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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: Lazy Ant Brewing on July 27, 2014, 12:10:04 PM

Title: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: Lazy Ant Brewing on July 27, 2014, 12:10:04 PM
I'm getting ready to brew again and I'm wondering about trying to use a swamp cooler to obtain a cooler fermentation temp, but since I'm away from the house up to 16 hours some days I'm not sure I can change the ice often enough to maintain a stable temp.

First some background.  I live in a ranch style house (no basement or cellar) in the Ohio River Valley where August temperatures outside are usually 93 F plus ( above 100 F also happens sometimes) with very high humidity.  Since I spend some time outside tending a vegetable garden, I like to keep the thermostat set at 73 F inside the house just to moderate the"themal shock" you can get when you step outside.

I've brewed several  different ales in a spectrum from amber to stout using safale US-05 dry yeast and fermenting at 73F in the warmer months of the year.  To my taste, they turn out to be quite drinkable.

Questions:

First, how important is it to maintain a stable temperature to keep "happy" yeast when you are fermenting?

How hard his it to maintain a stable temp with a swamp cooler?  How often do you need to change the ice etc.? I live by myself and I am away from the house for 8-10 hours most days and sometimes more.


Title: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: BrewBama on July 27, 2014, 12:16:48 PM
I do not have experience with the swamp cooler method. However, I understand it works quite well. I've read that ice is added twice daily. I take that to mean once before work and once before bed.

Like you I don't have lagering capability so I brew what the season's ambient temp gives me in my basement.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 27, 2014, 12:47:01 PM
Use one pint frozen water bottles.  You can put more of them in the water for the longer period and fewer in for the overnight. It's not a perfect science, but the yeast will still appreciate the cooler temps.  Or explore the wonderful world of Saisons at those temps - you may need a brew belt for nights, but the daytime temps will work great with Saison yeast.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: Lazy Ant Brewing on July 27, 2014, 01:04:33 PM
Thanks guys for the advice!

Now that I think about it, if I bought a child's plastic swimming pool, I could probably switch out gallon milk jugs filled with ice.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: cempt1 on July 27, 2014, 01:05:06 PM
Use one pint frozen water bottles.  You can put more of them in the water for the longer period and fewer in for the overnight. It's not a perfect science, but the yeast will still appreciate the cooler temps.  Or explore the wonderful world of Saisons at those temps - you may need a brew belt for nights, but the daytime temps will work great with Saison yeast.
+1 to the saison idea.  I live in south east Alabama.  I have a beer with the saison yeast going in the garage right now. There is a good thread on this yeast in the yeast section. I did the reverse of the swamp cooler and put a 17 dollar aquarium heater in it to hold it steady.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: duboman on July 27, 2014, 01:18:58 PM
Even though you have to swap ice bottles the water will create a good buffer to temp swings and keep things +/- a couple degrees, just be sure to put as much water in as you can without floating the vessel.

You can also put a t-shirt over the vessel with the ends hanging in the water and run a fan over the tub.

Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: HydraulicSammich on July 27, 2014, 04:26:28 PM
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/07/28/baregeqe.jpg) I think that you will have more fun and your mind will be eased the sooner you can get to a fermentation chamber that you can control the temperature. Brew and forget.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: a10t2 on July 27, 2014, 05:01:24 PM
At 73°F ambient, a swamp cooler will hang out somewhere around 70°F without using any ice. With a fan and a towel or t-shirt over the fermenter, you shouldn't have any trouble maintaining mid-60s temps without any fluctuation.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: Kinetic on July 27, 2014, 06:36:08 PM
At 73°F ambient, a swamp cooler will hang out somewhere around 70°F without using any ice. With a fan and a towel or t-shirt over the fermenter, you shouldn't have any trouble maintaining mid-60s temps without any fluctuation.

Why don't you like Chico? 
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: a10t2 on July 27, 2014, 08:53:51 PM
Why don't you like Chico?

You have to filter it to get bright beer. I don't see any reason to use it when you can get a similar flavor profile out of something more flocculent.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: morticaixavier on July 27, 2014, 11:36:49 PM
my pedantic peak is risen.

a 'swamp cooler' is an evaporative cooler. you have a few inches of water in a tub with a cotton cloth hanging over the fermenter with it's tails in the water. the cotton wicks up the water and it evaporates cooling the cloth and whatever is in it/near it 5-15 degrees below ambient depending on humidity.

you would not want to add ice to a swamp cooler because it would actually slow the evaporative process and make it less efficient.

a water bath is used mostly to stabilize fluctuating temperatures but, with the addition of heating or cooling, can be used to change the temp as well. you can add ice to drop the temp or add a fish tank heater or similar to raise the temp.

end pedantic rant.

**EDITED FOR TYPOS**
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: 69franx on July 28, 2014, 12:25:13 AM
Thanks Jonathan, much better stated than I could have managed right now!
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 28, 2014, 02:18:04 AM
Agreed Jonathan.  The Swamp cooler I referenced should properly have been. Water bath, but looking it up, you get both treatments referencing the swamp cooler.  I would also mention the cool brewing bag  - it allows a frozen water bottle arrangement without water as a temperature buffering agent.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: Lazy Ant Brewing on July 28, 2014, 10:13:37 AM
What is a cool brewing bag?
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 28, 2014, 11:43:55 AM
I bought one after seeing it at the NHC, but anything similar would work, too:

http://www.cool-brewing.com

Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: ram5ey on July 28, 2014, 01:55:55 PM
My first "good" beers were done in a water bath with a towel over the fermentor. I would add a frozen quart bottle every 8 to 12 hours or so and could maintain 65f pretty well. The key for you I think is timing. If you can brew early on a Saturday so that you can really manage the fermentation when it starts that evening or early Sunday then you will be keeping the ferment under control for the most vital phase. Most esters and and other off flavors are produced in the first two days of the ferment. After that you just leave it in the bath that will get you around 70. This all assuming you have weekends off...you really just need a day or so to be able to manage the start of fermentation.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: majorvices on July 28, 2014, 02:11:01 PM
Why don't you like Chico?

You have to filter it to get bright beer. I don't see any reason to use it when you can get a similar flavor profile out of something more flocculent.

I don't use Chico a lot but when I do I can get it to drop clear with finings. Just sayin'.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: ram5ey on July 28, 2014, 02:24:37 PM
Why don't you like Chico?

You have to filter it to get bright beer. I don't see any reason to use it when you can get a similar flavor profile out of something more flocculent.

I don't use Chico a lot but when I do I can get it to drop clear with finings. Just sayin'.


I hope this discussion doesn't put a strain on your relationship...
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: majorvices on July 28, 2014, 05:12:28 PM
yuk yuk :D
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: klickitat jim on July 28, 2014, 06:22:30 PM
What is a cool brewing bag?


I bought one after seeing it at the NHC, but anything similar would work, too:

http://www.cool-brewing.com

Now see, I thought a cool brewing bag would be one made with real tree cammo material, and stainless steel rivets. Maybe some pouches for your refractometer and such. I was WAY off.
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: ynotbrusum on July 28, 2014, 06:48:22 PM
That's the deluxe model, Jim, the "Super Cool Brewing Bag"!
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: klickitat jim on July 29, 2014, 05:47:01 AM
Righteous
Title: Re: Warmer constant temps vs fluctuating cooler temps for fermenting?
Post by: beerlord on July 30, 2014, 03:54:30 PM
I bought one after seeing it at the NHC, but anything similar would work, too:

http://www.cool-brewing.com
I have 2 of these now and in my 78 degree house in the summer, 2 quart frozen bottles keep my temps 65-66 by changing them out every 12 hours or so. Last fall, while still warm in my area, I was able to keep temps right at 60 with 4 bottles going after a few days to reach that temperature.
This week, I put one bag inside the other to see what would happen and my fermenter did fit and 1 quart bottle keeps it at 68 changing every 12 hours. 
For me the trick is to chill my beer (with a pump  and ice after using tap water in the chiller) to 65 to get started. Then when fermentation gets going and wants to go above 70, I've already had 2 frozen jugs in place to keep things below 70.
I've used them almost 2 years now.