Same chest freezer/temp for fermenting and serving?

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

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

GratefulBear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
27
Reaction score
2
Greetings gang,

My kegerator crapped out a while back and I'm thinking about my next setup. My main goal right now is reducing the hangover inducing properties of my cider. Unless I'm mistaken, public enemy #1 is fermentation temperatures when it comes to fusel alcohols. What are your thoughts on a chest freezer that is set to, say, 50 degrees F for both serving and fermenting? Would 50 degrees be too cold for some yeasts or will fermentation just take longer? I'm ok with it taking up to 4x longer. I was thinking of getting a chest freezer large enough to hold 4 serving (corny) kegs and 3 fermenting (corny) kegs plus CO2 tank and regulator. Appreciate any input or words of warning before I take the plunge.
 

Rick Stephens

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
127
Reaction score
59
Location
Idaho
Start reading up the data sheets from the manufacturers of the yeasts you use. You will need to stay in the neighborhood of viable temperature range. Personally, I don't think you will like the results of fermenting at 50ƒ.

As far as avoiding hammer head, what ABV do you aim for? High cider ABV is more likely to cause skullsplosions than other contaminants unless you're distilling.....
 
OP
GratefulBear

GratefulBear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
27
Reaction score
2
Start reading up the data sheets from the manufacturers of the yeasts you use. You will need to stay in the neighborhood of viable temperature range. Personally, I don't think you will like the results of fermenting at 50ƒ.

As far as avoiding hammer head, what ABV do you aim for? High cider ABV is more likely to cause skullsplosions than other contaminants unless you're distilling.....
Thanks, Rick. I broke open Claude Jolicoeur's book and he uses cooler temps, but not sure what yeast he uses (haven't got that far yet). From what I've read on the web, cooler temps yield juicy ciders and I might not want overly juicy ciders every time. I usually ferment to fully dry and sometimes backsweeten to semi-dry so that could be part of the problem with the hangovers. The other thing could be that I love most of my ciders and part of my brain shuts off my counting ability (when it comes to number of pints drunk) because it's frikkin awesome that I brewed it :D:D

When you caution against low temperature for fermentation, do you mean just primary or secondary as well? It would be easy to keep my basement at 60 degrees for the three cooler seasons. I could do primary on the basement floor and then secondary in the keezer hypothetically. I've had some harsh brews hangover wise but they fermented during the summer when the basement got up to 72 frequently (champagne yeast), so that may have been the problem.

I also didn't know if there were any issues with fermenting in the keezer, like excess humidity from the blowoff or difficulty holding the temperature due to heat generated by primary.
 

Rick Stephens

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 9, 2020
Messages
127
Reaction score
59
Location
Idaho
Most of the yeasts I use recommend in the 60's. I stored some bottles that were bottle carbing in the sunroom once, while that room is part of the house, we close all the heat vents and let it cool off. Those bottle would not restart until I brought them back into the basement which is always in the 60's until summer. Doing everything in the basement fall through spring works for me. Most of the time it seems low 50's get you virtually no fermentation with most of the yeasts. Read up though, you may find a bunch of them work well down there.
 

Chalkyt

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Apr 19, 2017
Messages
456
Reaction score
231
Location
Snowy Mountains, Australia
I am no expert on fermentation temperature but it is probably worth sharing my experience. I ferment my cider in our cool store. It is just an outside concrete block store room for keeping preserves, produce, wine and of course cider. It has an A/C for summer to keep the temperature below 18C (64F) which is great for red wine but a touch high for whites. Once we get to Fall and apple time the temperature starts to drop so primary and secondary fermentation is in the range 18C (64F) down to 10C (50F) by the time I have picked and pressed the apples and frosts or a bit of snow starts to hit.

Once the temperature gets much below 10C (50F), as Rick suggests, I find that fermentation really slows down and sometimes I have to bring the carboys inside the house for a while or leave the store door open on warmer days to get things moving. Mind you, I generally aim for primary fermentation to be finished in weeks rather than the months suggested by Clause Jolicoeur so maybe I should be a bit more patient. But, he is in Canada where COLD is normal over winter whereas we will only get to a few degrees below freezing so fermentation will typically be a bit faster than he suggests. I am quite happy with what I get although I tend to bottle when the SG has dropped to the level that I want for sweetness and carbonation, rather than let it go all the way then add sugar etc to get back up there.

I guess the point of all this waffle is that my experience suggests that a setup of 50F - 60F should be quite workable. BTW I also like the term "skullsplosions". Can I use it too please?
 
OP
GratefulBear

GratefulBear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
27
Reaction score
2
Thanks for the info, guys! I have some things to think about with my keezer build. Probably make sure there's enough room to secondary or age a few kegs.
 

jseyfert3

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
250
Reaction score
95
Location
South-Central Wisconsin
I considered (and may still, depending) configuring our kreezer for fermenting and dispensing. I think I recall some people here have done similar by using heat tape, a temp controller, and some sort of insulation around the fermenter to allow it to maintain a constant temp higher than the kreezer temp.
 

ncguire

Active Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
15
I did a batch both 2019 and 2020 using Premier Cuvee champagne yeast. 2019 I did it in the fall inside my house and the temperature was probably around 72 F. 2020 batch was fermented inside my garage in winter, which probably averaged 52 F, and left it there for over a month before I didn't notice any more airlock activity. 2020 batch is still aging in secondary (moved inside the house), but when I was transferring the cider out of the primary fermentation vessel I tasted it, and it tasted and smelled much better than I remember the warmer 2019 batch tasting at that stage. Isn't quite a fair test as I used different varieties of apples/juice from year to year, but my conclusion is that lower really is better, at least with Premier Cuvee, which is supposed to tolerate down to 45 F.
 
Top