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Nightwulf1974

Temperature rise during primary fermentation

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Hey all,

 

Underway with my new batch (Irish Stout) and just need some clarification.  I'm about 26 hours in and have a giant volcano brewing inside the LBK, nearing the lid as we speak.  The temperature hasn't really budged at all, maybe 1 degree at most during this time.  The WORT temps at the time of putting my LBK into fermentation were reading 62F and I am only seeing around 63F at this moment.  I keep reading about the temperature increases that could be anywhere from 5 degrees to even 8 degrees if I remember right from what I have read during active fermentation.

 

Question:

 

Does the temperature during this high Krausen stage ALWAYS lead to such temperature increases such as anything over 5 degrees, or can it also be a minor shift?  Is it dependent on the type of brew as well, etc.?

 

BTW, I'm reading all kinds of threads on everything so I'm doing my best to find information before asking, but these threads can become very long and information can get buried...

 

Thanks again!

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Is that wort or air temp (we're referring to wort temp)? No not always, it will always increase but 8-10f is the MOST it'll go not the average.

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I should have been more clear, the temps are the WORT temp, via the adhesive thermometer below the Krausen line.  I don't know what the ambient temps are in the closet I am doing this in, but it's much cooler than the house which is set at 70F. 

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There's a lot of variability as to how much the temp increases during active fermentation. Last time I brewed I made 2 batches the same day and put them in the basement where it's 66 degrees. On day 2 one batch was at 68 and the other was at 76.

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Is your thermometer below the krausen line or the liquid line? Your post said krausen line but you want it below the liquid line.

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The batch of Winter Dark that I'm currently brewing 'blew out' the lid of my LBK in less than 24 hours, however, the temp only fluctuated by 1.5f.

 

5-8f is an average increase, not all fermentations will reach that.

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I failed to clarify that as well, sorry.  My thermometer strip is below the liquid line.  FWIW, since my original posting, it has gone up another full degree or so, and the wort temp is now at around 64F/65F.  I put a bunch of paper towels around the LBK just in case I 'blow out' the lid on mine, because this Irish Stout is going bananas inside there bubbling like mad and it has literally covered the entire inside in just a few hours.  Those yeast are insane.  :o

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You've got some happy little yeasties. I sometimes like to speak words of encouragement to them. Sometimes thank them for all of their hard work, after all, they are slaving away for my benefit! :rolleyes:

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I will thank them, but not with my wife hovering around.  I don't need her thinking I am now obsessed with yet another hobby, because I will refuse to ever admit that she's in fact right, and I won't give her that pleasure. 

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Another way to measure temperatures would be to purchase a digital thermometer with a probe. Similar to this one and tape the probe to the flat, non spigot side, insulated from ambient air with a washcloth or dish towel. This should give you a good representation of wort temperatures without modifying your LBK.

 

I also bought a Coleman cooler to put my LBK's in and rotate frozen ice bottles to maintain a temperature of 64-65 degrees during fermentation. During primary fermentation I rotate the ice bottles every 24 hours. During secondary fermentation I only rotate as needed. In my opinion the last four batches I've brewed were much better than the first three. 

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I'll probably get a digital thermometer for each keg eventually, but starting with a cheaper setup and these adhesive strips seem to get me in the ballpark for now.  I'm lucky that I have a nice cool closet where at least now in the winter I will have no issue keeping the temps within an acceptable range.  I'll continue modifying my setup as I go, but for now I'm using the KISS method and also the method that keeps my wife from nagging me for dipping into the checking account too much just so I can drink LOL!

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I normally brew five gallon batches split between two LBK's in my cooler. I have one thermometer taped to one LBK and use that as my control since its all the same brew. I picked my thermometer up at Walmart for eight dollars. The one I linked was just an example. 

 

Biggest investment I've made to date is purchasing an eight gallon brew pot. My next step is to purchase a six gallon glass carboy and brew six gallon batches. If I ever get my buddy into home brewing I'll sell him what I have and then upgrade for10 gallon batches and a kegging system. 

 

The rest of my process is along the KISS method, using what I have/had on hand to brew my beer. So far it's working but I'm never satisfied and always want bigger and better. 

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8 hours ago, sabres032 said:

I normally brew five gallon batches split between two LBK's in my cooler. I have one thermometer taped to one LBK and use that as my control since its all the same brew. I picked my thermometer up at Walmart for eight dollars. The one I linked was just an example. 

 

Biggest investment I've made to date is purchasing an eight gallon brew pot. My next step is to purchase a six gallon glass carboy and brew six gallon batches. If I ever get my buddy into home brewing I'll sell him what I have and then upgrade for10 gallon batches and a kegging system. 

 

The rest of my process is along the KISS method, using what I have/had on hand to brew my beer. So far it's working but I'm never satisfied and always want bigger and better. 

I'm already looking into a bigger system and I haven't even drank my first batch.  The way I see it, is if I'm wating 7-8 weeks to drink anything, I may as well be brewing more.  I live in Portland, OR so fortunately I have access to anything and everthing that involves brewing.  After a couple batches I'm definitely going bigger. 

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If you go with three LBK's then you have one coming up every week on a three week fermentation schedule. Many will condition in 3 weeks as well, some even faster, so you can have something new pretty much every week if you plan your brew schedule accordingly.

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Remember that temperature control is very important.  Size matters (cough), but if you cannot control the temperature of the fermenter, or can't cold crash it if you want to, that's not good.  It's more important how you use it...

 

Also remember that the bigger it is, the heavier it is.  Many people brew in the kitchen and then carry the filled fermenter somewhere, often the basement.  At 8 pounds a gallon, 5 gallons - plus the weight of a fermenter - can be quite heavy.

 

I use the Mr. Beer fermenters for both of these reasons - I can fit 7 of them if I wanted to in my fermentation freezer, I can fit two in my beer frig for cold crashing (if I don't want to cold crash in the fermentation freezer), and they hold 2.5 gallons when full - so they don't hurt my back.  

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1 minute ago, RickBeer said:

Remember that temperature control is very important.  Size matters (cough), but if you cannot control the temperature of the fermenter, or can't cold crash it if you want to, that's not good.  It's more important how you use it...

 

Also remember that the bigger it is, the heavier it is.  Many people brew in the kitchen and then carry the filled fermenter somewhere, often the basement.  At 8 pounds a gallon, 5 gallons - plus the weight of a fermenter - can be quite heavy.

 

I use the Mr. Beer fermenters for both of these reasons - I can fit 7 of them if I wanted to in my fermentation freezer, I can fit two in my beer frig for cold crashing (if I don't want to cold crash in the fermentation freezer), and they hold 2.5 gallons when full - so they don't hurt my back.  

Very valid points.  I may even just stock up on LBK's as you have said.  A plus to doing that is I'm not limited to drinking the same 5 gallon batch of beer and can have different varieties in smaller 2 gallon batches.  Temperature control at least during these months is not an issue, but I haven't had to battle the summer temps and will obviously need to invest in a cooler as I don't have a basement.  A/C during the summer only will help, but I will need additional cooling to keep wort at around 65F. 

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Right.  This time of year you can often find great deals at retailers liquidating their Christmas inventory of gifts - including Mr. Beer.

 

In addition, Craigslist is a great source - either gift recipients that don't want the gift and are too lazy to return it, or those that try once and give up.  Of course Mr. Beer sells extra fermenters for $10 too.  

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I know I'm shifting gears slightly here, but I have a problem that is tormenting me. I've done the research and nothing quite fits a good solution for the issue. 

My Irish stout has been fermenting for 5 days, or that's at least what it looks like. I pitched the yeast at 64~66 degrees and put it into the cooler with an ice bottle. This has been my standard practice and keeps the wort at an optimal 64 degrees for me. The next morning, I went to switch the ice bottles and noticed that all was well with fermentation by the 3/4 inch layer of krausen. I peeked at the temperature and it read ~57 degrees (quite low IMO). Leaning toward keeping the temperature steady, I switched the ice bottle and let it ride for the day. That evening, I went for my scheduled ice bottle switch, saw the krausen climbing even more, and noted the temperature was still ~57 degrees. 

I am not sure if there are any telltale signs of suspended fermentation, so I don't know if I should leave the ice bottles out for the duration or keep the temperature steady with the bottles? My best guess is that the wort would rise to no further than 68~70 degrees without the bottles, so that might be ok. 

Im just confused that, while it is winter, every other variable has been kept the same: same cooler, same place in the room, same ice bottle schedule. Has anyone successfully brewed ales at this low of a temperature? Thanks in advance!

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Sarg, is the thermometer in the fermenter, taped to the side with a dish towel insulating it or just hanging out in the cooler?

 

Last week when I brewed my High Point IPA batch I prechilled my cooler to 55 with a couple ice bottles. Pitched the yeast at wort temperature of 66 and put the LBK's in the cooler with a small ice bottle. My temperature probe is taped to the flat side of the LBK and insulated with a dish towel. Over night the reading was at 58 but I kept with the same ice schedule and by Saturday my temps were about 64-65. So far, due to my crazy work schedule, the highest temp has been 68 degrees. 

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Sabres, thanks for the quick reply. I'm using the standard stick-on thermometer on the side of the LBK, centered vertically between the liquid surface level and the bottom. It is not being covered by anything. 

I know that fermentation can happen albeit slowly, but that is pretty low. I know that I at least wanted to keep the current schedule/configuration for a full week, for accurate readings. I'm just surprised it even hit high krausen on (typical) schedule. 

Thanks again!

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I actually purchased my 2nd LBK starter kit at Target on clearance for $11.88.  They had two and I should have bought them both.  I won't most likely brew the CAL again that comes with the kit, at least as is, but for that price I still get the cleanser, some sugar drops and of course the LBK.  I looked at Craigslist and seen a few as well there which I may scoop up.

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35 minutes ago, Big Sarge said:

Sabres, thanks for the quick reply. I'm using the standard stick-on thermometer on the side of the LBK, centered vertically between the liquid surface level and the bottom. It is not being covered by anything. 

I know that fermentation can happen albeit slowly, but that is pretty low. I know that I at least wanted to keep the current schedule/configuration for a full week, for accurate readings. I'm just surprised it even hit high krausen on (typical) schedule. 

Thanks again!

 

Yea, 57 does seem low but if fermentation started you should be fine. The first couple of batches I only used the stick on thermometer, too and saw wide temperature swings. The wort fermented and the beer tasted OK but I really had no way of knowing exactly what the temperature was. My current rig is a little better and I can keep temps within a degree of two of 65. 

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15 hours ago, sabres032 said:

Another way to measure temperatures would be to purchase a digital thermometer with a probe. Similar to this one and tape the probe to the flat, non spigot side, insulated from ambient air with a washcloth or dish towel. This should give you a good representation of wort temperatures without modifying your LBK.

 

I also bought a Coleman cooler to put my LBK's in and rotate frozen ice bottles to maintain a temperature of 64-65 degrees during fermentation. During primary fermentation I rotate the ice bottles every 24 hours. During secondary fermentation I only rotate as needed. In my opinion the last four batches I've brewed were much better than the first three. 

 

So by sticking a digital thermometer with a probe to the flat side of the LBK, and cover it up with a towel, will allow me to take the temp of the wort? 

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6 minutes ago, Cuban IPA said:

 

So by sticking a digital thermometer with a probe to the flat side of the LBK, and cover it up with a towel, will allow me to take the temp of the wort? 

 

No. But you don't need to know the temp of the wort. You just need to know your ambient temperature, then simply add an average of 5 degrees to that. It doesn't have to be exact, just within the yeast's optimum range. I keep my brew room at 65. This gets the wort at about 70, which is perfect for most styles.

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11 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

No. But you don't need to know the temp of the wort. You just need to know your ambient temperature, then simply add an average of 5 degrees to that. It doesn't have to be exact, just within the yeast's optimum range. I keep my brew room at 65. This gets the wort at about 70, which is perfect for most styles.

 

so if my adhesive strip is reading 72 degree...thats the ambient temp...so my wort can be around 77 degree. Is that cutting it close for a range of 68-76? I know its over by one degree but would that create a problem since I yeast are temp sensitive? 

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It depends on the yeast. But that should be fine. I'd still bring the temp down a few degrees though.

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1 minute ago, MRB Josh R said:

It depends on the yeast. But that should be fine. I'd still bring the temp down a few degrees though.

 

If I were to put in beach cooler and place a couple of frozen water bottles in there, that will definitely bring it down a few degrees.  

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Yeah, that's how most of us do it, especially those of us in the AZ desert.

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1 hour ago, Cuban IPA said:

 

So by sticking a digital thermometer with a probe to the flat side of the LBK, and cover it up with a towel, will allow me to take the temp of the wort? 

 

Will give you a better representation of what the wort temperature is, yes. Only accurate way is to measure the the actual wort but I'm not modifying my equipment or opening the LBK's during fermentation other than to dry hop. Last few batches have been extremely good beer so anecdotally I know it's working. 

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2 hours ago, Cuban IPA said:

 

so if my adhesive strip is reading 72 degree...thats the ambient temp...so my wort can be around 77 degree. Is that cutting it close for a range of 68-76? I know its over by one degree but would that create a problem since I yeast are temp sensitive? 

 

If your adhesive strip reads 72, that's the temp of the wort, not the ambient temp.

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18 minutes ago, gophers6 said:

 

If your adhesive strip reads 72, that's the temp of the wort, not the ambient temp.

 

Ok thnx gopher 

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My Irish Stout is in the middle of it's second week of fermentation at 57 degrees in a cooler with ice bottles, which I decided to keep to avoid a huge temperature swing. Fermentation started on schedule with a good amount of krausen and now has a good layer of trub. 

I plan on taking a hydrometer sample this weekend (2 weeks of fermentation) to see if everything is on track and whether or not I should stop adding ice bottles. My target FG is 1.014 and I'm wondering at what reading I should make the decision to let it ride or let it warm for the last week?

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40 minutes ago, Big Sarge said:

My Irish Stout is in the middle of it's second week of fermentation at 57 degrees in a cooler with ice bottles, which I decided to keep to avoid a huge temperature swing. Fermentation started on schedule with a good amount of krausen and now has a good layer of trub. 

I plan on taking a hydrometer sample this weekend (2 weeks of fermentation) to see if everything is on track and whether or not I should stop adding ice bottles. My target FG is 1.014 and I'm wondering at what reading I should make the decision to let it ride or let it warm for the last week?

 

Isn't 57F too cold?  Man, my Irish Stout is in the second week of fermentation at 65f on the money and is going great.  Obviously with trub and Krausen it is going great, I just thought Mr. Beer yeast is limited to a low of around 60F or so.  Maybe someone with more expertise can chime in...

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I wholeheartedly agree that it's too cold and didn't mean for it to be at the start. Everything seemed to be going along good and well, so I made the decision to leave it instead of trying to warm it. It has all of the indicators of a proper fermentation and I am doing my best I'm temperature reading with the exposed stick-on thermometer. I'm hoping that the gravity will be the telltale sign. 

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Just now, Big Sarge said:

I wholeheartedly agree that it's too cold and didn't mean for it to be at the start. Everything seemed to be going along good and well, so I made the decision to leave it instead of trying to warm it. It has all of the indicators of a proper fermentation and I am doing my best I'm temperature reading with the exposed stick-on thermometer. I'm hoping that the gravity will be the telltale sign. 

 

Well that simply means that the Mr. Beer yeast must be pretty forgiving.  This is good to know.  I do agree that it's better to be too cold than to be too warm, from everything I have read.  Obviously Krausen and trub mean fermentation is going well. 

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1 hour ago, Big Sarge said:

My Irish Stout is in the middle of it's second week of fermentation at 57 degrees in a cooler with ice bottles, which I decided to keep to avoid a huge temperature swing. Fermentation started on schedule with a good amount of krausen and now has a good layer of trub. 

I plan on taking a hydrometer sample this weekend (2 weeks of fermentation) to see if everything is on track and whether or not I should stop adding ice bottles. My target FG is 1.014 and I'm wondering at what reading I should make the decision to let it ride or let it warm for the last week?

The most critical time for temperature control is during the first 48 to 72 hours of fermentation.  This means that once you see active fermentation (foam) you start the clock and then watch the Krausen.  In most brews it will begin to fall within 48 to 72 hours of starting to form.  Once the Krausen begins to fall, fermentation isn't creating near as much heat as when it is at it's peak, thus you don't have to use as much ice or whatever you use for cooling.  By the middle of the second week, if your brew area is at about 65 to 70 degrees, you don't need to do anything from a cooling perspective as the beer will take on the temperature of the room.  You still need to keep it under control for the yeast to finish their duties, don't let it get to 72 or higher.  Most of the off flavors that would be created by the wort being too warm are created during that first 48 to 72 hours. 

 

57 is a little bit cool, so you may want to move it to a warmer room so that it can get closer to 64 degrees to finish.

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The risk you run when it's that cool is that the yeast go to sleep and fermentation doesn't finish.

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Thanks for the input. I was afraid to affect too much of a swing towards warmer during the first week, especially during high krausen. I leaned toward temperature consistency and knew there was a risk of the yeast going dormant. I've kept a close eye on it with each bottle change (every 12 hours) to see if there was an evidence of a stalled fermentation. I think it's safe to say I can omit the I've bottles from here on out and allow the wort to warm slowly to room temperature. If I take a hydrometer sample at this point, should it be close to the target FG if everything moved along well? Thanks again for the help

@BDawg62  @RickBeer @Nightwulf1974 

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Your FG should be close, but it can take several days to fall the final couple of points.  Because your temp dropped so far, you will want to make sure that once you raise the temp, you get identical readings several days apart.  If your yeast is asleep, it will wake up as soon as the temperature rises.

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4 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

The most critical time for temperature control is during the first 48 to 72 hours of fermentation.  This means that once you see active fermentation (foam) you start the clock and then watch the Krausen.  In most brews it will begin to fall within 48 to 72 hours of starting to form.  Once the Krausen begins to fall, fermentation isn't creating near as much heat as when it is at it's peak, thus you don't have to use as much ice or whatever you use for cooling.  By the middle of the second week, if your brew area is at about 65 to 70 degrees, you don't need to do anything from a cooling perspective as the beer will take on the temperature of the room.  You still need to keep it under control for the yeast to finish their duties, don't let it get to 72 or higher.  Most of the off flavors that would be created by the wort being too warm are created during that first 48 to 72 hours. 

 

57 is a little bit cool, so you may want to move it to a warmer room so that it can get closer to 64 degrees to finish.

 

+1

 

My High Peak IPA is well past high krasuen and I'm maintaining temp in my cooler between 64-66 by putting a small 16oz frozen water bottle in every three or four days. The wort is clearing up nicely, there is a thick layer of gunk on the bottom and a nice hop smell is evident in the cooler. 

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If you're going to be fermenting at 57F on a regular basis, I'd advise getting either Danstar Nottingham or Mangrove Jack Workhorse yeast. Those will both do just fine at 57 (and even below, although you may want to use more yeast if you're planning to ferment much lower than 57 with either of them). US-05 is rated as low as 59, but will work at 57 (but more slowly).

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@bpgreen The 57 degree fermentation temperature was merely by accident and I didn't want to warm it up during peak fermentation. Everything seemed to be going well at that temperature, but I was obviously worried. I used the same methodology as previous brews (same cooler, same spot in the house, same ice bottle schedule) and thought that the ambient temperature was similar; I guess this was the only variable that I didn't properly account for. 

I have since removed the bottles (last night) and will monitor the temperature/activity. I will check the specific gravity before any thoughts of cold-crashing and hope for the best. I will keep your yeast suggestions in mind and put them in my ruck sack. 

Thanks for your input!

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This is a great example for everyone to follow.  Ambient temperatures affect things very significantly.  Some people live in homes where they maintain the same temps year round.  Others live in areas where the summer is very hot, and they may turn up or turn off their A/C during the day - impacting their brews if there is no temp control in place.  Others live in areas where the winter is very cold, with similar impacts.

 

It's also an example of how every brew can be different.  There is no "I always do it this way" unless you use a fermentation frig/freezer with temp control.  Adding 2 frozen bottles for your last batch could be 3 for this batch - or 1 or none.  

 

My basement can be as high as 70 during the summer.  Yesterday it was 63.  If I wanted to, I could turn off my fermentation freezer and open the door, as I'm checking tomorrow to see if it's ready to cold crash.  However, since it's not rising or falling, there's no energy being used (except for the temp probe), so there is no reason to do that.

 

If you ferment in a garage that gets very cold in the winter, make sure you have a paint can heater (or other heater) to warm things up as needed.  

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These are some very good points @RickBeer  While I assumed that my house is kept at the same ambient temperature year-round (according to the house thermostat), it is obviously drafty along the floor in the winter. I really did not expect the temperature difference to be that large, but lesson learned. I have taken note and until I get a fermentation fridge up and running, I will keep a close eye on it especially during transitions between seasons. 

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One other thing to note - heat rises.  Simple concept, but we often forget.  One formerly active member of the forum uses a multi-shelf system in his house, and the temp varies by several degrees from the lowest to the highest.  Same in your frig/freezer.  If I put in two LBKs on day 1, then a week later want to add two more, I put the old ones up higher and put the temp probe on the lower new ones.  When they go active and the temp tries to rise inside, the frig/freezer kicks on.  Since heat rises, the upper shelf is a few degrees warmer and that week old batch doesn't get too cold.  If I put the new ones on the top shelf, and set it for 64, the lower shelves might be 62 or lower.

 

Also - concrete is a heat sink.  Or a cold holder.  In other words, a cold concrete floor will dissipate the heat generated in an LBK, or transmit cold into an LBK (I'm no scientist).  If you want the cold from it, that's great.  If not, put the LBK on a piece of carpet or up on a table or shelf.

 

And my basement is 63 right now at shoulder height.  I'll bet sitting on the floor it's 60 or colder.

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I definitely took this property into consideration with my second LBK. Once I realized that the cooler/ice bottle method proved to be too cold, I used a temperature probe to recon the kitchen cabinet temperatures (away from any appliances that may produce heat). I found a 1~2 degree difference on each shelf, so I picked the one that read 62~64 degrees and have the LBK happily sitting there. It turned out to be the second shelf from the bottom. I still perv every day, just to make sure the temperature is consistent. 

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One word of caution - overflows.  Make sure wherever they are that IF they overflow (or leak), you don't have  mess where you don't want one or worse - you incur the wrath of SWMBO.  Overflowing wort dripping from the kitchen cabinets as the first thing SWMBO sees before her morning coffee could result in something besides privileges being cut off... :lol:

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Already accounted for and had to deal with the wrath just for using the cabinet :lol:

She lets me buy beer though, so it's a good trade off. 

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53 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

One word of caution - overflows.  Make sure wherever they are that IF they overflow (or leak), you don't have  mess where you don't want one or worse - you incur the wrath of SWMBO.  Overflowing wort dripping from the kitchen cabinets as the first thing SWMBO sees before her morning coffee could result in something besides privileges being cut off... :lol:

 

Maybe I haven't had enough coffee in me yet, but was does SWMBO stand for?  I'm guessing something to do with the better half.:lol:

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5 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

She Who Must BObeyed

 

BWAHAHA!  That's great.  I tried looking under the Brewers Glossary to no avail.  That's probably even funnier.  :lol:

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Live and learn. Until joining the forum and being a clueless newb, I didn't know that the high krausen generated that much heat diff over ambient. Lol, ignorance is bliss short-lived. So I'm two batches in and nothing to be done but correct for the upcoming third.

I'll definitely have to look at getting a small fridge or freezer with an inkbird before long.

However, my next batch the lbk will go in my cooler with an ice bottle and temp probe. Ambient is 68 in the upstairs, so shouldn't take too much to drop it 3-4 degrees. 

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a good cooler with 1/2 to 1 liter bottle of ice should keep things cool for about 12-14 hours. before you start using this method with wort,  get a wireless digital thermometer or a cheap aquarium probe type thermometer.  put the sensor in the cooler.  add a bottle of ice, close lid and monitor temps.  keep a log and check it every hour. 

 

this will give you a good understanding of how much ice will impact the ambient temp inside and for how long.  I use a cheap submersible aquarium thermometer. I put the probe inside and close the lid on the wire leading to the display. I set the display on top of the cooler so I can easily see it. 

 

a swing of maybe 2 0r 3 degrees isn't that drastic if your temps are good to begin with.  so if you are late changing the bottle out it shouldn't make that much of a difference.

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