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Temperature of Secondary

Does the temperature of my secondary matter?

Living in Minneapolis requires me to stage most fermentations somewhere other than the basement in the winter…but once I am in secondary, will the beer continue to finish up and mature in a secondary sitting at 50 some degrees in the cold basement vs. 68 degree main floor?

My experience… I brew ales and I try and keep secondary at about the lower end of the yeast viability range. Lower temps reduce yeast activity and will aide in fall out, but that will happen naturally when the fermentables are near gone.

The one batch I did where I let temps get too high (low 70’s) turned out not so good. That was a summer brew, and I’ve since learned to use a “swamp cooler” to keep the temps in the low 60’s.

If you have to store in the 50 some range, maybe keep it off the floor and wrap the bucket to insulate it. There are also heater belts that may help you regulate the temps better - I have no experience with them, I just know they exist.

Thanks…!

Can you elaborate on the swamp cooler?

Depends on what you mean by “secondary” - if you’re racking to a carboy and dry-hopping for a week or two, then bottling/kegging, 68F is a good temp, but if you’re going for long-term storage for bulk-aging, then going a little cooler is good.

[quote=“HaleBrewer”]Thanks…!

Can you elaborate on the swamp cooler?[/quote]

Sure! You can search the forums for other ideas but… I fill a large rubbermaid bucket, large enough to hold my fermenting bucket, with cold tap water to just above mid-way up the fermenter. The water stays a fairly constant temperature (for me about 60 degrees) and keeps my fermenting temps in the mid 60s. I only need my swamp cooler July through mid September here in NJ…

If you can’t keep the water temp low enough you can add frozen water bottles to the rubbermaid bucket, and soak an old towel in cold water and cover the fermenter (which I haven’t done, but I’ve read some folks in Florida have had good results)… you may not want to cover the ferm lock though.

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