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leftcoastcanesfan

Warm Weather Brewing

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I am relatively new to home brewing. Living in the desert area of Southeast California, it is sometimes difficult to maintain the ideal fermentation temperature for my Mr. Beer system. Is there any type of beer that will tolerate above ideal fermentation temps? Are there any other tips for brewing in a hot climate?

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If you're using a LBK, put it in a cooler and keep a frozen water bottle perched on top of it. Change it out in the morning and evening.

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There are a lot of posts on the forum on this very topic.  For each environment, you'll find the right number and size of frozen water bottles to rotate, at peak fermentation you'll need more, later on you'll use less.  Shoot to maintain a 65 degree wort temp (not air temp).

 

You can also build (or buy) a temperature controller for a fridge or freezer.

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Or just make saisons...

 

Or Belgians...

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There are a lot of posts on the forum on this very topic.  For each environment, you'll find the right number and size of frozen water bottles to rotate, at peak fermentation you'll need more, later on you'll use less.  Shoot to maintain a 65 degree wort temp (not air temp).

 

You can also build (or buy) a temperature controller for a fridge or freezer.

Don't let this intimidate you. I was shocked how cheap it was to buy a freezer and a temp controller. The freezer I bought for my fermentation chamber was $75; the one I bought a year ago (for food) I only paid $50. Search local classifieds or CraigsList. The bigger problem for me was convincing my wife that we "needed" a fermentation chamber, hahaha.

The temp controller I bought was $70 new, but I am sure you could find a used one for much less.

With all that said: You definitely do not "need" to do this to make great beer. I swapped ice packs in my laundry room sink twice a day for 2 brews and they came out great! I am just lazy........

Brew On!!!

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If you are thinking about temp control fermentation chambers check out youtube all kinds of info on how to build and control fermentation temps.

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I too was concerned about the temps.  I live in Maryland which is not too bad with warm temps, however I have the 8LX system, kinda hard to put that into a small refrig unit.  I currently have it in my closet hoping it will be okay there.  Any other suggestions on a "cooling" system??

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Cooler standing up, full-sized frig/freezer with controller, chest freezer with controller.

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Cooler standing up, full-sized frig/freezer with controller, chest freezer with controller.

Duh ... aren't I the dumb one............

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I've recently bought a cool-brewing fermentation bag, from more beer . It's basically a soft sided insulated cooler. It seems to work pretty good for me, and is big enough for a 6G fermenter or my BD LBC and MB LBK.

Wow !!  That is great Tony.  Thank you !! 

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Nice idea but not cheap. It would also work well for small kegs when used outside.

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Where ever they will fit.  I'm using a carboy in a cooler on its end and I stick the waterbottles on top of the carboy

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oh ok -- wasnt sure  -- seen where someone said they were putting on top of the LBK .. thank you... and change the bottles every 12 hours or so?

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I just change before and after work.  I use more bottles in the first 3 days and less after that.

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monitor you temps if you can. For me 1 2L bottle works fine in the beginning.  Then I switch to 1L bottles.  A lot of it has to do with how much empty space is inside the cooler and how hot the room is.

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ok.. 1 more question and i will stop .. lol -- when the recipe says to "put the keg in a location with a consistent temperature of 65-75 degrees" they are NOT talking about room temperature, they are talking about temperature inside keg??

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So I just bought a Colman Xtreme 150 quart cooler and a digital thermometer. This beast is huge but holds two LBKs perfectly with plenty of room to spare for frozen water bottles. Now to spend the next few days figuring out how many frozen water bottles it takes to maintain a nice, constant 65 degrees. The coolers specifications says it will keep ice for five days with ambient temperature at 90 degrees but, I know during active fermentation the tempreature will generate heat. Once I come up with a game plan I get to brew the BOGO Wild Wheat I ordered, which conveniently arrived in the mail today.

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Coolers will keep a solid block of ice frozen for 5 days if the entire cooler is ice.  If you put 2 LBKs in your freezer then I would suggest 1 frozen 2L bottle (maybe an additional 1 liter bottle the first day).  If you are just doing a single LBK then perhaps 2 x 2L bottles in the beginning.

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I'm going with two LBKs since I ordered a second with the Wild Wheat. This way I get to do five gallon batches and double my pipeline.

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I put the temperature probe inside the cooler and let it sit in my basement with nothing inside for the past two hours. It's sitting at 72F. I'm freezing a 2L and a 1L water bottle now. I'll use the next couple days with the frozen bottles to get a better handle on temps.

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Remember air temp is not wort temp, and with wort generating heat you need more bottles than with water doing nothing.

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Remember air temp is not wort temp, and with wort generating heat you need more bottles than with water doing nothing.

Tape the thermometer probe to the flat side of the LBK with a folded paper towel as insulation, right? I could pre-cool the Colman cooler then add more frozen water bottles as needed. Brew day I'm off so I can monitor the tempreature and adjust as needed.

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I use a folded rag, but yes.

Heat is generated on day 2 to maybe 5 or so.

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I bought a mini fridge off craigslist for 30 bucks and a temperature controller for 70. I can fit two LBKs in it at the same time. I use it to lager at lower temps or just to ferment ales at a constant temp. In the summer even the basement temp fluctuates. Just set it and forget it for two weeks, it's great. And if you plan to keep home brewing (you will) it's a great investment.

I like using the LBKs because I like to brew lots of varieties. If I need a lot of something I just use a couple LBKs instead of buying the big boy. But who knows, I might break down someday and get one.

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During the night without any ice packs the tempreature inside the cooler dropped to 66 degrees. I put one 2L frozen water bottle in and it dropped to 51 degrees. Wonder if I can get away without ice bottles during the night after active fermentation is done.

Edit: Cooler is down to 48 degrees now. Later today I'm going to try an experiment by placing two 2 gallon milk jugs with water heated to 80 degrees in the cooler and see what the temps do.

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During the night without any ice packs the tempreature inside the cooler dropped to 66 degrees. I put one 2L frozen water bottle in and it dropped to 51 degrees. Wonder if I can get away without ice bottles during the night after active fermentation is done.

Edit: Cooler is down to 48 degrees now. Later today I'm going to try an experiment by placing two 2 gallon milk jugs with water heated to 80 degrees in the cooler and see what the temps do.

 

well, what happened?

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well -- just started a batch last night -- put in a G bottle of ice... wort temp to start was 78F .. this morning i woke up, checked it.. its at 70, but the air just above the wort is at 66... so i changed out the G for 2 2L bottles of ice -- will check after work. 

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I use a $10 reptile tank thermometer. I fed the probe and cable through the drain hop of the cooler and then taped up the hole. I tape the probe to the LBK with insulating foam over it. Using icepacks, sometimes I only change once a day.

 

cooler temp

cooler with LBK - thermometer probe and icepacks

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