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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: drjones on July 18, 2013, 10:19:23 AM

Title: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: drjones on July 18, 2013, 10:19:23 AM
Without a chest cooler, I'm dependent on old-school methods of temp control.  My mead is (relatively) safe in a big bucket of water receiving four swapped out freezer packs twice a day and staying at about 65F (though I'd prefer it a bit lower).  The session ipa (1.046, US-05) from last Sunday is probably about done with the bulk of its fermentation, and I managed to keep it at 70F in the cellar next to the mead bucket. Ideally, it, too, would be 5 degrees cooler.  How are you guys managing the heat - wet towels, other ideas?  (Short of buying a freezer!)     
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: Joe Sr. on July 18, 2013, 10:29:43 AM
I have a small room in my basement that I keep cool with a window unit.  It stays at a nice cool 60 degrees.

Probably not helpful for you...
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: denny on July 18, 2013, 10:36:32 AM
I put my fermenter in a large plastic tub full of water and add ice packs to the water.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: duboman on July 18, 2013, 10:41:19 AM

I put my fermenter in a large plastic tub full of water and add ice packs to the water.

Before I got a ferm chamber this method can be very effective, also know as a swamp cooler and works on the science of evaporative cooling.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: BrewArk on July 18, 2013, 10:44:05 AM
wet t-shirt  ;) fan, ice if necessary.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: svejk on July 18, 2013, 10:44:28 AM
I like brewing saisons in the summer because the yeast are happy at higher temps.  Then again, summer in Seattle isn't exactly a real summer so the basement stays a great temp for ales for most of the time.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: kramerog on July 18, 2013, 10:48:10 AM
Water bath.  But really what I try to do is not to fight it.  I brew lower gravity beers (more because I need to stay cool), saisons (where higher temp is helpful) and American sours with Brett as my primary yeast (also good at warmer temps).
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: stlaleman on July 18, 2013, 01:10:23 PM
I have a better way, controls temps =?- 1 or 2 degrees. I use an internal SS coil in my Brewhemoth and a simple glycol chiller made from an old window AC. Check out http://penrosepicobrewery.blogspot.com/
Currently I'm fermenting a British Ale at 66 in a shed that exceeds 100 degrees every afternoon.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: euge on July 18, 2013, 01:41:02 PM
I gave up and bought a freezer. In fact I bought two...
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: cornershot on July 18, 2013, 02:12:26 PM
I gave up and bought a freezer. In fact I bought two...

Ditto

Did the wet T-shirt thing. Did the swamp cooler thing. Nothing like precise, effortless, carefree temperature control and the quality of beer it produces in any season.
But I did have a keezer catch on fire a while back...
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: denny on July 18, 2013, 02:29:20 PM
I gave up and bought a freezer. In fact I bought two...

I lust for a freezer or two, but I've got nowhere to put them.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: euge on July 18, 2013, 03:15:36 PM
Lust, covet... I say make room! ;D ::)

Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: denny on July 18, 2013, 03:40:34 PM
Lust, covet... I say make room! ;D ::)

You'd think that would be possible....but it's not....yet.....
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: erockrph on July 18, 2013, 06:56:37 PM
Working hard trying to convince my wife that I need a fermentation fridge, but no luck so far. My basement ranges from about 62F-70F ambient in different locations during the summer, so I can get away with it for most ales. What's nice is that I can control temps to some extent based on where I put the fermenter. The corner that is deepest underground generally ranges from 62-64F, while the area closest to the outside ranges from 67-70F.

I try to at least chill to the low 60's before pitching, then let it rise from there. If needed I'll use a swamp cooler for temp control. I've even brewed lagers using a swamp cooler in August, but it's a royal PITA changing out frozen soda bottles 2-3 times a day to maintain temps within a reasonable range.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: majorvices on July 18, 2013, 08:19:06 PM
I guess it's almost embarrassing to say that at the height of my home brewing days I had three 14 cubic foot chest freezers (one of them for serving) not to mention carboys laid out fermenting on basement floor. That doesn't even include when I added the three 55 gallon vessel brew system on back porch and upright freezer with 42 gallon blichman conical in garage. Though I at least didn't exclusively pay for all that and it was only there 4 or 5 months.

Don't have any of that now. Nearly no brewing supplies in the house (I do a little fruit wine now here and there but nothing like home brewing). Course we had to invest a large chunk of our life savings to move it all out of the house and into the brewery.

I truly married an angel. Or maybe it's just I'm that good in the sack.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: reverseapachemaster on July 19, 2013, 06:35:15 AM
I could never get the whole tub of water with ice to produce consistent results except during the "coldest" part of our winter for like two weeks if the tub was in the coldest corner of the house and I monitored it hourly to add frozen water packs. The rest of the year it's too hot and too humid to get good results. We don't have basements in Texas so there's nowhere cool in the house and nowhere in the house with the temperature stability of a basement.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: n518lf on July 19, 2013, 07:18:42 AM

I truly married an angel. Or maybe it's just I'm that good in the sack.

Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk 2

Or maybe you just brew really really good beer :)
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: denny on July 19, 2013, 08:14:50 AM
I truly married an angel. Or maybe it's just I'm that good in the sack.

I vote for married an angel.  ;)
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: majorvices on July 19, 2013, 08:40:02 AM
I truly married an angel. Or maybe it's just I'm that good in the sack.

I vote for married an angel.  ;)

It's always black and white with you! :P
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: denny on July 19, 2013, 08:56:50 AM
I truly married an angel. Or maybe it's just I'm that good in the sack.

I vote for married an angel.  ;)

It's always black and white with you! :P

It's more that the other choice was so unbelievable....
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: bluesman on July 19, 2013, 09:38:37 AM
The current temp in my cellar is 71-72F.

So, for lagers I use a fermentation chest with a Ranco controller, but for my ales I have two swamp coolers that I use. My ground water is about 75F right now, so I have to add ice to each cooler to get the temp in the mid 60's. Then I add frozen gel packs as necessary to keep the water less than 68F.

I monitor the water temp twice a day during fermentation.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: morticaixavier on July 19, 2013, 09:50:06 AM
Just for the sake of accuracy I would like to clarify some terms.

Swamp cooler or evaporative cooler - This is a method of cooling something below ambient temp via evaporation. This is the wet t-shirt method. You only need enough water to allow the t-shirt to continuously wick water up and stay wet. You might need to wet the shirt from above to some extent to make it work. It's not really dependent on the temp of the water being used because it's going to cool the fermenter via evaporation. this method requires enough air circulation (fan, breeze) to make sure the air is not saturated with moisture around the fermenter.

Ice in water cooler - this is actually using the ice to lower the temp of the whole mass of water and beer in the tub. You can cover this set up and it will work as well or better in a small enclosed area. You are transferring heat from the fermenting beer through the water into the ice. You can get much colder with this and you don't need to use the water, if you insulate your tub or box you can use ice packs to chill the air inside and get the same results. But insulation is required in that case because you do not have the thermal mass provided by all the extra water.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: majorvices on July 19, 2013, 10:16:09 AM
I truly married an angel. Or maybe it's just I'm that good in the sack.

I vote for married an angel.  ;)

It's always black and white with you! :P

It's more that the other choice was so unbelievable....

With that attitude guess you won't be finding out.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: denny on July 19, 2013, 10:18:40 AM
With that attitude guess you won't be finding out.

You mean you were gonna post pics?   :o
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: drjones on July 22, 2013, 10:28:57 AM
Some great ideas.  I'd love to install a window AC in the basement tool room where my summer fermenation is happening, but it probably won't happen soon.  For now, the mead is in a tub with 4 ice packs, the session IPA is in a secondary at ambient (ca. 70F), and the new hefeweizen is in another tub with an ice pack.  Sounds like I should set up a fan and drape a t-shirt over the IPA at least.  Southern New England gets moldy in the summer, though, so I'm a bit anxious about what could start growing on a wet t-shirt.  I suppose I have enough shirts on hand to swap them out daily.  Vacation starts in a week - just hope fermentation is quiet enough on all fronts by then and that ambient stays below about 70...
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: euge on July 22, 2013, 04:23:41 PM
Try pouring a bit o'bleach in the water every day and that might help retard mold starting up.
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: reverseapachemaster on July 23, 2013, 02:16:25 PM
Try pouring a bit o'bleach in the water every day and that might help retard mold starting up.

Retard mold?  :o
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: euge on July 23, 2013, 03:25:08 PM
Try pouring a bit o'bleach in the water every day and that might help retard mold starting up.

Retard mold?  :o

oops... ::)
Title: Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 25, 2013, 02:46:19 PM
And watch the airlock closely - they dry out faster when the fan blows on them - that's how I got mold in my beer once....but I didn't check the mold for any classification.