Controlling Fermentation During the summer

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kmoore42

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Hi all!

I'm fairly new to the brewing game. I was wondering what people do during the the warmer months to keep their fermentation temperature under control.

I've read up on possibly buying a second refrigerator from sites like craigslist and ebay but I really don't have the space for another fridge, and the prices I've seen don't seem that cheap.

I've never manipulated a thermostat, is that easy as I've heard?

If you use something different please let me know. I'm open to suggests right now. I'm trying to protect my beer from failure.

I want to thank anyone who replies in advance.

Thank you.
 

mojotele

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Well, it can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. The simpler it is the less money it costs but the more work is required on your part. The complex solutions cost more but require less work from you.

I use a chest freezer I got from Lowes. You can find similar chest freezers for less money on Craigslist sometimes. I hooked up an analog thermostat to control the temperature. You just plug the freezer into the thermostat and the thermostat into the wall outlet. There's a probe that you just put inside the freezer to monitor the temperature. No drilling required, it is thin enough to fit through the seals.

But, you can also use something even simpler like a plastic bin full of water. You have to monitor the temperature, though, and if you need it colder you'll have to throw in ice. People usually fill plastic bottles with water and freeze them and then just throw the bottle in the water. The downside is that is it very difficult to impossible to get down to lager yeast fermentation temperatures or lagering temperatures. A freezer can span the entire temperature range from lagering to ale fermentation temperatures. But, if you are not interested in doing lagers, this is a cheap solution with not that much work required on your part.
 

Grimm

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for ales i place them in one of those large keg cooler buckets, filled with water, and then i toss in frozen bottles of ice when needed. it's not very exact but you can keep the wort in the right range, but there is fluctuation. I haven't gone to the extent of draping a wet t-shirt over the carboy and having a fan blow at it. But this is my first summer brewing as well so i'm just going with what makes sense.
 

krops13

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I made a son of chiller incarnation and It works great the redoing the thermostat is not that big of a deal. I live in loma Linda if you need help let me know.
 

Homercidal

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I'm currently using a tote of water with the fermenter inside. Picked up an aquarium heater used at a pet shop for $5. Will be my control device. (Saison needs higher temps).

Normally I'd add frozen pop bottles twice a day to keep the temps DOWN.

I'm also lucky that my wife is going to buy me a temp controller for my birthday and I'm in process of fixing up a CNC control cabinet with air conditioner for use as a fermentation chamber. By end of summer I should be good to go.
 

legmaker

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I had the same questions about this and there is a lot of info on the internet about how to keep ales cool during warm months and if you are in southeast Alabama like I am thats over half the year, lol. It has been consitstantly reaching 90 all month and its only May. You can actually find inexpensive (<$15) plastic wash tubs that a carboy or bucket will fit in nicely. Fill up a few plastic bottles with water, freeze them and throw them in individually and figure out how many and how often you need to do it to keep it around 70 depending on the brew. Personally, I am not looking for one, but if I come across a small fridge I am going that route next and that way you/I can do Lagers.
 
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kmoore42

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Thanks again for the feedback. I have done some searching already online about this topic. But as important as the fermenting stage in beer making is there doesn't seem to be a lot of unified information. I'm just trying to gauge what others have in their setup before I pick a solution.
 

digphish

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I have been having difficulty myself keeping temps low enough. My basement used to keep things at 68, but now with summer upon us, it is more like 75. I had a very cheap idea and wanted to see what you guys thought or find out if anyone else has done this. I thought why not put my carboy on or next to an AC vent, and then put a cardboard box upside down on top, covering the carboy. This would basically work as a fridge wouldn't it? I know the temp may fluctuate some but you should be able to assure that it doesn't fluctuate drastically.

Any thoughts?
 

krops13

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I'm pretty sure someone on here does that. My concern woul be the flucuating temps stressing the yeast.
 

mojotele

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I have been having difficulty myself keeping temps low enough. My basement used to keep things at 68, but now with summer upon us, it is more like 75. I had a very cheap idea and wanted to see what you guys thought or find out if anyone else has done this. I thought why not put my carboy on or next to an AC vent, and then put a cardboard box upside down on top, covering the carboy. This would basically work as a fridge wouldn't it? I know the temp may fluctuate some but you should be able to assure that it doesn't fluctuate drastically.

Any thoughts?
That'll probably keep it cooler for a little bit, but it won't stay cool for long. The cardboard box has absolutely no insulation, so once the air shuts off your carboy will warm up very quickly. The AC won't come back on until the thermostat warms up, so, on average, your carboy will probably be too hot.

The cheapest solution is really the plastic tub of water method. The plastic tubs are cheap, and all the water effectively increases the fermenter's thermal mass. So, if you can get the temperature down it'll stay that way for awhile.
 

wworker

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I have been having difficulty myself keeping temps low enough. My basement used to keep things at 68, but now with summer upon us, it is more like 75. I had a very cheap idea and wanted to see what you guys thought or find out if anyone else has done this. I thought why not put my carboy on or next to an AC vent, and then put a cardboard box upside down on top, covering the carboy. This would basically work as a fridge wouldn't it? I know the temp may fluctuate some but you should be able to assure that it doesn't fluctuate drastically.

Any thoughts?
I think results may vary with this. I live in an old drafty house in the deep south so my AC runs more or less constantly. I do this and have been getting 65 degree temps everytime I test....so, it seems to work for me

edit---looks like we are neighbors!! I live in Griffin, GA
 
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