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Old 10-12-2008, 12:24 AM   #1
Tripod
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Default Anyone tried "swamp cooler" method to stabilize temp for first weeks of bottling?

Greetings All and HAPPY WEEKEND!

I almost put this question in the "Beginning Brewers" section since I definitely fit the description. But most of the questions in there are about getting started/sanatation/"did-I-ruin-my-beer?" Since my question is specific to bottling, I thought this would be a better place. OK, enough of that...here's my story.

I am preparing to bottle my first batch on Monday the 13th (woo-hoo!) and I've been doing a lot of studying. In my searching, I have run across a ton of threads referring to "21 days @ 70*F" as a minimum rule-of-thumb for bottling. As we get ready for fall, Georgia can be subject to some pretty wild temperature swings. I used the "swamp cooler" method during fermentation and it worked like a charm so I figured it might work for the bottles too.

I know that the "21 days @ 70*F" is not a hard fast rule any more than the 1-2-3 rule and I also know that the longer they condition in the bottle, the better they'll come out. But it at least makes sense to keep my bottles from suffering drastic changes in temperature during that time. I thought I might cap my bottles and then put them into the same rubbermaid container I used to swamp the fermenter and let them hang out a while.

Have any of you guys used the swamp method to keep a stable temperature after you cap your bottles?

Thanks in advance for any input!

-Tripod


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Old 10-20-2008, 05:42 PM   #2
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I am not familiar with the method (I don't think ?") however I can say this.

Fluctuations in temp are not so drastic for bottle carbing unless we are talking going wicked hot (like 80's, 90's, higher...) and then suddenly 40's etc.

Put them in a closet or somewhere where there are no drafts and they should be stable enough. The only concern is they do not get TOO hot or TOO cold. If they get too hot it can affect the flavor. If they get too cold it will take longer than 2-3 weeks for the yeast to do the work of carbonating. Once they are carbonated keep them cool, not necessarily cold.


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Old 10-25-2008, 12:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zymurgrafi View Post
I am not familiar with the method (I don't think ?") however I can say this.

Fluctuations in temp are not so drastic for bottle carbing unless we are talking going wicked hot (like 80's, 90's, higher...) and then suddenly 40's etc.

Put them in a closet or somewhere where there are no drafts and they should be stable enough. The only concern is they do not get TOO hot or TOO cold. If they get too hot it can affect the flavor. If they get too cold it will take longer than 2-3 weeks for the yeast to do the work of carbonating. Once they are carbonated keep them cool, not necessarily cold.
Thanks for the input, Zymurgrafi.

I don't think there actually is a method. I just thought that if it worked to stabilize temps during fermentation, then it would probably work for bottling too.

Right now, my bottles are in a closet that keeps a fairly stable temp. It stays pretty much between 61*F - 68*F over the course of 24hrs. That doesn't seem to be as drastic of a fluctuation as I initially thought it would be so I am not overly concerned. But I am interested in controlling as many variables as I can.

Any idea how cold is "too cold" for the yeasts to do their thing, or will it be the same as for fermentation since they they are the same yeasts?

-Tripod
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Old 10-25-2008, 01:15 AM   #4
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61-68 is not too cold, but it will take a bit longer. Sorry, this is an ale, yes? Had a few tonight...

At those temps the worst case scenario is it will take another week or so to carb fully. If it is more drastic a fluctuation and it frops lower you may put the yeast to "sleep" and the flocculate to much in the bottle. If after say 3-4 weeks you sample one and find there is hardly any carbonation try swirling the bottles a bit to get the yeast back into suspension and try to find a warmer (but stable and not hot) spot. Then wait a bit more.
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:03 PM   #5
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Cant believe I forgot the details! Yes, this is an ale yeast...specifically US-05.

I'm in no hurry at all so I'm thinking I'll let these sit for several weeks (4-5 maybe) before fully enjoying and sharing them. I did pop one open last night at the 14-day mark just to see how things are progressing. I got the familiar "psssst" sound signaling carbonation and about a 1/4" head. Not bad for 14 days.

I'm betting that I'll get better retention if I give it another 14 days or even longer. So as a rule of thumb, should I stick with the same temperature range as for fermentation...specific to the yeast I'm using?

-Tripod
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Old 10-28-2008, 07:40 PM   #6
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me thinks you are over-thinking it a bit. the way i see it you ferment your beer at a certain temperature specific to the strain of yeast you are using because that is how you get the flavors/characteristics you want from that yeast. some people use the same yeast for a variety of styles just by manipulating the temperature they ferment at to produce different characteristics..like cleaner flavors at lower temps..more ester/fruity flavors at higher temps.

with bottle conditioning all your are trying to do is get CO2 into the beer by providing the yeast a small amount of food in an enclosed container so the CO2 the release will carbonate your beer. i don't think they are able to produce enough "off" compounds with that small amount of simple sugars, as the characteristic of the beer has already been set. if this were NOT true you could manipulate the flavors in your beer at bottling time by changing the bottle conditioning temperatures.

it is good thinking and analyzing every aspect you can about your beer and trying to control the variables..and you could put it to the test if you wanted by having two sets of bottles from the same batch..one controlled/one not. but i doubt you be able to detect any difference at all. your time is better spent controlling the fermentation temperatures as much as possible..that WILL have a huge difference in the way your beer comes out.

oh ya one last thing. the time it spends in the bottles before it's "best" is very subjective. i would recommend trying a bottle or two here and there and you will get to see how the beer changes and YOU can decide when its at it's most drinkable.

good luck and have fun!

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Old 10-28-2008, 09:33 PM   #7
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my closet floor is 68F and on the shelf its 70F. I put the bottles on the shelf to condition.
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Old 10-28-2008, 10:47 PM   #8
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I think you're overly worried about it. temp variation isn't a big deal once bottled.

Temperature EXTREMES are. Don't store your beer in the trunk of the car in mid-July down in Arizona. 130F kills people, pets, and beer. So does sub-freezing temperatures.

70F is a nice, comfy temp for yeast...but if you can keep the bottles 60F to 80F for the first 3 weeks...you'll be fine.
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Old 10-29-2008, 02:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
I think you're overly worried about it. temp variation isn't a big deal once bottled.

Temperature EXTREMES are. Don't store your beer in the trunk of the car in mid-July down in Arizona. 130F kills people, pets, and beer. So does sub-freezing temperatures.

70F is a nice, comfy temp for yeast...but if you can keep the bottles 60F to 80F for the first 3 weeks...you'll be fine.
I'm not really "worried" but more curious. Extremes are the issue I want to avoid. Like in my original post..."it at least makes sense to keep my bottles from suffering drastic changes in temperature during that time."

But I see your point, Malkore. Temperature is not as big of a deal during bottling as it is during fermentation. But still, I know that if they get too cold then the yeasts won't carbonate...so it is important to pay attention just the same, no?

Thanks for the input/advice all!

-Tripod


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