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If you close the lid on it while fermenting just be careful it does not overheat in there - especially the first week. Those are wonderfully insulated.

A $10 digital aquarium thermometer will work well if taped to LBK You can monitor from outside if you run the sensor cord into the cooler.

You do have room to put some freezer ice packs in there if you need to keep it cool - or water frozen in 2/3 (3/4?)  full soda bottles.

Too hot and you may get cidery flavors.

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1 hour ago, Nickfixit said:

If you close the lid on it while fermenting just be careful it does not overheat in there - especially the first week. Those are wonderfully insulated.

A $10 digital aquarium thermometer will work well if taped to LBK You can monitor from outside if you run the sensor cord into the cooler.

You do have room to put some freezer ice packs in there if you need to keep it cool - or water frozen in 2/3 (3/4?)  full soda bottles.

Too hot and you may get cidery flavors.

 

I was planning on using the cooler to control the temperature. It's still in the mid 90s outside here in AZ, and I keep the temperature at 78-80 inside, so I figured I'd have to use ice packs or frozen water bottles to get the temp down about 10-15 degrees. The cooler is also a safety measure in case it gets too  warm and pops the top it'll be easier to clean up.

I like the wireless thermometer idea. I was wondering what the easiest way to monitor the temp would be without having to open the cooler... I'll pick one up this weekend 

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Just a note as to ambient air temperatures.  I keep my cooling chamber at about 60 degrees to maintain a 63 to 64 degree wort temperature during peak fermentation.  Sometimes with a very vigorous fermentation, I have to go below 60 for ambient temps.

 

Ice packs will work to maintain these temperatures but it will take some time to get it right for your setup.  You are on the right track, but don't get discouraged on this first batch if it gets too warm on occasion.  Also, I let the temperature slowly rise after 4 days to get to about 68 or 70 by day 7 so that fermentation can complete.  Another tip is to precool your cooler, put a couple of icepacks in several hours ahead of time and then use fresh packs when you add your LBK.

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Welcome to your new addiction... I mean hobby! This forum is a great place to share ideas and learn, too. 

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22 hours ago, jeeps_beagles_and_beer said:

 

I was planning on using the cooler to control the temperature. It's still in the mid 90s outside here in AZ, and I keep the temperature at 78-80 inside, so I figured I'd have to use ice packs or frozen water bottles to get the temp down about 10-15 degrees. The cooler is also a safety measure in case it gets too  warm and pops the top it'll be easier to clean up.

I like the wireless thermometer idea. I was wondering what the easiest way to monitor the temp would be without having to open the cooler... I'll pick one up this weekend 

Actually the one I use is wired, my cooler has a drain hole so I run the wire through there and tape the sensor under a folded paper towel wad onto the LBK with Duck tape.  like this one. at $5.99 - it actually might be the same , looking at my pic :-D.

https://www.chewy.com/zoo-med-digital-thermometer/dp/154874

 

cooler temp 20150629_215653.jpg

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Wort is made and in the cooler (aka fermentation chamber), with a couple frozen water bottles. The plan is to swap out the frozen water bottles every morning before work. Got my thermometer set up with the wire in the cooler, and the cooler sitting in the bottom of my pantry out of the way. Temperature should stay in the low 60’s that way. 

So what’s the rule of thumb again? 3-4-3? I gotta set a reminder on my phone for bottling day :-)

Edited by jeeps_beagles_and_beer
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Yes,  3-4-3 and the 4 is a minimum, some beers do not get really nice until many months, but those are mainly the strong ones.

It is horrible waiting on your first batch, but so good when you crack one open :lol:

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19 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Yes,  3-4-3 and the 4 is a minimum, some beers do not get really nice until many months, but those are mainly the strong ones.

It is horrible waiting on your first batch, but so good when you crack one open :lol:

 

Yeah it’s gonna be tough for sure, but the wait will be worth it!

A few questions:

It’s Bewitched Amber Ale and it says I’m the instructions 68-76 degrees for two weeks in the LBK. My fermentation chamber is staying exactly at 60 degrees. Should I let it warm up a little? I seem to remember reading on here low 60’s being ideal? I’m definitely going the full three weeks before bottling, I want the best possible results. Then I’ll bottle it for the full four weeks. Should the bottles sit at the same temperature as the wort? Thanks everyone!

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I would see what the daily temperature spread is if you are changing the ice once a day.

Also if the thermometer sensor is on the LBK and covered with insulation it will be reading LBK internal temp which is what you want. 

I would not get it below 60 or above 70. If you can do this and average 65 I think you will be good. A smaller range might be better, but it takes a lot of work to do that using bottles I think, mainly because of the time taken for the temp to change - after you change the icing.  A heater/cooler and thermostat control is more accurate  (See the Inkbird controller but you still need heater and/or cooler. )

You may find after the first flurry of activity it takes less ice and less frequent change out to maintain the temp.

 

In the bottle, for carbonation, room temp low 70's is fine. 78-80's - not sure about that. Maybe you can just find your coolest place.

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I’ve been checking it a lot and it’s staying right at 60 degrees air temperature in the cooler. I’m not sure what to do to get it up 5 degrees. Maybe tomorrow I’ll put one frozen bottle in and keep an eye on it throughout the day. 

 

Once I bottle it’ll be a new challenge to keep the temp at 70... maybe in the cooler with half a bottle of frozen water. I’ll figure it out and share it here :-)

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A couple of things.

 

1) Checking the air temp is a waste of time.

 

2) Checking the temp of an LBK full of water is a waste of time.  Wort generates heat during fermentation, which is what you are trying to control.  Water does not.

 

3) You want the wort temp to be mid 60s.  That means during peak fermentation you will need more ice bottles than later in fermentation.  How many, how big they are, how often they change is subject to your conditions.

 

4) After you bottle, you want 70 or higher.  No need for a cooler unless you're worried about a bottle bomb or you cannot maintain 70 or higher.  Even high 60s is fine, it will just take longer.

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2 hours ago, RickBeer said:

A couple of things.

 

1) Checking the air temp is a waste of time.

 

2) Checking the temp of an LBK full of water is a waste of time.  Wort generates heat during fermentation, which is what you are trying to control.  Water does not.

 

3) You want the wort temp to be mid 60s.  That means during peak fermentation you will need more ice bottles than later in fermentation.  How many, how big they are, how often they change is subject to your conditions.

 

4) After you bottle, you want 70 or higher.  No need for a cooler unless you're worried about a bottle bomb or you cannot maintain 70 or higher.  Even high 60s is fine, it will just take longer.

Yes, what he said.

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2 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Yes, what he said.

 

Wish my better half said similar...   :lol:

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you can tape your aquarium probe to the outside of the lbk below the water line, then tape a small piece of reflectix insulation over that and you will get a ballpark idea of wort temp.  those thermometers (the yellow one above) are not 100% accurate but close enough. I use them.  my lazy man's guide for temp control is if my cooler ambient air temp stays around 62f then my wort temp should be ok for most ales.  62f is good on its own. peak fermentation would mean wort would be around 72 max probably...which is a little high but still ok for most ales. . at least for me.  ive only had apple esters on one or two batches. one was because I used us04 in a stout and let temps get way too high. imo stouts and apple esters are a major no no. if I wanted fruit in my beer I would dump a can of it into my glass.

 

 

here's a thought. if you were confident about sanitation you could probably soak your probe and about a foot of lead wire in starsan for a bit... then run the probe directly into your lbk but how would you screw the lid down I wonder?  or you could take a meat thermometer , sanitize the probe end and poke it through your lid into the wort... but then you would have a hole in the lid. I don't worry about it. I just shoot for ambient of 62f.

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7 hours ago, zorak1066 said:

you can tape your aquarium probe to the outside of the lbk below the water line, then tape a small piece of reflectix insulation over that and you will get a ballpark idea of wort temp.  those thermometers (the yellow one above) are not 100% accurate but close enough. I use them.  my lazy man's guide for temp control is if my cooler ambient air temp stays around 62f then my wort temp should be ok for most ales.  62f is good on its own. peak fermentation would mean wort would be around 72 max probably...which is a little high but still ok for most ales. . at least for me.  ive only had apple esters on one or two batches. one was because I used us04 in a stout and let temps get way too high. imo stouts and apple esters are a major no no. if I wanted fruit in my beer I would dump a can of it into my glass.

 

 

here's a thought. if you were confident about sanitation you could probably soak your probe and about a foot of lead wire in starsan for a bit... then run the probe directly into your lbk but how would you screw the lid down I wonder?  or you could take a meat thermometer , sanitize the probe end and poke it through your lid into the wort... but then you would have a hole in the lid. I don't worry about it. I just shoot for ambient of 62f.

 

I'm positive that someone on here does exactly that.  They posted a picture of their set-up.  They had a small hole in the lid through which they could insert the sanitized temperature probe down into the wort itself.  I can't remember who, though; it was many months ago.

 

 

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I think I remember that, but I thought I remembered a fixed thermometer glued into the lid? like the meat thermometer length so the sensor goes into the liquid.

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This is the one that I use

 

https://www.walmart.com/ip/AcuRite-Digital-Meat-Thermometer-00641W/14913168

 

Basically a tiny hole in the lid and slide the thermometer in.  It goes into the wort by about 1.5 inches .  I don't remember the size of the drill bit, but it is a fit snug enough to prevent almost any air from getting through.  A bit pricy, but it works perfectly well.

 

Note.  I keep the thermometer in the lid at all times.  When I wash/sanitize the LBK, the probe gets washed/sanitized at the same time.

 

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2 hours ago, RickBeer said:

Searching prowess is not top of strength list for some...

 

 

 

th?id=OIP.yhAAJasvJaqrIgdaINljJQEgDY&pid

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4 minutes ago, jeeps_beagles_and_beer said:

Can I remove the lid one week into fermentation to do this? Or should I wait for the next batch? 

Wait

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5 more days until my beer should be ready!  On the 25th they’ll be at four weeks. I did cheat and try one already at two weeks and it was pretty good. I’ll probably throw a couple in the fridge Wednesday night or Thursday morning to drink on Thanksgiving. 

 

Next batch should start brewing Sunday  the 26th of November :-)

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If you want to sample one on Thanksgiving, refrigerate it TODAY.  You ideally want 3 days for the carbonation to full absorb back into the beer.  Carbonation likes COLD, not warm, so it will be better with 3 days in the fridge.

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33 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

If you want to sample one on Thanksgiving, refrigerate it TODAY.  You ideally want 3 days for the carbonation to full absorb back into the beer.  Carbonation likes COLD, not warm, so it will be better with 3 days in the fridge.

 

Good to know. I’ll put a couple in the fridge after work, thanks!

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On 10/5/2017 at 0:05 PM, jeeps_beagles_and_beer said:

Got my MB kit today. Super excited to get started! I think Sunday will be the day I start brewing. Found a Coleman cooler I had that's the perfect size, and I can store it at the bottom of my pantry PROPPED UP! Fits like a glove :-)

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Welcome to this marvelous hobby!

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6 hours ago, RickBeer said:

BAA is truly excellent.

I have a can waiting. I might make it next. I've never had it, but listening to all of you made me get it.

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Today I absolutley killed it with a great deal. I bought 4 NW Pale ale with LBKs kits for $10 each. :D This gives me the extra kegs I need/want to try some batches in the cooler winter months. I have to bottle an expierimental batch next weekend for drinking a couple on New years Eve. Now I've got to order some HMEs. Brew some porters and stouts to enjoy next fall/winter.

 

Whoooo hoooooooooooooo!!!!!

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Some help here from fellow AZ brewer who did a few very successful brews in July and August.  I have a combination of large and medium rre-freezable blue packs available from Target .As I started learning to brew, as I changed the packs, I found that a combination of one large and one small was the best combination for keeping the fermenting brew at a nice mid 60's temp.  I changed them daily and kept a log of temps.  I changed to 2 larger ones to lower temps for the   Pilsners and lagers, which I prefer.  All have fermented well.  Only one of my 10 brews not tasted yet is one which I am lagering for 6 months. (Ah, the joy of heightened patience!). I hope to obtain a nice 4 cub. fit or larger fridge after our move next spring.  Welcome to the hobby.  And even an imperfect beer is most often tasty.  I have made my fair share of mistakes but never a regret.  Pros't!

23926546_839769664828_23403864672522192_o.jpg

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On 12/7/2017 at 6:22 PM, DrMJG said:

Some help here from fellow AZ brewer who did a few very successful brews in July and August.  I have a combination of large and medium rre-freezable blue packs available from Target .As I started learning to brew, as I changed the packs, I found that a combination of one large and one small was the best combination for keeping the fermenting brew at a nice mid 60's temp.  I changed them daily and kept a log of temps.  I changed to 2 larger ones to lower temps for the   Pilsners and lagers, which I prefer.  All have fermented well.  Only one of my 10 brews not tasted yet is one which I am lagering for 6 months. (Ah, the joy of heightened patience!). I hope to obtain a nice 4 cub. fit or larger fridge after our move next spring.  Welcome to the hobby.  And even an imperfect beer is most often tasty.  I have made my fair share of mistakes but never a regret.  Pros't!

23926546_839769664828_23403864672522192_o.jpg

 

Cheers! Thanks man I’m willing to drink my mistakes so it should be a fun learning experience. I’m still using the aquarium thermometer in the cooler, eventually I will put it into the LBK somehow. In the meantime I’m checking the ambient temps inside the cooler every 12 hours or so and I’ve managed to keep it in the low to mid 60s using frozen water bottles. 

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If you are using the LBK, get one of their stick on thermometers next time you make an order, works wonderfully

 

 

23561469_1717632994953421_4645963913754627421_n.jpg

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Congrats, that looks like it ought to work just fine. I've put mine on the front of the keg, above the spigot, but that's cause my kegs are setting next to each other on the table and for me it's easier to see.

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1 hour ago, DrMJG said:

If you are using the LBK, get one of their stick on thermometers next time you make an order, works wonderfully

 

 

23561469_1717632994953421_4645963913754627421_n.jpg

I have one, but because it’s atill so warm here I can’t see the temperature strip on the side of the LBK when it’s in the cooler

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The stick on thermometer and the aquarium thermometer read within a degree of each other though, so I’m keeping an eye on the temps. I try to check it every 12 hours, but sometimes I go 24 hours. My LBK is in my kitchen pantry right across from my refrigerator so I can take a peak at it any time I go to the fridge

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11 minutes ago, TonyKZ1 said:

Congrats, that looks like it ought to work just fine. I've put mine on the front of the keg, above the spigot, but that's cause mine are setting next to each other on the table and for me it's easier to see.

Yeah, it works great, I've got it on 2 LBKs, but I need to buy one still for my new one. I use a flashlight and a mirror to see the temp when they're in the ice chest.

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On Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 6:11 PM, jeeps_beagles_and_beer said:

Finally bottled my GAB today, it was in the LBK for a month because I’ve been sick and busy with Xmas.

 

btw is this the yeast? When I clean the LBK after bottling I have Trub, and this stuff:

B0AA9A3F-BEE1-48D6-911B-24E4FC6393A5.jpeg

Are those possibly boysenberries?

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50 minutes ago, D Kristof said:

Are those possibly boysenberries?

 

 

Im fairly certain I had the same stuff in my LBK last batch I made too, and that was Bewitched Amber Ale...

 

And I blended the Boysenberries well. I don’t think  there was any chunks. 

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Those are mouse turds, not a usual by-product of fermentation.  They add body, but no sweetness.  :lol:

 

No, that is not yeast.  That is the result of not a perfect puree' of the boysenberries.  

 

 

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On Friday, January 26, 2018 at 7:18 AM, RickBeer said:

Those are mouse turds, not a usual by-product of fermentation.  They add body, but no sweetness.  :lol:

 

No, that is not yeast.  That is the result of not a perfect puree' of the boysenberries.  

 

 

I'm hoping our guess is correct. @jeeps_beagles_and_beer, you haven't noticed any mice wearing party hats have you?😃

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On 1/26/2018 at 5:18 AM, RickBeer said:

Those are mouse turds, not a usual by-product of fermentation.  They add body, but no sweetness.  :lol:

 

No, that is not yeast.  That is the result of not a perfect puree' of the boysenberries.  

 

 

 

They were in my LBK after the BAA too though? Definitely not mouse turds, unless they’re sneaking in to the LBK, in the cooler, in my pantry, swimming and pooping in there, then getting out safely and replacing the kid on the LBK... I guess that would explain the oxidation though 

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So I tried my GAB... it’s terrible. Too much oxidation I think. Tastes very wine-y. My BAA tasted a little wine-y too. I’m definitely making a mistake somewhere along the line. IIRC they both tasted oxidized before bottling when I tasted the test samples. At the time I didn’t know what it was though. 

 

Any tips for beating oxidation? 

 

Btw this article is why I think it’s oxidized:

 

http://blog.mrbeer.com/5-common-off-flavors-in-beer/

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If you use fruit in beer, make sure you condition for 6 or more weeks at 70 or higher.

 

If you fermented in an uncontrolled environment, and also added fruit, it is very likely that it fermented way too warm.  Solution - condition longer.  If you have bottles left, remove them from the frig and go 6 to 8 weeks total conditioning.

 

 

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