Quantcast

Crawlspace keg storage

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Hagen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
392
Reaction score
1
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
I was considering storing my kegs in the crawlspace to age. I brew ales, and I force carb.
I'm sure everyone agrees that cold aging/conditioning can improve just about any brew. My concern is that while the temperature is always above freezing and below room temp, it can fluctuate in winter from the mid 30's to mid 50's.
Will this fluctuation do more harm than good as opposed to storing at room temp?
 

njnear76

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2007
Messages
816
Reaction score
3
Location
Middlesex,NJ
How warm does your crawlspace get in the summer? I was wondering if a crawlspace could be used for fermenting.

I think you should be fine with those temperatures although if it freezes, that could be bad.
 

david_42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Messages
25,583
Reaction score
179
Location
Oak Grove
Unless those are daily swings, it should be ok. If there's enough room, consider laying in some insulation to damp out the changes.
 

zoebisch01

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 15, 2006
Messages
5,180
Reaction score
11
Location
Central PA
Hey you should capitalize on David's idead, and I had a cool brainstorm to go with it...that is if all the elements could come together for this, and of course depending on how handy you are. Cut a rectangular hole between your joists. In the crawlspace make a box to house the kegs and insulate it. Then make an insulated top door panel. Viola, instant access. And if above was a bar area you could probably just run lines :D. Just a brainstorm, I have no idea how practical it is.
 
OP
Hagen

Hagen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
392
Reaction score
1
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
In summer, the temps are way too variable to consider fermenting or even storing down there. It's an above ground crawlspace and doesn't get the same insulating/buffering advantage that a below ground crawlspace/cellar would have.

The fluctuations are not daily, but follow the weather patterns. So, I see weekly swings up and down in temp.

Once summer comes, everything's inside within shot of an A/C register, with tubs, towels and fan if things get extreme. I'm fairly certain my wife would attempt to cause my great bodily harm if I was to even think of cutting a trap door to the crawlsapce.

I really wish I had a full basement. I'm a plumber and could make short work of piping in and out everything neccessary to get a really nice home brewery going.
 

Philip1993

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2007
Messages
1,643
Reaction score
19
Just remember that a crawlspace breeds some pretty nasty micro organisms (and bacteria carrying dust). Clean and sanitize everything you pull out really well before you open it or connect lines.
 

abracadabra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
9
Location
Newnan
I'd suggest building a small fermentation room down there out of treated 2x4's and treated plywood. Insulate it well then you could put a small ceramic heater in the room to keep it at the temp you want in the winter.

As the weather warms up the heater would run less and less. Then in the summer you could add a cooling unit.

Running plumbing to remotely stored kegs is not a good idea IMHO because the plumbing lines would have to be cooled or the first pint or 2 would be warm or hot in the summer. Plus I'd think cleaning the lines would be a major PITA.
 
OP
Hagen

Hagen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
392
Reaction score
1
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
The plumbing comment was just some wishful ramblings about having a full basement. All I'm looking to do is store kegs down there for aging.

Thanks for the replies so far!
 

abracadabra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2006
Messages
1,923
Reaction score
9
Location
Newnan
I think most people agree that beer can benefit from cold storage, even ale.

The problem with wildly fluctuating temps is that you generally want to age your ale at fermentation temps for about 3 weeks after it's removed from the secondary. (I use my cornies as a combination secondary/serving container.)

If the temp of your storage dropped to the mid 40's- 30's during that aging process the yeast would fall out of suspension and not be able to complete the aging process.

I find that storing the ale after that aging period at cold temps makes it taste better. One of the reasons I believe is simply because the yeast has fallen out of suspension.

Other people have said and I don't know this for a fact that the aging process allows the yeast to take care of some to the headache inducing fusal alcohols.

:off: Wasn't Spotsylvania the site of a famous War Between the States Battle?
 
OP
Hagen

Hagen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Messages
392
Reaction score
1
Location
Spotsylvania, VA
abracadabra said:
:off: Wasn't Spotsylvania the site of a famous War Between the States Battle?
Yes it was. The Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse took place 15 miles north of where I live. It's also the location of a Confederate Cemetery. Also there's Wilderness 20 miles northwest, Fredericksburg 20 miles northeast, and North Anna some 15 miles to the southeast. I live on what was part of Andrew's Tavern Farm, which operated from colonial days to the present. It's now a black angus ranch. The tavern is still there, but not open for business. I wonder if they brewed their own beer, and if there's hops growing wild out on the edges of the pastures.....

Back on topic...

Sounds like the crawlspace gets too cold for proper aging, but might be good for cold storage after a few weeks of aging at warmer temperatures.
 

david_42

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2005
Messages
25,583
Reaction score
179
Location
Oak Grove
You could probably get away with putting a trap door in the laundry room (assuming you have one). Then dig a root cellar.

[Note: it might help to stage a minor plumbing problem that requires quick access in case it happens again.]
 
Top