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Fermentation Temp

Hey guys,

I have been working on perfecting my techniques as much as I can and the most difficult one for me seems to be controlling my fermentation temps. Unfortunately, this is one of the most critical techniques to master in order to make great beer so I am looking for some advice. Right now, I am trying evaporative cooling in this hot summer but I still am having trouble getting the temp down to anywhere under 70 degrees and keep it there. Part of the problem is I am not around enough to be able to tend to the fermenter as the cloth that is wrapping it cools.

I am wondering if there is anyone that can give me some good advice on any techniques that have worked well for you.

Also, I have looked at trying to find some kind of refrigerator that would be big enough to fit my carboy into that may not be too expensive. Any thoughts on good deals here?

All help is much appreciated. Thanks guys!

If you have room for a fridge or freezer I bet you could pick one up for almost nothing if you went looking for a used one. People are always trying to get rid of old fridges and freezers. Look in the paper, craigslist, etc. Or, probably better in the long run if you consider your energy bills, get a little chest freezer that is about 7.5-8 cubic feet. I have one that is about 7 C.F. and it holds two fermentation buckets perfectly. Get a temp. controller, and you are set. Make sure you have your fermenters to check that they will definitely fit.

I am lucky, my basement stays between high 50’s in the winter to mid 60’s in the summer. I got my freezer so I could ferment lagers whenever I want. You can pick new ones up for $180 or less if you watch home depot or look for damaged (scratched) models.

Try a swamp cooler for cheap and easy temp control. Fill it with water to the same level as the beer, then add ice to keep the temp in line. For inexpensive fridges, +1 to craigslist - you should be able to find one for less than $100 and you’ll need some sort of temp controller on it, which can be as cheap as $20 or so.

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103505&p=917359&hilit=swamp+cooler#p917359

I post this link so often I should just put it in a signature line.

+2 for Craigslist. I found one that holds 3 cornys and a bucket for $90.

This is what I use when my freezer is being used for lagers. I use a big storage bin. If you have a fermometer temperature strip on your carboy or bucket, be sure not to submerge it. I stuck mine a third of the way down and get the water level halfway up. I have 20 or so frozen water bottles I rotate in and out (I also use these for cooling down my wort). Ambient temps in my fermentation closet are easily high 70’s or 80*F nowadays. With this method, it’s no problem getting the temperature down to the low 60’s. Add the evaportive cooling with a shirt and fan and you can take 20-25 degrees off :wink:

google “son of fermentation chiller”.

mine use 2 ice jugs in the morning, 2 replacements at night. hook up in a loop the 12V supply, battery operated thermostat acts as a switch and computer fan does the rest. :cheers:

[quote=“Waszup”]google “son of fermentation chiller”.

mine use 2 ice jugs in the morning, 2 replacements at night. hook up in a loop the 12V supply, battery operated thermostat acts as a switch and computer fan does the rest. :cheers: [/quote]

No need to google, the link is in the thread that I linked to. :wink:

Just remember, the larger the thermal mass, the less you’ll have to regulate it. I start off by dumping everything in the ice maker into the tub then filling it to just below my fermometer. I normally wait until I get down in the low 60’s before pitching. Then swap out a few frozen 1 liter water bottles a couple times a day. Easy to keep it in the low 60’s even in a warm basement.

I know that temperature control during the primary fermentation is extremely important, does it matter as much after that if the temp rises? As in, if i transfer to a secondary for aging/clearing/bottling postponement and the temperature rises to ~80-90F, will there be issues?

Thanks!

[quote=“althiels”]As in, if i transfer to a secondary for aging/clearing/bottling postponement and the temperature rises to ~80-90F, will there be issues?[/quote]Shouldn’t be a problem.

I generally go a week or 10 days at the lower fermentation temps and let the primary finish up at room temps, lower 70’s in my basement

+1. Start ferment temps low and then raise them up at the end.

[quote=“Nighthawk”][quote=“Waszup”]google “son of fermentation chiller”.

mine use 2 ice jugs in the morning, 2 replacements at night. hook up in a loop the 12V supply, battery operated thermostat acts as a switch and computer fan does the rest. :cheers: [/quote]

No need to google, the link is in the thread that I linked to. :wink: [/quote]

Yes i see it. Thos pictures look familar, i’ve seen them on these forums, probably where i’ve got the idea to build one.

I do want to add that the Ken’s instructions refer to finding a thermostat that matches your power supply. That’s no longer neccesary with battery powered thermostats. you just got to make sure your batteries never run out. :cry: I’ve had my batteries in for over a year without failing so it’s a minor concern. i swap them out when doing the smoke alarms.

you only have to match your fan power requrement to the power supply output.

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