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Berlbrew

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So, I started brewing at the beginning of this winter, during which time the heat in my apartment has been on and my thermostat has done a handy job of keeping my place at a constant 70F. I've done a few batches this winter and haven't thought twice about temperatures fluctuating in the closet where my primaries do their deeds.

Now, as spring is approaching, I'm realizing that I live in an apartment on the top floor in Boston with no central air. Basically, in the summer, its hot. Luckily, we do have a window A/C unit built into our living room wall, but it just blows cold air into the largest room in the apartment, making that room about 75F. The closet where the primaries sit could never receive any of the cool air from the A/C. Also, the A/C sits below an enormous window which faces due east and lets in tons of light/heat in the morning (great for real estate, bad for beer).

So my question is this- for those of you with no central air, how do you manage temps for fermenting in the summer? Keep in mind because I live in a large building I have no basement or cellar. Does anyone know of a good method to keeping my primaries in a dark 65-70F place even when my apartment is 80F and the sun is shining in like its nobody's business? :confused:
 

bull8042

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YUP! Get yourself one of those large rubbermaid storage bins, add a few inches water. Set your carboys in there and drape a couple of black t-shirts over them so the bottom of the shirt is in the water. The shirt will wick up the water, and as it evaporates, will cool your carboy quite nicely.
Do a search for swamp coolers here and you will turn up a ton of info.
 
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you need to build a swamp cooler.

1) get a bucket.
2) place carboy/ale-pail in bucket.
3) fill bucket with water until about 2 inches below the beer line in the carboy
4) place a t-shirt over the carboy so the airlock in coming out of the neck of the shirt and the bottom of the shirt is in the water.
5) get two water bottles and freeze them
6) place 1 frozen water bottle in the water
7) rotate the water bottles from freezer to bucket as often as is need to keep temps down
 

LaurieGator

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I live in Arizona and even with AC blasting in the summer, the temps in here can get into the high 70's.

I have seen suggestions of using a large bucket (from Wal Mart) that goes around the carboy and keeping it filled with cold water and jugs of ice (like a gatorade bottle or 1/2 gallon milk container). This should buy you a few degrees to keep your fermenting cold.

I have the luxury of having a spare bathroom. It is also the only room in my house with no windows and has northern exposure to keep the room a bit cooler. My temps in my brew room are already in the mid 70's here. I have rigged up a system where I wrap my glass carboys in towels with a couple of safety pins to keep the towels secure. I put a small fountain pump in the bathtub, filled the tub with cold water and put a hose into the towel to keep water circulating over the carboy and keep the towels wet. This system has lowered my fermenting temp into the mid 60's. When the really hot weather hits, I will add a fan to create an artificial "swamp cooler" to bring it down a few more degrees.
 

kubilusaurus

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+1 on the swamp cooler. I'm in Allston on the fourth floor with no AC, rotating the frozen 2L bottles in and out along with a wet t-shirt can keep my fermentation between 65-70 even when my apartment gets into the 90's.
 
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Berlbrew

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+1 on the swamp cooler. I'm in Allston on the fourth floor with no AC, rotating the frozen 2L bottles in and out along with a wet t-shirt can keep my fermentation between 65-70 even when my apartment gets into the 90's.
Word.

I'm in Jamaica Plain on the 3rd floor, so I imagine our situations are pretty much identical. It seems as though this is the consensus on what I should do.

Just so ya know, I got an e-mail coupon from Phantom Gourmet today good for 4 sliders + a flight of beer for $9 at Sunset. Being that you live in Allston, I'd be glad to forward it over to ya. :mug:

Thanks!
 

Chadwell

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Good to see some people in the Boston area! I am up on the North Shore. Anyway, I don't have much to add since I have a basement but was actually wondering the same thing about warmer temps so I am happy to have come across this topic. I haven't tested the temps in my basement in the summer so it will be interesting to see if it is suitable. I assume it is...I hope it is...please be suitable...
 

Corkster

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Definitely a +1 on the T-shirt/towels...... I think this is a fantastic yet simple idea..... I wish I'd thought of it so I'd have bragging rights!
 

humann_brewing

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I am a big fan of the water bath with ICE. I use to use a rubbermaid bucket and still do as I have a ale in it right now, but using an aquarium heater to heat instead of cool.


But what I did this time with a lager to cool what put the better bottle in my 10G round cooler mash/tun. The extra insulation has helped greatly, I maybe add a few ice cubes once a day before I go to sleep and it has kept it at 50* F by +/- 2 degrees.
 

humann_brewing

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What are you using to fill that three piece airlock? The color is whisky'ish.
You got it. Didn't feel like putting in vodka since it was a porter below it in case any fell in.

I have actually recycled that airlock for like 3 brews now by just switching the fermenting vessel, but keep that quiet, the sanitary police will get me.
 

Chadwell

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You got it. Didn't feel like putting in vodka since it was a porter below it in case any fell in.

I have actually recycled that airlock for like 3 brews now by just switching the fermenting vessel, but keep that quiet, the sanitary police will get me.
:)

Nice!

I have just been using some san star solution. I don't have much liquor around the house or I'd go for the same thing! :rockin:
 

TexasSpartan

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you need to build a swamp cooler.

1) get a bucket.
2) place carboy/ale-pail in bucket.
3) fill bucket with water until about 2 inches below the beer line in the carboy
4) place a t-shirt over the carboy so the airlock in coming out of the neck of the shirt and the bottom of the shirt is in the water.
5) get two water bottles and freeze them
6) place 1 frozen water bottle in the water
7) rotate the water bottles from freezer to bucket as often as is need to keep temps down
Sounds like a plan. I'm going to be doing this soon, its starting to heat up in Texas and I don't think I can talk the wife into keeping the house at 68 degrees all day.
 

jsullivan02130

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Hey, I'M in JP on the third floor, too. Maybe there should be a HBT subgroup for JP third-floor brewers.

I can attest that the swamp cooler works just fine. I brewed that way last year.


Word.

I'm in Jamaica Plain on the 3rd floor, so I imagine our situations are pretty much identical. It seems as though this is the consensus on what I should do.
 
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Berlbrew

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Hey, I'M in JP on the third floor, too. Maybe there should be a HBT subgroup for JP third-floor brewers.

I can attest that the swamp cooler works just fine. I brewed that way last year.
Nice! I wonder if there are any others? I suppose my roommate and I count as 2 since we both brew, and you would make 3. We could all collaborate on a cleverly named JP ale... My vote goes for #39.

In regards to the swamp cooler, it was brought to my attention yesterday that I have access to a vacation home in Plymouth which has central air AND a huge basement. Looks like I've got an alternative solution.

Hooray for Boston/JP brewers.

-Andrew
 

jsullivan02130

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Yes, there is a rich brewery tradition in JP that goes back a long way, and it seemed appropriate to do something along those lines. All those German street names, from Dresden to Mozart, are there for a reason. There's even, of course, Brewer St., by the pond.

I was also thinking an Orange Line Amber or a Muddy River Porter. But here's what I ended up with:

 
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Berlbrew

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Yes, there is a rich brewery tradition in JP that goes back a long way, and it seemed appropriate to do something along those lines. All those German street names, from Dresden to Mozart, are there for a reason. There's even, of course, Brewer St., by the pond.

I was also thinking an Orange Line Amber or a Muddy River Porter. But here's what I ended up with:

F&%# YEAH.

That is awesome. JP is a glorious place. Let me know if you follow through with any JP brews.
 
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