Basement Temp Doable?

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Dog House Brew

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I'm brewing a 12.5 gallon Brown ale batch next weekend. My basement is staying between about 58 over night to 62 during the day. I don't have a ferment fridge yet and wondered what you keep the ferment fridge temp at? I know I will get some temp rise during active ferment, but do you think my tmeps will be ok? Using Wyeast london ESB yeast.
 

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what gila said is great advice, but my basement gets down to 59 or 60 and up to 62 and i love fermenting in my basement during the fall and winter. i set up a heater on a thermostat in my little basement bathroom if i want to get things a little warmer. but for ambient fermentation my temps reach about 65 with the warming from fermentation and they turn out great.
 

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I ferment in my basement as well and have always had great results. The temp usually stays around 55-65 F. In the summer I make a lot of belgium ales. However, want to start lagering all year around so I'm in the process of looking for a chest freezer on cl.
 
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I'm also ready for a ferment fridge. What temp does everyone set their ferment fridg/freezer when fermenting ales? 60ish?
 
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After researching on the Wyeast site I'm going to use Denny's Fav 50 for my Brown. It has temp ranges 60 to 70. Having a lower range should help w/o a fridge. Guess the next project will be a heater box if I can't get the fridge.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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I'm also ready for a ferment fridge. What temp does everyone set their ferment fridg/freezer when fermenting ales? 60ish?
Depends heavily on what I am after in the finished product. If I want to drive esters/phenols, I shoot for the higher end of the yeast tolerance and pitch low.

If I want to suppress esters/phenols, I pitch heavy and ferment cooler.

This is the joy of having a conditioned fermentation space. CONTROL.

I use a thermowell to assure that my controller is responding to the temp fluctuations of the beer in production rather than have it guess at the ambient air.
 

kanzimonson

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Wyeast 1968 is my house yeast and I wouldn't recommend fermenting so low. Not that it won't work, but you'll definitely want to raise the temp as fermentation slows. That yeast will drop to the bottom so quick and it's easy to be left with an under-attenuated beer.

You could maybe rig up some way to heat it towards the end of fermentation... or just bring it upstairs?
 

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You'd probably brew several batches and place them in different corners of your basement, to find out which produces the best beer. ;)
 
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Dog House Brew

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Wyeast 1968 is my house yeast and I wouldn't recommend fermenting so low. Not that it won't work, but you'll definitely want to raise the temp as fermentation slows. That yeast will drop to the bottom so quick and it's easy to be left with an under-attenuated beer.

You could maybe rig up some way to heat it towards the end of fermentation... or just bring it upstairs?
I just ordered a couple temp controlers and thermowells, and will make a way to heat it up. The gadjets grow like grimlins in water. :) That's the deal, you need to have the constant control as ferment activity changes.
 

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Assuming the temp swing is 50/50 (with the average temp being 60), I think you'd be fine with a yeast that has a min temp of 60 (like Denny's or 1056). The thermal mass of the larger (12.5g) batch should be enough to keep it from hitting the nighttime lows while the temp rise from active fermentation should likely get it above 63deg.

If I were you, I'd pitch warm (78deg) and I'd wrap some insulation around the fermenter to hold in the heat.
 

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You could also put the fermentor in a tub of water to increase the thermal mass. I would then use an aquarium heater with a built-in thermostat to keep the temperature up. It works great for me!!
 
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You could also put the fermentor in a tub of water to increase the thermal mass. I would then use an aquarium heater with a built-in thermostat to keep the temperature up. It works great for me!!
Very Intarestink. I've ordered temp controlers, but this could be a short term fix until I find a freezer. Running out of time getting the new build finished and ready to go. Will have to look at aqua heaters.
 
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You could also put the fermentor in a tub of water to increase the thermal mass. I would then use an aquarium heater with a built-in thermostat to keep the temperature up. It works great for me!!
What size aquarium heater do you use? I saw they are from 50w to 300w. I guess you count the gallons fermenting as well as water being heated when choosing size?
 

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I wouldn't get anything less than a 100W. I just got one off of ebay for 10 dollars and it works great so far. I got 5.5 gal. of Belgian Strong Golden Ale up to 82 degrees with ambient temps in the low 60's. It works for me since I don't really have to worry about cooling down my fermentation temps very often. If I do I just throw in some frozen water bottles
 

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The problem with fish tank heaters is that when they break, they stick on and overheat the water. The last two fish tanks I had, the heaters broke and cooked the fish in 100 degree water.

I use a seedling heat mat, they are about 20 bucks (new) and use only 25 watts. On average, it raises the temp of the fermenter from ~60 to 68 or so.

 

jfowler1

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The problem with fish tank heaters is that when they break, they stick on and overheat the water. The last two fish tanks I had, the heaters broke and cooked the fish in 100 degree water.

I use a seedling heat mat, they are about 20 bucks (new) and use only 25 watts. On average, it raises the temp of the fermenter from ~60 to 68 or so.

I completely agree with the heat wrap approach. I use the slightly more expensive fermwrap with a johnson controller set for heating. When I had a basement (60F), and I fermented without a heater, the beer would start fine, but often got too cold when fermentation slowed for the yeast to finish and clean things up. I now keep the carboy in a dorm fridge, and as fermentation slows, I start to ramp up the temperature. Say, pitch at 63, ferment at 68 until FG, and after the 6th day or so, crank to 71 for a d-rest.

Without a way to heat, you are obviously at the mercy of the ambient temp.

Good luck,
Joe
 
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I should have my temp control today. I think I will do the fish tank heater for this batch, until I get my heater box built, or find a the right freezer on craigs list. I have some plate heaters I save off a job years ago that would work well. Thanks for all the info. You get some great feed back here.
 

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