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Brewing and warm weather

I have the bourbon barrel porter kit but haven’t had a chance to brew it yet. The weather is starting to get warmer (it’s supposed to hit the mid 80s tomorrow). My basement is a bit cooler but if we get hit with a span of 80+ days the basement is likely to heat up & be closer to the high 70s.

Since the bourbon barrel porter should ideally be fermented at mid 60s & it’s unlikely my basement will sustain that temperature over the next 6 weeks, am I better off waiting until the fall to brew this?

I’m leaning towards waiting but wanted the opinions of people who have more experience than I do (only have 4 batches under my belt).

Follow-up question: If I wait, how do I keep my ingredients fresh? I was thinking it’s easy enough to store the grains & hops in the freezer & maybe even the dry extract but what about the liquid extract? Refrigerator?

Here is a good article about ingredient storage from BYO:

If you are so inclined you can use a swamp cooler to keep your fermentor cooler during the warm months, otherwise brew ales that call for warmer temperatures. Lots of information on either is a Google search away…

What yeast? Some do okay a bit warmer.
Hops should be in the freezer, but the grains just need to be in an airtight container.
The LME can go in the fridge, but I’m not sure about the DME.
You don’t have to sustain mid-60s for the entire six weeks, most of the fermentation is done in 3 or 4 days.

Your ingredients will be fine. I freeze hops, refrig. yeast, keep grains dry. To me temp. control is vey important. The swamp cooler thing is good. I have a small frig. and digital temp controller which I tape the probe to the fermenting carboy. Now you can dial in temps. You can pick up used Frig/freezers used cheap. Now I can brew all year even when the basement gets too warm.

Agree with all of the above, if you are like me and space limits you from buying another fridge/ chest cooler or one of those garage monstrosities that would hold deer carcasses or ten carboys consider simply buying a large 10 gallon water cooler from the big hardware chain near you. Buy a thermometer with immersible probe and you are in business. Search the forum for South Florida brewing or swamp cooler 10 gallon HD and you should find the thread from March of this year. Mine works great and controlling temperatures has led to substantial improvement n the beer. :cheers:

I use this to keep my wort cooler as it ferments. Fill most the way with water(just so the bucket or carboy don’t float), put in a thermometer and add frozen water bottles as needed to maintain your desired temp. With a carboy, I drape a towel over it to wick water up the side and keep sunlight out.

Caution: the following is personal opinion, not based on a statistically significant sample or laboratory analysis:

One of the best things you can do for your beer is to ferment it near the low end of the published yeast temperature range. You’ll get beer if you ferment warm, but (in my experience) you start getting some undesirable flavors and some funky alcohols that produce headaches as you approach the upper end of the range. I may be overly sensitive to those - I’ve detected a formaldehyde flavor in an occasional Red Stripe. Cool fermentation is worth the effort - for me.

Thank you so much, everyone.

Love the enormous wort ice bucket!

Being lazy and being short on room, I’m thinking I’ll wait until the fall & throw my hops in the freezer.

On another forum, I read about a fermentor jacket which is basically a soft-sided cooler sized for a carboy or bucket. Got me thinking about how to keep my fermentation level during the active phase of yeast activity when my garage and house heat up during warm weather. As luck would have it, I brewed a low gravity session beer on Saturday, chilled to pitching temp and pitched. Kept the bucket nice and cool by setting it in my 35-degree sleeping bag and nestling frozen cooler packs next to the bucket every morning and evening. Kept everything out of the sunlight and it seemed to have worked great. No readings above 66 and fluctuated only about 3 degrees. I tasted my gravity sample before dry hopping it and it seems to have worked.

+1 on the swamp cooler. Mine is rather crude and is nothing more than a Rubbermaid Tote (large one) filled with about 5 gallons of cold water and a floating thermometer. Keep in mind that the actual fermenting temp of your wort is approx +5 degrees warmer than the water bath.

In any case, I freeze about five 16 oz water bottles and rotate them out in the morning and evening (this is when I am working as I can watch it closer during the weekends). Also I put an extra large tee-shirt over my fermenter and let the cool water create a “wicking” effect by having the dry areas of the shirt draw cool water. Lastly you can put a box fan in front of the swamp cooler and let it run during the day if you’re not able to stay on top of the fermenting brew constantly.

I incorporate this method for all my brews now. I kept a Kolsch at 55 degrees (the water bath temp) pretty much the entire time during the month of April into May.

Happy brewing :cheers:

I just got in just under the wire on a Trappist ale a few days ago before it started getting warm outside. It stayed about 65 without any help and a window a/c keeping it at just bit warmer now. The yeast is Wyeast 3787 Trappist high gravity with a temp range of 64 to 78 so it is well in range.

The swamp cooler type set ups have worked for me in the past even though they are a little labor intensive. Even though we have central it’s not always necessary so the window unit is great to keep the room temp at least in a range that won’t produce a terrible fusel alcohol taste. It helps to try to have the fermentation vessel right in front of it.

I’m guessing you are not in the Keys anymore! 90plus degrees here till oh, say, November?

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