Author Topic: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters  (Read 1140 times)

Offline safi

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Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« on: November 19, 2012, 08:56:45 AM »
hi new brewer here, as im getting close to starting my first batch im having worries about keeping my fermenter at proper temps, now the whole house is usually below 65, when no one is home then heats up to 68 when im home, now my question is, what do i do to get my fermenter above those temps? much thanks appreciated
Dani

Offline thebigbaker

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 09:01:20 AM »
hi new brewer here, as im getting close to starting my first batch im having worries about keeping my fermenter at proper temps, now the whole house is usually below 65, when no one is home then heats up to 68 when im home, now my question is, what do i do to get my fermenter above those temps? much thanks appreciated

Congrats on starting your first batch!  I believe those temps should be fine with most ales.  I usually ferment most of my ales in the mid 60s.  I've got my house set for 67 and I keep my fermenting beers in the basement where its a few degrees cooler.  There are a few yeast strains that do better at higher temps, Saisons for example.  What beer will you be brewing and what yeast will you be using?
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Online davidgzach

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 09:03:06 AM »
hi new brewer here, as im getting close to starting my first batch im having worries about keeping my fermenter at proper temps, now the whole house is usually below 65, when no one is home then heats up to 68 when im home, now my question is, what do i do to get my fermenter above those temps? much thanks appreciated

Why do you want your fermenter above those temps? 
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Offline gmac

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 09:05:06 AM »
Some people use bru-belts (not sure i'm spelling that right but google it).  Some build fermentation chambers with a heater/light bulb in them.  Some use a water bath with an aquarium heater to heat the water and thus the beer. 

Personally, I don't worry much about 65 vs 68 or 70 unless I want esters in my beer.  Depends on the yeast etc that you are using and what you want out of it.  Most of my beer is WLP007 and I'm fine with it being a touch cleaner at the cooler temps.  I have had stalled ferments with some English yeast and in that case, I put a heating pad between two glass carboys and warmed them both up a bit.

What yeast are you gonna use and what do you want to accomplish?  Remember, if your house is at 65, actively fermenting yeast will raise the beer a couple degrees anyway so you'll be 67-68 in the carboy.  Perfect for most ales in my opinion. 

If you're worried about temp fluctuations, I don't think 3 degrees is going to mean jack squat.  The beer will be slower to heat up/cool down just cause of mass of liquid.  Put it in a water bath and it will fluctuate even less cause of the larger mass.  But really, I wouldn't worry much about this small a change on your first batch.  It'll be fine. 
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 09:07:47 AM by gmac »

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 09:08:15 AM »
+1 to what others have said. any of the strategies GMAC suggested are great but as everyone said, you are a lucky guy! unless you are into saison you can brew outstanding ale at the temps you keep your space anyway.
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Online yso191

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 10:51:43 AM »
Yeah, I'd say the temperature fluctuation is a bigger deal than the range you mentioned.

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Offline safi

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2012, 05:22:00 PM »
sorry i should have specified more clearer, so my basement usually sits at temps of 59 now i was wondering if this would effect the fermenting process at all, and havent decided yet, of what beer i want to brew first, i was thinking either Dark or Amber, leaning towards Amber however, anyone suggest a good starting kit, and a place that sells relatively fresh kits. much thanks again
Dani

Offline gmac

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2012, 10:03:15 PM »
At 59, you may want to go with a lager instead of an ale.  I'm betting a cali common with WY2112 (or the WLP equiv) would do great.  Or any sort of pseudo lager with a clean ale yeast that would go that low (WLP001 should from what I recall from other threads).  Or pick a clean lager strain like Mexican and see what happens.
Put your fermenter in a water bath and drop in a frozen soda bottle each morning and you'll make great lager.  There are guys on here who'd kill to have a spot that cold (not me though...garage is a perfect 50 degrees right now).  You can cool it a bit and make lager, warm it a bit and make ale or leave it alone and make a great hybrid beer.

Can't help you with the kits but I keep hearing Northern Brewer mentioned.

Online davidgzach

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 06:23:45 AM »
I would definitely start with an Ale upstairs or a Steam Beer in the basement.  Your upstairs is perfect for just about any ale yeast and the basement is perfect for Wyeast 2112/White Labs 810 SanFran Lager. 

Northern Brewer or Midwest Supplies would be a great start for kits and questions along the way.  Midwest has always treated me very well.

Enjoy your first brew!

Dave
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Offline safi

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 07:03:54 PM »
thanks guys, i may have to go with the water bath, if my temps are below the suggested Temp range, still dont know which beer i would like to brew first
Dani

Offline guido

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Re: Fermentation Control During Cold Winters
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 07:43:58 PM »
Winter hasn't really kicked in, but thus far I'm having great results putting my carboys in Ingloo coolers with a water bath and an aquarium heater.  The heater is meant for 30-60 gallons.  I have them in an unheated garage, and the temps are holding 68F steady. The thermostat is only on 1/4 of the way, so I could get a lot more heat if needed.  I don't know what will happen once a big cold snap kicks in, but the results have been wwonderful thus far.
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