you'd be able to stop switching out the ice once active fermentation is done, so it'd only be for 3-5 days.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:25 PM   #4
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Thank you KepowOb for making the distinction between ‘swamp cooler’ and ‘simple water bath’. To most people on the forum a ‘swamp cooler’ is anything using a water tub.

A small caution, swamp coolers need low humidity to work. I tried this in an upstairs Dallas apartment, relentlessly spraying the t-shirt with a fan on it and it stayed room temperature.

Thinking back on it, I guess room temperature is a plus. Without the fan it would have been warmer. Also the tub will help average the day/night temperatures.
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynne-R View Post
Thank you KepowOb for making the distinction between ‘swamp cooler’ and ‘simple water bath’. To most people on the forum a ‘swamp cooler’ is anything using a water tub.

A small caution, swamp coolers need low humidity to work. I tried this in an upstairs Dallas apartment, relentlessly spraying the t-shirt with a fan on it and it stayed room temperature.

Thinking back on it, I guess room temperature is a plus. Without the fan it would have been warmer. Also the tub will help average the day/night temperatures.
Not really. A Rubbermaid tote filled with water and ice works great
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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I live in a 3rd floor apt. in VA, so the Summers (or even the Fall months), my coldest room moves between 70 and 75 degrees. My swamp cooler is a 20 gallon trash can that I can keep between 68-70 degrees. I ferment everything at this temperature. It DOES mean that there are certain yeasts/styles that I can't use/brew, but that's something to look forward to down the road
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Old 09-21-2013, 01:57 PM   #7
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I'm in Houston on a top floor apartment. This summer my choices were dump a couple hundred dollars into the electric bill to keep it in standard ale range or brew batches dominated by yeast flavors. My A/C was set to 75-80 and I made some pretty awesome Saisons, a dubbel, and started some sours that are tasting great.

If you want to brew really high gravity stuff or something with no yeast character you definitely need those lower temps, but there are other options.
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Old 09-21-2013, 02:58 PM   #8
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Check out Cool Brewing bags. I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment building with ambient temps around 75-80 in the summer. My beer stays between 60-65 just by swapping a frozen 2l bottle every 12+hrs.

I used to use a swamp cooler but I hated having a huge container of still water in my closet. The swamp cooler also required attention every 6-8hrs.
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Old 09-21-2013, 03:09 PM   #9
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To me swamp cooler and water bath are the same thing. The only difference is what you need to do to maintain temperature. I like to ferment in the low to mid sixties for most ales. A t-shirt and fan will not cool enough so I need to use ice bottles. If you cannot do mechanical cooling, a swamp cooler/waterbath is the way to go. For space considerations the Cool Brewing bags look interesting. I used the swamp cooler until I made my fermentation chamber, minifridge, plywood, 2x4's and foam insulation.
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Old 09-21-2013, 06:42 PM   #10
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Wow you guys are awesome, I posted before going to bed and waking up to all these answers is fantastic, thanks!

I think I'm going to give the water bath thing a try this weekend, just see how it goes. I want to keep researching this DIY swamp cooler a little more and then possibly build one. Figure if I freeze a 1L bottle of water and replace it every 12 hours it should be good to lower the temp a bit? I guess since ferm is exothermic I should aim to have the water in the low 60's.

I think this helps explain why I've had a few bad batches over the summer, I guess I thought my last place was cooler than it actually was!


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