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High fermentation temperatures!

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rph33

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Yo yo yiggidy yo

So I live in Sacramento and its hot as crap here. I can't keep runnin' the AC to keep my ideal 68 degree fermentation temps anymore. So its about 74-78 degrees in my house.

This means, I can effectively make hefeweizen... what else? Any other styles that won't suffer from a 78 degree fermentation temperature? Or any cheap and NON-LABOR-INTENSIVE method of reducing fermentation temperatures? (I do not have an extra shower or tub to set my carboys in)

Well, thanks a ton, lata.
 

Ben25

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My basement stays at a constant 65 so I don't have to worry about it, but from what I've heard on here, you need to wrap your carboy in a towel and put it in a bucket of water and aim a fan at it. That way the water will wick up into the towel and then evaporate, effectively cooling it.
 

Brewsmith

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Get some sort of bucket, tub or cooler that is larger than your fermenter, and put the fermenter in it in an ice water bath. Put an old t-shirt over the fermenter so that the water wicks up the shirt. Use a small fan to blow on the shirt. The eveaporating water will lower the temperature several degrees. Use frozen water bottles for the ice so you can keep freezing the thawed ones.
 

ajwillys

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I bought one of those big rubbermaid storage containers and it just barely fits my 7 gallon bucket. I put the bucket in, fill it with water, and then put large ice cubes in it like twice a day. It seems to keep it pretty cool. I make the ice cubes using disposable ziploc storage containers (look like rubbermaid's but are disposable). Just keep like 8-12 in your freezer and drop two in twice a day. They take about a day to refreeze so 12 is probably a better number.
 

Revvy

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I use one of these that holds 2 fermenters, and a few inches of water.



I have an aquarium thermometer on the side of it to check the temp of the water. I cover each of the carboys/buckets with a t-short to wick up the water. Adding a fan to blow air on them will cool them further.

I filled a bunch of 2 liter soda bottles and some small water bottles with water and froze them...I change them out every couple days. I can get the ambient temp of the thermometers on the bucket down to the low 60's which means that the heat of fermentation is only a few degrees higher
 

Germey

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I put mine in a closet that barely holds two fermenters and then rotate between two old extract buckets (~2gal) that are filled with water and frozen solid. I put the frozen bucket right up next to the carboys then wrap the whole thing in a blanket. I have been maintaining 64-66 through a week of a 90* garage.
 

EricCSU

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If you like Belgian beers, you can brew most Belgians at the 74-76 range.

Check out the White Labs Yeast website and look at the Belgian yeasts (in the 500s). They do well at those temps.

Eric
 

Sgt. Major

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Now these are tips to remember! you learn something everyday.... I've been wondering the same thing. Its hot as all git-out in Mississippi, and ya'll have given me an answer to my problem.
 

cookinwood

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I used to live in tucson. I had crappy a/c but all tile floors. I think the hottest that mine got during the hottest days of summer was around 76. My beers never seemed to have failed. If you are at 68 degrees you can do a california lager, n.w. ale yeast also works at mid 70's temps as well as british ale 2 and belgian. so white beers always refreshing in the dog days of summer would be my beer of choice as well as the lager. Cheers buddy and good luck. Also, you could try a soaking wet beach towel wrapped around it refreshing it 2 times a day, its not much but 2-3 degrees cooler never hurts. Could also try to find a coffin freezer on craigslist for cheap possibly free and buy that temperature thingamajig that keeps it from freezing. Sorry for rambling but I cam across these problems 2 years ago... I ended up just moving to seattle!:):mug:
 

EricCSU

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I use one of these that holds 2 fermenters, and a few inches of water.



I have an aquarium thermometer on the side of it to check the temp of the water. I cover each of the carboys/buckets with a t-short to wick up the water. Adding a fan to blow air on them will cool them further.

I filled a bunch of 2 liter soda bottles and some small water bottles with water and froze them...I change them out every couple days. I can get the ambient temp of the thermometers on the bucket down to the low 60's which means that the heat of fermentation is only a few degrees higher
So, I tried this out yesterday.

I put 12 1/2 liter water bottles in the freezer before I started and waited till they were all frozen. I used two storage containers, one inside the other. I put a bath towel between the two containers and one on each side (my thinking is that it would be some cheap, easy insulation). I put a 6.5 gallon carboy in and placed a stick-on thermometer just below the krausen line. I filled the container with water up to about 3" below the thermometer (to allow the water to rise after the bottles were dropped in). I dropped 6 frozen 1/2 liter water bottles and then swapped them out after 12 hours. After 24 hours, the carboy temp was 63 degrees, down from 79 degrees (77-79 is the ambient temp in my apartment).

This really works, and I didn't need to use the fan and wet towel trick.

So here's a question for you all. I'm planning to brew a Texas Blonde recipe, which uses 0029 Kolsch yeast, which is listed at 65-69 degrees. Should I get the beer to 65-67 degrees right away, or wait until fermentation starts at room temp and then drop it down do 67 degrees?

Eric
 

Revvy

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So, I tried this out yesterday.

I put 12 1/2 liter water bottles in the freezer before I started and waited till they were all frozen. I used two storage containers, one inside the other. I put a bath towel between the two containers and one on each side (my thinking is that it would be some cheap, easy insulation). I put a 6.5 gallon carboy in and placed a stick-on thermometer just below the krausen line. I filled the container with water up to about 3" below the thermometer (to allow the water to rise after the bottles were dropped in). I dropped 6 frozen 1/2 liter water bottles and then swapped them out after 12 hours. After 24 hours, the carboy temp was 63 degrees, down from 79 degrees (77-79 is the ambient temp in my apartment).

This really works, and I didn't need to use the fan and wet towel trick.

So here's a question for you all. I'm planning to brew a Texas Blonde recipe, which uses 0029 Kolsch yeast, which is listed at 65-69 degrees. Should I get the beer to 65-67 degrees right away, or wait until fermentation starts at room temp and then drop it down do 67 degrees?

Eric
Hey, the stacking/insulating idea sounds great, I'm going to have to try that!!

For the Kolsh yeast, I'd go from pitching it to putting the fermenter right in your chill chest....and I'd try to get the water in the chill chest down below 65 (try to get it to near 60) because fermentation is exothermic-it gives off heat inside the fermenter, so you want to try to get the exothermic reaction within your 65-67 range, or close to it.
 

EricCSU

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Thanks for the reply. I think I could definitely get it down to 60 if I used a few ice packs as well as dumped ice in the water while taking out some of the warm water with a pitcher. Thanks for the help, I really want this blonde to turn out pleasant and easy-drinking without off-flavors.

Eric
 
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BYO did an article on hot weather brewing a few years ago. I believe they said that WLP001 California Ale is good (not great) up to 80deg F and that WLP008 East Coast Ale ferments clean past 80deg F!
 

Germey

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... I used two storage containers, one inside the other. I put a bath towel between the two containers and one on each side (my thinking is that it would be some cheap, easy insulation)...

Eric
That reminds me of this. I think the water and ice are still probably easier this side of Africa, but it's an intriguing idea anyway.
 

mrk305

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Here in Georgia when it's this hot I keep my a/c set on 78. I have my three fermenting buckets on the kitchen floor in front of an a/c duct with the most recently brewed one in the center. I covered them with two very heavy blankets that I rolled near the edges so it would seal against the wall. I have exit holes for the air to get out on each corner.

I rigged an insulated pocket for my digital temp probe out of paper towel and scotch tape. My house a/c is set on 78, but my beer temp is 68 or lower.
 

GunnerMan

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I have mine in qa tub of water that I add ice to every once in a while to keep it at the 68-72F range throughout the day. My tup only goes half way up the fermenter though, is this a problem? Do I need to put a towel around it and blow it or something? The outside temp for the room is about 75-80F all day.

Eventually I want to just get a big plastic bucket with a lid that will hold my fermenter in that I can put a few blocks of ice in for the day and call it good.
 

EricCSU

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So, this technique works, almost too well. I brewed the AHS Texas Blonde today. I cooled the wort to 70 degrees and then moved the carboy to an ice bath in the tub. Within 6 hours, my carboy thermometer read 58 degrees and there was still some ice in the tub. I replaced a gallon of the cold water and put warm water in. A half hour later the carboy thermometer read 63 degrees. I'm shooting for 67 degree fermentation (WLP0029 Kolsch Yeast), which the carboy should hit by morning when I wake up. I'm planning on adding two "ice bottles" unless it is over 70, then I'll add a few more. I'll recheck again tommorow afternoon and then go from there.

I think this technique would even be aggressive enough for a Marzen recipe or California Common. Those are going to be my next two brews, so I'll keep everyone updated on the effectiveness.

Eric
 

EricCSU

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I have mine in qa tub of water that I add ice to every once in a while to keep it at the 68-72F range throughout the day. My tup only goes half way up the fermenter though, is this a problem? Do I need to put a towel around it and blow it or something? The outside temp for the room is about 75-80F all day.

Eventually I want to just get a big plastic bucket with a lid that will hold my fermenter in that I can put a few blocks of ice in for the day and call it good.
You can approximate your beer temp with an adhesive thermometer as long as your place the thermometer low enough to be next to the beer and high enough to be above the water and ice bottles. I'll put a picture up later this week.

Eric
 

Kauai_Kahuna

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Eric,
I would still add the wet towel / tee shirt, reduce the water level and the ice level. Too much water means more to chill, too much ice just makes it too cold then warm. Yeast do not like that much variation.

If you have a little water on the bottom, double insulate, and a wet towel or tee shirt around the carboy allowing the water to wick up, and cover the top with a plastic bag will allow less ice and water. I have found that 1 plastic 1/2 gal bottle, or ice packs can last the day at temp and I can hold a pretty steady temp. (I fill a plastic soda bottle with water, and leave a thermometer in it). You can look at other "Son of Fermenter" post and see you can do better, but this works for me if I over do it. I use an old fridge with a basic Johnson control unit that fits two carboys, but right now I have four batches going and this process works well for me. Yea, I know, only four? But not too many parties on the calendar.
Hope this helps.
 

GunnerMan

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I have my 6 gal fermenter in the tub with the tub filling almost half way up the fermenter. Then I have a teeshirt over the top to wick the water as stated. I have various water bottles such as a 12 oz Mountain Dew that i keep frozen. When I started I got the right temp (68F) put a single ice bottle in that drops it to about 66-67 F and I leave for the day, when I come home for lunch the temp is usually still below 68f (68.8 or so) I replace the ice bottle and go back to work. Then before bed I replace again. This seems to be the ticket for me. Again varying size and temps will determine how much and how often.

I would opt for as much water as you can around the carboy or whatever because more water takes more time to change its temperature. So once you do find your magic number in your full tub it will be a lot easyer to maintain the temp than a smaller amount of water. Once you figure out how much ice you need for a certain temp it should be pretty easy for future batches to raise or lower the temp.
 

EricCSU

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As of 0530 this morning, the thermometer read 66 degrees. I added one fresh ice bottle. I'm at work for a 24 hour shift today, so I'm relying on SWMBO to help maintain the temp for me. At 1900 today, the temp was reported to be 66 degrees, with no airlock activity yet. I told her to take out the ice bottle and just go with water. I think that should keep it in the 65-67 degree range that I'm shooting for.

I know it's not perfect, but the alternative is relying on the ambient temp of my apartment, which is 78 degrees. I think even wavering between 65 to 67 degrees with this technique has to be better than keeping the carboy at 78 degrees, especially with this yeast.

Eric
 

kingjam

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I have found that keeping the temp in the 70 to 73 at first starts the fermenting process faster...then when it starts I drop the temp to 63-65. I dont know if there is any truth to this.
 

LoonyBrew

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Bring your temp down in the tub, then tranfer to a basement or the coolest spot you have, then wrap in a super thick sleeping bag or blankets...as many as you can get.

Take a trash can, fill with water from the hose which is cold. Then put the carboy in there. Just refill the trash can daily.
 

LoonyBrew

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If you own your home and you have a yard, did a hole as deep as you can got. Put it in there and cover with insulating foam....like a root cellar. Even better if you can insulate the hole also. Leave the base of the hole dirt so the cool ground can keep your brew cold.
 

EricCSU

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Just got home from work. Carboy was 68 degrees. No airlock activity. I looked closer at the airlock and the water level was just slightly below the cap. So, there could have been activity the whole time and I would have never seen it. I took out the airlock and put a little more vodka in: one bubble a minute. I added one water bottle to bring it to about 66-67 and I'll recheck in a few hours, after a nap.

Eric
 

ChuckMoney

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BYO did an article on hot weather brewing a few years ago. I believe they said that WLP001 California Ale is good (not great) up to 80deg F and that WLP008 East Coast Ale ferments clean past 80deg F!
Quoted for truth, I've made some American Wheat Ales (read Oberon Clones) with both the east coast and the california and fermented between 75 and 80 the entire time. Actually, I prefer the flavors that the california V gives when fermented warm over the california, but either will ferment great at higher temperatures. The east coast is just a beast. I don't think I've ever seen that yeast be daunted by high temps, and still ferments much cleaner than other ale yeasts i've used.
 

EricCSU

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Quick update:
I slowly let the carboy come up to 68-69 degrees (the upper limit of the 65-69 degree range for the Kolsch yeast) yesterday and held it at 67-69 degrees before I left for work at 1800. I call the SWMBO before she goes to bed and 1)how are the kids (yellow and choc lab) and 2)how is my beer? She says "68 degrees...and its foamy on top". Success! Airlock activity, krausen, and keeping the carboy at the right temp! I told her to add one bottle.

Got home this morning and the carboy is 69 degrees. I should have told her two bottles because of the exothermic fermentation, but 69 is still in the range. I took out the thawed bottle and added two bottles.

For next time, I think I will keep the carboy at around 70-73 until fermentation starts, then slowly move it to ideal yeast temp. I don't want it at room temp (78 degrees), because it will take either too long to drop the temp or it will drop too fast.

Question for you all:

I'm planning on a California Common and Marzen soon. Should I use the above method or drop it to ideal yeast temp right away and wait?

Here's some pics of the setup:

With the towel for insulation, shade, and not tempting the kids from taking a drink.



The setup



Two bottles working at the moment, took one out to raise temp slightly



Sampling the wort (this is the Austin Homebrew Supply Texas Blonde)


Take care,

Eric
 

MBBrewer

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Originally Posted by Kahluaman
BYO did an article on hot weather brewing a few years ago. I believe they said that WLP001 California Ale is good (not great) up to 80deg F and that WLP008 East Coast Ale ferments clean past 80deg F!

Its pretty hot in New York and I was wondering how to brew. Do those yeasts work with any beer style, say a stout?
 

Proofman

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Do have an extra bathroom or laundryroom (small room with a/c vent)? In the summer, here in the south, we keep the a/c set at 78F when we are gone and about 74-75F when we are home. I keep mine fermenters in our extra bathroom and by openeing and closing the a/c vent at strategic times i can keep the temp at 66-69F.
 

Evan!

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Do have an extra bathroom or laundryroom (small room with a/c vent)? In the summer, here in the south, we keep the a/c set at 78F when we are gone and about 74-75F when we are home. I keep mine fermenters in our extra bathroom and by openeing and closing the a/c vent at strategic times i can keep the temp at 66-69F.
So you keep your ambient room temp at 66-69ºF? Which means, after you factor in the aerobic activity from fermentation, you're probably looking at, what, 75ºF wort temps? Sounds pretty high to me.
 

Evan!

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And I'd also like to clarify this whole "Belgian beers are fermented hot" myth. It's a misunderstanding. You get above 72 for most ale strains, belgian or not, and you start risking phenolics and fusel alcohols. You can ramp the temps up towards the latter half of fermentation, but I still do not recommend going about 72º during the first half for almost any beer...especially during the repro phase.
 

EricCSU

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And I'd also like to clarify this whole "Belgian beers are fermented hot" myth. It's a misunderstanding. You get above 72 for most ale strains, belgian or not, and you start risking phenolics and fusel alcohols. You can ramp the temps up towards the latter half of fermentation, but I still do not recommend going about 72º during the first half for almost any beer...especially during the repro phase.
It seems like that is the consensus among many brewers. According to Jamil, even the Saison yeast should be started at 68 degrees and slowly ramped up to 77-78 over a week. If I did not temp control, the carboy would definitely reach 85 in my house.

Eric
 

Streak541

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Some good ideas. I live in Oklahoma where it also gets warm, and I also recently purchased a conical (plastic) fermenter, so it is harder to place in an ice bath. I am thinking of using the ice chest/pump that I had to buy when I was recovering from shoulder surgery. Wouldn't cooling the top of the fermenter allow the rest of the fermenter to also cool? As heat is pulled out of the top, wouldn't the warmer wort follow, etc, etc?

I also thought about adding the towels or t-shirts to collect some of the condensation.
 

marcelo

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I tried many things this week, but my beer is brewing between 76 to 85F by the smell coming out airlock is very strong and sulfur. I do not know if anyone had the same problem? I used Nottingham yeast and was thinking of putting the fermenter in the fridge and keep for two weeks 40f. is all I can do.
any help please ...
 
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