View Full Version : summer heat and brewing

Muirghein Tarot
05-29-2006, 09:58 PM
I keep reading in posts people saying that fermenting at higher temperatures can stress the yeasts and cause a fuels taste in mead. Has anyone had trouble with this? I'm from mid Alabama and the summer is about to start to crank here in full STEAM! I have a place for long term storage that may stay cooler but my kitchen where I keep the fermenter (space under microwave) can get into the 90-95 range no mater what my air conditioner is set to. If I have to I can do my mead making in spring, fall, and winter and just store over the summer, but money for hobies is better in the summer months.
What I am basically asking is when is it to hot to brew?
Thanks for your help,

99degrees 99%humidity here I come!!

05-29-2006, 10:27 PM
(Needs Oskaars expertise)

I would avoid the fast fermenting yeasts (EC-1118, K1V-1116) and go for slower, lower attenuation yeasts, because the heat will help them go faster and further.
And make sure they have enough nutrients, to avoid H2S and other undesireables.

Another thing to do is evaporative cooling: sit the carboy in a water container, and drape towels over the carboy and into the water, so that the water soaks into the towels and evaporates, thus cooling the carboy. Of course, this is less effective in a humid environment :-\

05-29-2006, 11:42 PM

I fermented all last summer here in the American southwest, with daytime temps averaging in the 90's+, and a large batch of JAO got fermented during a heatwave, when daytime temps were 100+. The fusels were present in nearly every batch, with the JAO tasting like underarm deodorant for months until it aged out. If you have a storage place that's cooler than the kitchen, can't you ferment there too, even if you have to move the carboys after you fill them? Otherwise, waiting out the heat might be a wise move.


05-30-2006, 12:08 AM
I've had mixed results making mead in the summer months.

Some things that might help;

Selecting yeast which will do well in the temp range you have to work with ~ http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/strains.asp ~

Storing working fermentors in the coolest spot in your home. For me it's a corner of the dining room which stays 15-20F cooler then it is outside.

If money is more plentiful in the summer months, stock up on honey, equipment and supplies while the work is there, and plan your brewing/mazing for the off season.

Should you deside to make mead during the cooler months, be sure to select yeast for the temp range of your home during these months.

High temps can be as much a problem for storing mead as they are for making it.

I've seen neoprene jackets for carboys, I don't know how well or if they work but it might be worth looking into.

I prefer the faster fermentation times of the warmer months.

And I agree with JamesP, Oskaar is likely have sound advice on this.


Muirghein Tarot
05-30-2006, 12:25 AM
The cooler place is a six foot crawl space under my house it stays in the 60s for most of the year i was going to put the carboys in a rubbermaid pack them in packing peanuts move them into place and tape down the top of the rubermaid once I was sure there was nothing blocking the air-locks. Not realy a place I want to try fermenting. I mean it's dry and cool, there isn't any mold or anything like that there. Just the resident spiders and camel crickets, ie the taped down top. So far I'm not brewing in large enough carboys for the moving to be a hassel but I can see that changing. I want to do up till the secondary has shown not signs of activity before moving them there for long term.
The up side of using the crawl space is nealy 1000 square foot of used storage space that stays cool all year. My grandmother use to store canned food there when I was a kid.

05-30-2006, 09:24 AM
Sounds like a great storage space.


05-30-2006, 03:38 PM
That's a really nice space you describe -- and not so good for fermenting, like you said. Oh, well. You can always modify an old fridge with a temp gauge (http://morewinemaking.com/product.html?product_id=16663) designed for fermenting. There are also thermo regulators that do the job (here's one that's on eBay (http://cgi.ebay.com/Thermoelectric-Fermenter-Kit-LOOK_W0QQitemZ4465128958QQcategoryZ38172QQssPageNa meZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) -- the link will be dead after a while, but it's the kind of thing I mean). These cost money, of course, but you can ferment all year round with them. I have plans and schemes in this regard myself, once we get settled in the new place.


06-03-2006, 03:54 PM
Here's a possibility. I've done this before brewing beer with lager yeast with good success.

The air coming from my air conditioner is about 45 degrees. I cut a hole in the bottom a cardboard box large enough to cover a floor vent and leave the top folded in to close itself. I place my carboy inside this box. The 45 degree air does a good job keeping everything inside pretty cool. The temperature increases at night when the AC isn't running but during the day everything stays cool. Try to use a box double or triple the volume of your carboy to hold onto some of the cold air between AC cycles.

All the Best,
Doug White

06-05-2006, 09:15 AM
Hi Muirghein,
I too am from central Alabama and yes the summers here are brutal.

Is your kitchen cabinet on an exterior wall, if it is, I have noticed that temps inside a cabinent on an exterior wall are signifigantly higher or lower, depending on the season, than the average inside air temp. This is mostly due to lack of air circulation through the cabinets.

Have you tried to leave the cabinent door open? or you might want to just leave the carboy sitting on the kitchen counter or on top of an air vent or just buy a small fan to keep the air moving over the carboy.

I currently have a carboy fermenting away. It is sitting on my kitchen counter covered with a towel.

Muirghein Tarot
06-05-2006, 05:01 PM
Hi Alkane
I have moved one of the two carboys I have right now to an inside closet it should stay in the 70 to 75 range. I would do all my fermenting there but it is a linen closet and the idea of a plow out running down sheets, towels, and into the clothes hamper at the bottom of the closet is ghastly. My other carboy is a Joe's ancient orange it should be able to be moved in about two weeks( bubbles already slowing down) Then I'll pack up both and just hold off till October. Anything else I get started would be working right threw the heart of august and I just don't think it's wise to try that. I'll go to Alabrew and get a supply of Kudzu honey for little idea I have in mind. Blackberry melomel made with kudzu honey! I've got a few people looking for local honey suppliers for me and I'll grab a few larger carboys for this winter when sitting and watching bubbles is about all the rain and cold will let me do.
p.s you wouldn' be in the S.C.A. would you if you are my wife or I might know you. Thought I would ask.

06-05-2006, 05:15 PM
Cool, a blackberry melomel with Kudzu honey...sounds tasty. I think my next batch will probably be a traditional either from cotton honey or kudzu from Alabrew.

Nope, not in the S.C.A., but it would be pretty cool. My wife and I have been to several renaissance faire's and really enjoy the atmosphere.