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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: beerocd on February 06, 2010, 06:18:12 PM

Title: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: beerocd on February 06, 2010, 06:18:12 PM
Is temp control important to you?
A couple guys in another thread have said this is the single most important factor to making good beer. Before moving to AG, or buying any other equipment to move beyond Mr.Beer - temp control is number one. Why is it discussed so little then?

Is it just not blingy enough to discuss, or is it boring, or do the lhbs' not make enough selling 1 johnson controller for your craigslist chest freezer?
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: a10t2 on February 06, 2010, 06:28:38 PM
Here's my process: http://seanterrill.com/2009/05/20/regulating-fermentation-temperatures/ (http://seanterrill.com/2009/05/20/regulating-fermentation-temperatures/)

Like I said in the other thread, I don't feel that it is under-discussed. It almost always comes up in a discussion of a particular yeast strain, it's frequently included in recipes, etc. And repeated ad nauseam to newbies with questions, IME. It's just sort of a mundane topic - once you have it figured out, you don't have to worry about it again.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: beerocd on February 06, 2010, 09:42:21 PM

 IME. It's just sort of a mundane topic -

This is kind of what I was thinking. Just not exciting enough to discuss, but I've never heard it placed so high up as a factor in final beer product.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: denny on February 06, 2010, 09:59:04 PM
Wow, don't know where you guys have been!  I've seen it discussed often through the years. 
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: Hokerer on February 06, 2010, 10:06:15 PM
I use a homemade "sorta son of fermentation chiller" setup.  And yes, I agree that fermentation temperature control is the single most important improvement you can make to you brewing process.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: beerocd on February 06, 2010, 10:27:57 PM
Wow, don't know where you guys have been!  I've seen it discussed often through the years. 

Yeah, believe it or not I wasn't just yankin' yer ....    in the other thread.
The progression was MrBeer, PM, AG, throw a kegerator in there somewhere, and temp control kinda came last.
That said, I am in my unfinished fermenting chamber (basement) which is 58 now and tops out uppper 60's in the dead of summer.
I've seen the son of fermentation chiller threads and the guys with the lightbulb wrapped in tinfoil; but figured those guys are on the extreme ends of fermentation temps; like Alaska and Africa.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: summy on February 07, 2010, 12:23:21 AM
Single biggest improvement to the quality of my beers (fermentation temp control).
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: kuphish on February 07, 2010, 05:06:30 AM
Fermentation temperature and pitching the proper amount of yeast are the two things that I focus on the most.  Unfortunately, I only have a swamp cooler, but it works well for my needs at the moment.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: beerocd on February 07, 2010, 08:04:53 PM
OK, anybody needing a fermentation chamber in the midwest....

Jewel has 5.5 cu. ft. freezers for $150; and then they give you $150 worth of coupons for free food. Mostly ice cream, pizza and burritos it seems. That's about as close to free as it can get. Then you pop a johnson on there and away you go.

Today and tomorrow only!


Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: 1vertical on February 07, 2010, 08:36:34 PM
I need an option for "all the above"....or can I hold the shift key down?
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: beerocd on February 07, 2010, 08:41:30 PM
Okay, Mr "All of the above" care to explain?
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: 1vertical on February 07, 2010, 08:46:38 PM
Sure,
I used a water bath with an aquarium heater to prevent freezing out in the
garage where the ambient air temps were well below zero....as per
Denny's guidance.

so there are several of the ''aboves" all in one usage...

In the summer for Saisons, I use mostly ambients and try not to fight
mother nature....get good results too!

I lager in a refridgerator that maintains 48* f on low setting.

I have a brew belt that I apply if I cannot get to Saison Temps with finicky yeast....

What I lack in, is the ability to accurately tell the temp of the Liquid inside the fermenter...


Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: mikeypedersen on February 07, 2010, 09:35:15 PM
I have a chest freezer that holds 6 carboys. I have a dual stage ranco with the freezer and a heating pad plugged into it. It was one of the best things that ever happened to my brewing, for both quality and repeatability.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: a10t2 on February 07, 2010, 09:42:11 PM
What I lack in, is the ability to accurately tell the temp of the Liquid inside the fermenter...

Best three dollars you can spend, my friend:(http://www.northernbrewer.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/265x/5e06319eda06f020e43594a9c230972d/i/m/image_516.jpg) (http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/testing-measuring/thermometers/fermometer.html)
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: 1vertical on February 07, 2010, 10:14:59 PM
Thanks for the tip my friend, I have that technology. It is portraying the temp of the exterior
surface of the fermenter. Not what I was refering to...which would be a thermowell
and probe...
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: mthogan1997 on February 08, 2010, 12:37:45 AM
I'm a 3 season brewer. I heat my fermenter to lager temps in the winter, and my basement takes care of ales in spring/winter/fall. Typically, I am killing my last keg in October, just as my first beer of the season is coming online. Sometimes I have to make potato vodka to get me thru September, but usually, I am good to go.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: a10t2 on February 08, 2010, 05:40:41 AM
I kept track of both for several batches and never saw a variation of more than about 1°F.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: nyakavt on February 08, 2010, 01:51:24 PM
I kept track of both for several batches and never saw a variation of more than about 1°F.
+1, I don't have a thermowell but I have read/heard this from several independent sources.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: roffenburger on February 08, 2010, 02:13:11 PM
I can't vouch for the stick on, but I monitor my temp on the side of the carboy or bucket (insulated probe against the side). When checked against actual fermentation temp, like others indicated, its not more than 1F. Pretty accurate, in my experience.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: denny on February 08, 2010, 04:37:10 PM
Yeah, believe it or not I wasn't just yankin' yer ....    in the other thread.

Nope, I never assume that of anyone...

The progression was MrBeer, PM, AG, throw a kegerator in there somewhere, and temp control kinda came last.
That said, I am in my unfinished fermenting chamber (basement) which is 58 now and tops out uppper 60's in the dead of summer.
I've seen the son of fermentation chiller threads and the guys with the lightbulb wrapped in tinfoil; but figured those guys are on the extreme ends of fermentation temps; like Alaska and Africa.


Wish I had a basement.  The water table around here is so high that basements are a rare thing.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: bluesman on February 08, 2010, 05:28:39 PM
My basement is hovering at 60F right now and will stay there until April hits. So it's ale heaven down there right now. I also have a chest freezer with a Johnson controller for Lagers.

Ferm control is a critical a part of the brewing process. Without it we'd all be making hit or miss beer. 
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: blatz on February 08, 2010, 08:41:44 PM
I kept track of both for several batches and never saw a variation of more than about 1°F.

+1 - my friend spent some coin on a thermowell on the same notion of 1vertical's, so durign one fermentation, out of curiosity, I used my thermocouple and took readings to compare to the strip - it was always +/- 1 degree, so I stopped worrying about getting a thermowell.  YMMV.
Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: babalu87 on February 09, 2010, 05:26:47 PM
All of the above

I'll preface this by saying that we heat our house with a wood stove.

Upstairs bedroom, where the sours go to sour. Low to mid 60's during Winter and the mid 70's during Summer ( we run AC in the bedrooms)

Downstairs bathroom is where the Ales live during Winter.
Stays around 60 in there by keeping an eye on the door and using it as a throttle of sorts.

Basement
When the temp is right its perfect for fermenting lagers in Winter AND Ales during the Spring and Fall (Summer it hits the 70's)
Swamp cooler in Summer for ales AND lagers
Swamp warmer (aquarium heater) for lagers in Winter AND ramping up Belgians when needed.

Outside quonset hut
Chest keezer outside for lagering and ales during Summer when we are camping (cant be there to swap ice bottles in swamp coolers)

Title: Re: Fermentation Temp Control
Post by: seajellie on February 10, 2010, 02:50:11 AM
Basement/cellar, and on the rare occasion a water bath to help.

Basement stays at 48 to 52 degrees for four months of winter, around 62 for most of spring and fall, and tops out at 65 or so for a month or two in the middle of summer.

Can you say lagers; alts and wheat beers; and ales?

Plus it makes a great year around beer and wine storage facility with not too much temp fluctuation, considering how long I want the goods to survive in the first place.

Thanks guys for the info about the temp accuracy when measured on the outside of a fermenter. I've been wondering how well that outside temp reflects the interior of the fermenter, and have built a thermwell myself but not experimented yet.