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Secondary Temp Control Importance?

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matt_m

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I'm debating what to do about adding more fermentation space. I currently have 2 SS Brewtech Chronicals with full temperature control. Adding another set up fully the way the other two are would approach $1k. Well over if I decided to go to a Unitank for pressure fermenting. I really only want more space for those times when a beer needs to be in a fermenter more than 2-3 weeks and I'm thinking maybe I would be better served by starting to secondary those beers in either a keg with a cutoff dip tube, or maybe something like a Spike Flex + without temp control. My basement temps fluctuate between 60 at the low point at night to around 70 during the day in the winter. Summer is a more constant upper 60's. I also have a refrigerator available but it needs to stay at constant fridge temps for shared use, so its only good for cold crashing or lagering. Wondering how much quality I'm going to sacrifice going this route? Or are there options I'm not thinking about?
 
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Hammy71

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Back before I had the conicals, is was my process to remove my carboys from the fermentation chamber after one week and let them condition/finish at room temp in my basement (which has the same temps you describe.) No worries there. In fact, I would carb up the beers in the cornies at room temp as well.
 

palmtrees

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I use a mini fridge for fermentation temp control. Because it can only hold one carboy at a time, I frequently pull beers out once active fermentation is finished so I can ferment my next batch. I've never noticed an issue. My understanding and experience is that temperature generates off flavors only during active fermentation (and possibly only in the first portion of active fermentation, depending on who you ask). Once you're in the conditioning phase, precise temp control matters a lot less. And remember also that at this point, you don't have the exothermic reaction going on to bump up the beer temperature, so it really will stay at your ambient temp. It certainly wouldn't be worth $1,000 to me to add another temp controlled fermenter to your setup! So I think your plan sounds just fine, particularly at basement temps. Honestly, the impact on quality here won't come from the temperature but from the oxygen exposure when transferring to a secondary. It sounds like you could mitigate that by transferring with co2, particularly if you use a keg.
 
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matt_m

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Yes I'd definitely be doing pressure transfers.

I stumbled across the Blichmann Cornical system last night. I think it has a lot of downsides for its stated purposes but I'm really tempted to pick one up for a pressure-capable Kviek fermenter/secondary tank. It shouldn't be a problem to get it upwards of 100F with a heat wrap and an neoprene or Reflextix jacket since Chrnoicals can do so and it would allow for a full 5 gallon batch. As a secondary tank it would still allow dumping or avoiding transfer of whatever settles and with one of the carb stone lids, could be used as a brite tank. And it looks pretty which is somewhat important since my brewery is in the finished basement. I wouldn't be able to cold crash it thought as its too tall for my extra fridge.
 

Dusan Kovacevic

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No need for temperature control after ~4 days of active fermentation.
However, you still want to keep temp within appropriate range and avoid temperature swings that you have in your basement.
Maybe the solution is to thermaly insulate your fermenters and test for temperature swings before you use it.
 
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