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Thread: Temperature Control

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
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    16

    Temperature Control

    I have been having issues during my primary fermentation as the weather where I live fluctuates terribly. In checking the temperature of my fermenter, it can vary from 62 degrees all the way up to around 70. Is there a way to control this without having to set my house at the same temp on both heating and air conditioning?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Welcome to the site, I hope it serves you well. First of all do you have a closet or room that doesn't have these wide fluctuations? When you say that the temp of your fermenter varies how do you measure it? It really takes a wide variance in ambient temp to move the temp of 5 gallons of liquid so much in one day. Even in my beer room the temp may go from 60-70 but the temp of my beer doesn't change much at all.
    BTW where are you located?
    Do you have room for a dedicated fermentation fridge that you could control with an external thermostat?
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Oatmeal Stout, ESB
    Primary:Imperial HoppyRoggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Sticke Alt

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    16
    First off, I'm located in Reno, NV. Our weather, especially right now, is so random (It snowed yesterday) that I have to change my thermostat almost daily. I do not have a fridge with temp control yet (planning on it soon) and my small house just doesn't have space for a second fridge inside. My fermenters sit inside my guest bedroom closet... I have a second fridge in the garage, but the temp in there is worse than inside. I have a Fermometer on the outside of my fermenter for temperature readings. I am fairly new to this (been brewing for about 2 months now) but I want to start having more quality control than I have...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    2,015
    50 qt Ice Cube cooler. Remove the lid. Buy a large sheet of foam insulation and cut squares a little bigger than the cooler with a hole in the middle for the airlock. Glue them together there's your lid. Fill it about 3/4 way with water after you put the fermenter in and add frozen soda bottles with water in them... how often you replace them and how many depends on your desired temp.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    6,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegobrew
    50 qt Ice Cube cooler. Remove the lid. Buy a large sheet of foam insulation and cut squares a little bigger than the cooler with a hole in the middle for the airlock. Glue them together there's your lid. Fill it about 3/4 way with water after you put the fermenter in and add frozen soda bottles with water in them... how often you replace them and how many depends on your desired temp.
    This is a great idea. I think that since his fermentation temps are already pretty low the water may be enough of a temperature buffer that he may not need any ice. If I could ferment effortlessly at 70F wort temp I'd be happy.
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Oatmeal Stout, ESB
    Primary:Imperial HoppyRoggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Sticke Alt

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,015
    Except it wasn't really mine. I saw it in Zymurgy magazine in the gadgets issue. I use a variation of it myself. I don't use the ice but I'm in Michigan. I thought he's joking about the snow in Reno so I mentioned the ice. lol

    BTW Corky, I kegged some of your Happy Wife yesterday and the sample was pretty darn good. It finished at 1.015... does that sound right?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    16
    I was serious about the snow the other day, and now it's about 75 degrees out. So this seems like a pretty solid idea. I appreciate the help, and I'm sure I'll be needing more as time goes on....

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    6,445
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegobrew

    BTW Corky, I kegged some of your Happy Wife yesterday and the sample was pretty darn good. It finished at 1.015... does that sound right?
    Yeah that's about right. It's supposed to have some body to it. My wife hates thin beer.
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Oatmeal Stout, ESB
    Primary:Imperial HoppyRoggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Sticke Alt

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    46

    Lucky to have a basement, but a little too warm?

    I just set an IPA on last night in the basement in the coolest corner. The good news is that it is constant, but I think it is just a little too high?? I did set the fermenters in big buckets and added a water jacket around them. I just don't have a cooler location. The water jacket is 72-73F. They will stay constant temp, but is it worth cooling them with some ice? I can't make it constant using that strategy. It will fluctuate. Is constant 72-73 better than attempting to bring it down transiently?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    2,015
    Quote Originally Posted by Pale Embiber
    I just set an IPA on last night in the basement in the coolest corner. The good news is that it is constant, but I think it is just a little too high?? I did set the fermenters in big buckets and added a water jacket around them. I just don't have a cooler location. The water jacket is 72-73F. They will stay constant temp, but is it worth cooling them with some ice? I can't make it constant using that strategy. It will fluctuate. Is constant 72-73 better than attempting to bring it down transiently?
    Completely depends on the yeast you use, the beer your fermenting, and whether your going for some esters from the upper range of the yeast tolerance, or a cleaner beer from the lower range. Both make great beer IMO, and what's easier or more doable for the brewer is, again, IMO, what you should do. My guess based on your other posts, is you used Wyeast 1056, which I would personally attempt to cool a little with the T-shirt trick in your big buckets. Any more than that would not be worth it IMO.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    46
    Thanks. After sitting another 24 hours, it has settled on just barely 70F. The yeast (correct guess on the Wyeast pack) is still perking carbon dioxide along continuously. Time to let it be and think about the next batch

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    346
    If you use 1056 often, you might wanna consider 1272 Am. Ale II during the summer. It emphasizes hop bitterness a bit more but it doesn't produce as much diactyl at higher temps. I've found 1056 is less clean above 67-68....
    It's like a chorus of angels riding whales through space.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    6,445
    For years I made good beer at room temp with no attempt at temp control. Then I got serious and started keeping my fermentations as cool as possible and started making great beer.
    It's always time for a beer

    On tap:Oatmeal Stout, ESB
    Primary:Imperial HoppyRoggenbier
    Bottled:2006 crabapple cider,Cherry Brett,Black Braggot,2 Prickly Pear Meads(1996 and 2006),Sour Pumpkin
    Lagering: Pecan Rauchbock
    Secondary: apple cider vinegar
    Next: Sticke Alt

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    460
    When you say "cool as possible" can you expound upon that. I may be fermenting too warm.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    46

    primary sitting in pool of water

    This is my first brew ever. And it is beginning to look like it may turn out well. The temperature is really stable now, about 69-70F. The water contacting the fermenter, with carboy in a big bucket sitting in that corner of the basement should help keep the temperature very stable. Bubble rate has dropped off to maybe one every 8 seconds (4th day), with a fresh hoppy wet bread dough aroma. mmmmm.

    I am taking Corky's advice and getting some 6.5g plastic fermentors. I see them at Midwest for under $15 including a grommeted port in the lid. I'll have a few more varieties on the way long before Thanksgiving!
    Last edited by Pale Embiber; 07-06-2011 at 08:53 AM.

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