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Hot Climate - Fermentation

Hello,

I just ordered the deluxe equipment brew kit and a couple extract kits. I mainly plan on brewing ales, I ordered an Irish Red Ale and the White House Honey Ale. I think I’ll be ok aslong as I don’t try brewing lagers.

I live in Fresno, Ca and our climate is quite warm. For the last two weeks I’ve had to run my AC day and night. I keep my house at 78 degrees and I read somewhere that ales should be fermented at a maximum of 74 degrees. Will keeping my house at 78 will be a problem? Should I store my wort in my crawlspace?

Gabriel

In my mind, that is way too warm to make anything I would want to drink.

Google up ‘swamp chiller homebrew’, or if you’ve got some cash to blow, find a small chest freezer or fridge on Craigs list, and look on Nighthawk’s signature for a build of a temp controller (and other options)

memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=6031

People just starting out never believe this, but controlling temperatures will make one of the biggest, if not the biggest difference in making drinkable beer.

Thanks for using me as a reference Pietro. I’ve been trying to set up a Google page with more information referenced because you can only have 5 links in your signature line.

I am thinking about hijacking the links into my own signature at this point!

If my indoor temp is 78. How good would doing the towel wrap with frozen water bottles be? Or should a build a son of a swamp cooler?

Gabriel

BTW I plan to use a wort chiller.

[quote=“Esclavosoy”]If my indoor temp is 78. How good would doing the towel wrap with frozen water bottles be? Or should a build a son of a swamp cooler?

Gabriel[/quote]

If the frozen water bottles were in a water bath along with the fermenter, I think that would likely get it down to the mid-hi 60’s, though you need to make sure to change them out (probably in the mornings and when you get home from work, assuming you are a 9-5ish’er)

The only issue you are going to have with the wort chiller is your ground water temp. If you haven’t measured it, do so. Immersion chillers probably wont’ be able to get it much cooler than 10* or so above groundwater temp, at least not without a serious time investment. I’m guessing in your hot climate, ground water isn’t much below 75-80 unless you are getting it from a well. Here’s what I would do:

Use your immersion chiller to get it down to 80-90*. RAck to your fermenter. Then put the whole fermenter into a tub half of 75%ice/25%water. Let that bring it down the rest of the way over some time. After you pitch, you need to monitor temperature (of the beer, not the air). Ideally, for an ale pail/carboy setup, you can grab a $1.29 temperature strip that sticks to the outside of the vessel. If you have a LHBS, grab one of these. Once you pitch your yeast, you need to figure out a way to monitor the beer temp. Your way of regulating it, as you say, will be the water bath, frozen soda bottles, and towels.

This all seems like a huge PITA, but it will be worth it. The majority of bad homebrewed beers I taste either have inadequate sanitation, incomplete fermentation, or, most commonly, people who don’t care about maintaining ferment temps.

All of the info above is good. I use an ice bath and a submersible pump to recirculate ice water through my wort chiller. I do this after my ground water chills the wort to 110 or so. This brings the wort down to about 70-74 with ice from 3 milk jugs (I’m cheep.) More ice would be more efficient. You can also let the beer chill overnight in the swamp cooler and make a yeast starter to get the yeast going. You need pitch below 70 for just about any style.

Saison is a great style for hot summer brewing. Most of the saison yeasts can make beer at temps below 80, and WLP 565 can make beer at 90 degrees, but it can be a slow fermenter even at those temps. WLP 530 makes a nice Belgian style blond when you ferment it in the 70s. All of these yeasts should spend a couple of days at 65-68 to start out with though. You still need to have some temperature control when you pitch the yeast. The wyeast equivalents of these yeasts are fine too.

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