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Yup, I need temp control

I have been letting my carboys sit in my basement for fermentation, the warmest the temp sticker on the outside of the carboy has ever gotten was 72. I realize this means my beer was very much pushing the temp range of my typical US-05 yeast. I brewed up a batch of Lakefront Bridge Burner this weekend, came out at 1.100 so I pitched two packs of yeast. Thankfully it’s been getting cooler (which typically results in a standard temp in basement of 65, hence 3/4 of year I’m ok) so when I left for work this morning, it was merrily bubbling away at just under 70 degrees. No problems, things should be good. . .

Got home from work this evening and checked on it, steady bubbling which is a good sign, 76-78 temp on sticker. . . :oops:


I try to keep it simple. When the basement warms up I brew with Belgian yeast they like it warmer. Also at what temp did you pitch? If you pitch cooler it probably won’t ramp up as much. There are others more knowledgeable that can give you better advice but that has been my experience.

I use a swamp cooler for everything. It’s one of those blue xtreme cube coolers.

I put 4-5 gals of water in it and ales generally get 2 frozen 12 oz water bottles rotated in twice a day. That keeps it 63-64 with ambient temp of 68-70.

For lagers I do 2 frozen 1 1/2L bottles twice a day and can usually keep it around 54-56.

I’ve recently started fermenting my ales under my house. The space under it is fully enclosed by a concrete stemwall, and about 30" of the 42" stemwall is underground, so it stays between 58 and 63 degrees all summer long. I can typically keep wort temperatures at about 61-62 degrees or so. It’s made a BIG difference in how my beers have turned out as opposed to the wet towel/water bath routine I used previously.

For lagers I have a 10 cubic foot temp controlled freezer for fermenting and lagering. In the wintertime it’ll probably be cold enough to lager under the house.

I’ve used a swamp cooler and it works. The only problem is it increases the humidity in my basement which I control with a humidifier which runs up my electric bill. Hopefully over the winter I will build a fermentation closet in my cellar so that I can control the temps more efficiently. Somebody gave me one of those floor style A/C / heat pumps which I’m hoping to use for it. Hopefully that will be a more efficient system.

[quote] Question is, if it ramped up over the course of the day today, how much potential damage did I do?
Esters can develop more with excessive temps AND sudden drops in temp. Sudden drops can also cause the yeast to poop out leading to diacetyl, stuck fermentation and other unfavorables. Only taste and time will tell if anything happened. I suspect you’ll notice, but no harm in giving it some time.

Is it a portable AC unit? If so they must be vented for AC as the produce hot air on the outlet side.

Yes it is a portable. It also heats and dehumidifies. I plan on venting it out a small window in the wall.

That will work. I just know people didn’t understand that and wondered why they weren’t working. :roll:

Once I redo the kitchen I’m going to build a 6’ x 6’ room in my basement that will be to walk-in fridge specs. That way I can use it both as a ferm chamber as well as a lagering fridge.

It’s been holding steady at 65 since I set the swamp cooler up Monday evening. The bubbles are starting to slow down so I think I’m getting passed the vigorous fermentation point. Originally I was planning to let it sit in primary for two weeks and then transfer to secondary for a month or so of conditioning and eventually dry hopping. Given that I let the temp get too high, would it be beneficial to leave it in primary longer than two weeks and see if the yeast will clean up any potential off flavors that may have been created?


-chest freezer off of craigs list: $40-$80
-DIY temp controller: $20 (or $80 for a wired one)
-heating element: free if you have an extension cord and light bulb or small space heater ($20)
-excellent beer that you made: priceless

Honestly its one of the best investment you can make. Set it and forget it. Temp control and proper yeast management are two of the biggest steps you can make in making better beer.

This is exactly the first thing I tell people when they talk about getting into brewing. The finest ingredients and the best techniques don’t matter if you can’t control the temps that produce the final product.

To your question OP, some will say you can leave it longer and some off flavors (not all, though) may go down a little. Others will say there’s nothing you can do about some of the flavors produced during a warmer fermentation. I don’t really have much experience with this personally so I can’t really give you a yes or no to your question.

I would just measure the gravity over the course of a few days after you think fermentation is done or it’s been long enough. If it’s done fermenting (according to the gravity measurement), rack to the secondary and dry hop and leave it alone. Then I’d say leave it to your taste buds after that.

I actually already have the analog Johnson temp controller from back when I started with Mr. Beer and wanted to make an Oktoberfest. I set it up on my old college dorm fridge and it worked like a champ for that tiny little 2.5 gallon keg. Sadly, a 6.5 gallon carboy with blowoff tube doesn’t fit inside said dorm fridge. :wink:


Temperature control IS part of yeast management. I’d agree with you, but don’t think you take it far enough. Proper brewing is all about setting up conditions properly so the yeast (not you) create great beer.

What is that quote? “The yeast made the beer, you held a spoon”.

Check out my fermentation chamber on the other post. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=123185 I can tell you it’s the most bang for a buck item in my brewery. About $50 bucks (plus the temp controller)…since I used an old dorm fridge that would have been headed for the dump anyway. It stays steady at 70º even in the hottest weather and in winter I add a small ceramic heater. It holds 3 carboys and will even hold my new Spiedel 16 gal fermentor and a carboy.

An old refrigerator makes a great ferm chamber. You can see my build here: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=120252

One nice thing about a fridge is they’re already insulated really well. You don’t have to worry a whole lot about temp loss. As long as the seal around the door is good. If not, weather stripping is cheap.
My fridge is in the garage and I can lager at 33 all summer long when it’s 100+ outside.

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