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Too redneck?

Ok so I have been trying to figure out a way to ferment at lower temps. I have come up with what I think is genius. I took my old 7 day igloo cooler that had the lid broke off. (was going to buy a new one any way) I cut the lid 1/3 way down and sealed the 2/3 section to the cooler. I places a square stand in the bottom to keep the carboy off the bottom and off the ice. This way I will have a pocket of air between ice and carboy. I added an old digital thermostat to monitor the temp. The top section opens and comes off. You only have to tilt the carboy a few degrees to set it in the cooler.I positioned the cooler drain at the top so i can open it to avoid pressurizing the cooler. I have been able to get the temp down to 59 degrees from 67 in about 15 min with 4" of ice in the bottom. I think if i monitor it close during the critical first 5-7 days i may solve my cold fermenting problem. I only have one fridge in the garage, so this cold double my batches.

Temps here are 70+ and the beire de garde with Saflager S-23 says it should be fermented at 51-59 deg. but the recipe kits says 58-68 that is a big discrepancy. SO which do I follow?

Here are some pics, what do you think?

Additional photo…

Nice design! Great job using the old thinker to come up with a solution. You may try frozen bottles instead of ice, though. Less of a mess to clean.

I think the intent of the recipe is to ferment at the upper range, possibly over the stated range of the yeast like in a California Common or steam beer. Ferment at the low end of ale temps. Say about 58-60*F. Do you have a way to lager this beer after fermentation?

Could work but will more than likely require a lot of monitoring to keep the temp constant. Remember that consistency of the temp is just as important as the actual temp for yeast. I did this a while back with a tub and some frozen water buckets and it got pretty annoying two weeks into my lager fermentation which is just about ready to bottle so I don’t really know how it turned out yet.

I say go for it though. Homebrewing is all about tossing together ridiculous contraptions to avoid having to spend money.

[quote=“mvsawyer”]Nice design! Great job using the old thinker to come up with a solution. You may try frozen bottles instead of ice, though. Less of a mess to clean.

I think the intent of the recipe is to ferment at the upper range, possibly over the stated range of the yeast like in a California Common or steam beer. Ferment at the low end of ale temps. Say about 58-60*F. Do you have a way to lager this beer after fermentation?[/quote]

Im new to everything, what exactly is lagering?

If you’re putting all of the ice at the bottom, it seems possible that you will end up with very uneven temps from the bottom of the carboy to the top. Might be worth testing by putting a thermometer on the stand a the bottom and see how that compares with the thermostat at the top.

If there’s a huge difference, an old computer fan might help distribute the air better, or maybe you can come up with a way to hang bags of ice or frozen water bottles along the sides and top of the inside of cooler.

Then again, maybe that much uniformity isn’t a big deal? Fermentation might help keep things even inside the beer which is probably all that matters anyway.

[quote=“EagleRising”][quote=“mvsawyer”]Nice design! Great job using the old thinker to come up with a solution. You may try frozen bottles instead of ice, though. Less of a mess to clean.

I think the intent of the recipe is to ferment at the upper range, possibly over the stated range of the yeast like in a California Common or steam beer. Ferment at the low end of ale temps. Say about 58-60*F. Do you have a way to lager this beer after fermentation?[/quote]

Im new to everything, what exactly is lagering?[/quote]
Cold storage. We brewers like to use words that aren’t common to sound important. :wink:
Beer in the refrigerator is beer that is being lagered. I just asked because I’m sure that a week or two of cold storage (lagering) will probably do this beer some good.

:cheers:

Back in the day, before electricity, “ice” boxes had the ice on top rather than bottom. Reason, cold air sinks and displaces warmer air. You will get more-even temps if you create a “redneck” solution that has ice-jugs-bottles at the top.

git-er-done.

cheers.

or you could just put the cooler on the ground, like normal. then fill it with water, and regulate the water temp. rather than regulating the air temp. called a ‘swamp cooler’

A more practical and economical approach, I’m sure. The liquid will maintain the temperature better than the air will.

Not redneck at all.

I made a couple of lagers with a 56qt cooler in a similar fashion. The carboy fit a little snugger. I liked to use the rectangular apple/cranberry juice containers to make ice. They stored nicely on the “shoulder” of the carboy.

For extra cooling in the “lager” phase, I used 20oz soda bottles around the bottom.

STATUS UPDATE:

This contraption I made has maintained a very consistent temperature. I know someone said I wouldnt be able to keep it at a consistent temp but FYI I can keep it a 56* for 5 days before having to add ice.

That rocks, man!

Yes, nice job thinking outside the box, cooler. :wink:

I figured I could go 2 days during active fermentation with 2 jugs. But I liked to change them out daily just in case something happened and I wasn’t able to change them out.

I also found a couple of o-rings could go around a dial thermometer and then into the drain spout to keep an eye on the temps.

:cheers:

I love to see innovation and that will cost much less to acquire and operate than an electric lager chest!

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