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Sdowscooby

Newbie Temp Question

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I am preparing to brew my first batch soon. I live in southern Arizona and have an evaporative cooler on my house. It is real hard for me to control temperature. I have read many post about using an ice chest with frozen water bottle. I have done several test to figure out how much ice to use. It seems like the closest I can get to stated ideal temps is low of 63 and high of 75. If I put in less ice, the high temp goes up before I get home from work. More ice means lower starting temps. Will these temps work or do I need to figure something else out? My first batch is west coast pale ale.

Thanks.

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[attachment=8273]Igloo.jpg[/attachment]
Sdowscooby~

Just want to clarify...because what you are saying seems disjointed.

You mention the advice regarding frozen waterbottles, but then you follow it up by talking about ice.

Ice cubes...due to the small surface mass would be inclined to melt quicker than a single solid frozen bottle.

============

I highly advise you to look into try to get a little more steady regulation of the temps. For example, make sure that you replace the frozen bottles before you leave from work, once you arrive home from work, and then again before you go to bed.

If you do that and you are still getting a shift of 12 degrees in temp...then you're in bad shape. Tiny temp shifts...a couple degrees...may not affect the beast/yeast...but a full 12 degree shift is gonna do a doozie on it.

============

Do you have or can you get one of those large igloo coolers? See picture below. Fill this with 3 or 4 large (say 1L size) frozen water bottles and try replacing them as I suggested...before work, once you arrive home from work, and then before going to bed. See how that holds up to being more steady.

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http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/ice/andcooling.html

Note this example...the study will find that the crushed ice will cool faster...but it will also melt faster. The large cube of ice has all that "energy in one large mass...therefore it takes longer to melt than a bunch of smaller pieces. And again, the goal is not to spike the temperatures...but moreso to provide a longer cooling...not a faster cooling.

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FedoraDave (Uber) posted this back on January 5....please read...muy importante:

http://community.mrbeer.com/forum/8-new-brewers-and-faqs/215046-temp-question#215239

While temperature control can be an issue, there are a couple of things we, as homebrewers, should keep in mind.

First, we're homebrewers. This means we're brewing at home, not in a facility specifically designed for brewing, with precise mechanical temperature control for the fermentation process. We're kind of stuck with what we have on hand, or are willing to spend to achieve more control. It's relatively simple to get a refrigerator and a Johnson controller, yes, but that involves budgeting for it, not to mention the space considerations for a major appliance. Having this set-up would be ideal, but it's not always feasible, nor is it strictly necessary.

Second, all yeast works within a range of temperature. The manufacturer provides an optimum range, usually around a ten degree swing (65 - 75, e.g.). This is optimum, remember. This range will give the best results. A few degrees higher or lower will not kill the beer. Higher temps may result in some off-flavors, but even some of those are not unpleasant, and can actually enhance a beer, if you like fruity or flowery esters in that recipe. Lower temps may just slow down the fermentation process, and nobody likes to wait, including me.

Third, temperature fluctuations are more crucial than temperature itself, IMO. And depending on when they occur, they can make or break a beer. Fermenting in the high 60s/low 70s (within three or four degrees) is less of a problem for me than having a severe spike of over five degrees on the second and third day of primary fermentation. Even a similar spike a week into fermentation doesn't worry me as much as the early spike.

Fourth, in general, the lower end of the fermentation range is better, since the worst that can happen is the yeast slows down, and you have to wait longer. You won't be stressing the yeast or killing it, both of which can cause off-flavors you might not intend or appreciate.

Finally, finding the right area of the home in which to ferment is important, because we want our beer to be the best it can be. And there are ways to try to regulate the temperature, as have been noted throughout this thread. We should use whatever means we have to do so, be they mechanically controlled chambers or ice bottles and a cooler.

But we should also remember to Relax. Don't worry. Have a home brew.

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I was successful in using water bottles to keep my recent batch just under 70. But, we're about to get a heat wave. I am more than 2 weeks into fermentation and things have nearly stopped. Do I still have to be vigilant about the temperature or am I out of the woods now?

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Fee~

You should be good by now. I think that if temperatures rise a bit...you probably don't have more than 3 or 4 days remaining anyway...you'll be in bottles soon.

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After reading your comments about a johnson controller I did a little research. I have a mini fridge that I am not using. I can easily fit a couple lbk's in it. If I have to buy a new cooler, I might as well by a controller for the fridge an make my life easier. Does any one have a suggestion on a model number of a controller. There are a bunch of different versions available.

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Bottling the stout tomorrow when the heat wave is over. It's getting to 100 in NYC today, so I have the thing surrounded by ice bottles. I didn't want to bottle during a heat wave and start the carbing/conditioning in the 80s.

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"Fee" post=269870 said:

Bottling the stout tomorrow when the heat wave is over. It's getting to 100 in NYC today, so I have the thing surrounded by ice bottles. I didn't want to bottle during a heat wave and start the carbing/conditioning in the 80s.


I have been using 2 igloo coolers with either 64 oz juice bottles filled with water (these are a little heavier in thickness so they don't crack or break down as fast as regular water bottles do) or 2 litre soda bottles and they seem to stay frozen for a little over a day here in Arid-zona where the highs are around 110+ but the humidity is around 6%-10%...But it's a DRY heat. Good luck & Hoppy Brewing y'all.

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"Sdowscooby" post=269450 said:

I am preparing to brew my first batch soon. I live in southern Arizona and have an evaporative cooler on my house. It is real hard for me to control temperature. I have read many post about using an ice chest with frozen water bottle. I have done several test to figure out how much ice to use. It seems like the closest I can get to stated ideal temps is low of 63 and high of 75. If I put in less ice, the high temp goes up before I get home from work. More ice means lower starting temps. Will these temps work or do I need to figure something else out? My first batch is west coast pale ale.

Thanks.

Sdowscooby,
I second the recomendation of using water bottles instead of ice cubes. Also, are you testing the temperature using a LBK with 2 gallons of water that is placed in the Igloo cooler, or are you using an empty cooler for your test runs. I would definitely use a LBK with water, since it will act to buffer the temperature fluctuations a bit and your test run will be closer to the real thing.

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I decided not to mess with coolers and frozen bottles. I bought a johnson controller and hooked it to a mini fridge. I need to know what temps to set it at. What should my high and low temps be during fermentation? I am brewing west coast pale ale.

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I set mine for 68. Set the delta to 2. Compressor starts at 68 runs until temp drops to 66. Might have to tinker with the setting and the delta to get the chamber at the desired temp. There may be a degree of under shoot until the coils warm.
Set the fridge temp control for max.

I place my probe suspended in the air near the kegs. As you can read on another thread others place the probe in water. What ever method works best for you...

Really great a new brewer is moving ahead with advanced methods.
I brewed for half of last summer with coolers and frozen bottles. I had 3 kegs going.
A real PIA. The controller made the brew life easy and less chance of errors. Set it and forget it.

Your first brew will surely be better then mine. Try to let it work for 21 days. Bottle and age for 4 weeks. Test one at 3 weeks. Long wait but the beer will turn out great.

Welcome to the hobby, you will have a HB in a bit over a month..
RR

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