First off, thanks so much for past advice. It’s really helping us brew better beers and understanding the often ambiguous instruction and technical detail of the processes. In the end, we’re brewing according to our system’s requirements and restraints, which is the wisdom that comes with experience and patience.
But! We are having a lot of trouble controlling ferm temps and it’s driving us mad. This is the one roadblock that we just can’t seem to break through. And we do not have the means presently to invest in a techno-geek cooling system, hence the Cool Brewing query.
So, judging from our own experience with our system, these are our details:
The room we use to ferment is generally at 70-72 degrees. Good temps to rouse the yeast awake, but we have consistently seen our fermenter temps jump from 68 degrees to 78 degrees once fermentation ramps up. I know this is typical, and I’m reassured because the jumps are very consistent with all the beers we’ve brewed.
We recently purchased a Cool Brewing chamber and will experiment with cooling techniques (adding/subtracting ice packs). But, with so much liquid, it will take hours to cool down. How do we anticipate this rise in temps and get our cooler temps right?
I assume we add the fermenter to the cooling chamber with the cool packs, so that the ambient temps in the cooler drop and as the yeast ramp up and warm up, the temps in the chamber and fermenter stabilize. Is this correct? I fear that the pitch temps, let’s say 68, will decrease and the yeast will get sluggish.
I also assume that if a fermentation vessel is in a room that is at 64 degrees, let’s say, and the wort is cooled to 64, then the yeast will without fail raise to 70+, then drop back to the room’s temp once all activity has ceased. And this is, as I understand, not good for the beer. Temperatures have to be controlled throughout. I assume that means lowering the ambient temps to match the increasing wort temps. This is a balancing act, and one I’m investing a lot of time to figure out.
Is this the normal procedure? Monitoring temps like this, actively and vigilantly? Do I have to sit at home staring at the thermometer for 36 hours to get it right?
Another question I have is, and this is purely historical, how did brewers ferment their beers (even in cool temps like in winter or in caves) and get good tasting beer (was it good tasting?) without temperature control? It would be stand to reason that the yeast should already, through natural selection and genetics, withstand the ups and downs of the first crucial days of fermentation.
I love brewing, and dedicated to making good beers, and I would appreciate any help here. and please forgive me for reiterating past queries and concerns. I’m hoping to get help with our concerns, not general concerns.