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ThatGuyJay
07-02-2011, 02:46 PM
Hello,

I've examined the newbee guide and I'm ready to get fermentin'. My plan is to make a couple one-gal batches with a friend just using regular honey and glass jugs, since it's my first mead project.

The thing is, I'm in CA and it's the summer. Even with the AC crankin' it's going to get to the low 80s in the house for a little while during the hottest part of 100+ degree days. And once it's time to age, I read I want to keep it around 60 degrees.

So my question is, what is an inexpensive and low maintenance (I work during the day) way to regulate the temperature to be maintained at a constant enough range, that you can recommend a newbee?

I gotta figure this out before I rack or I won't have anywhere to age ???

Sorry if this is a repost.

Loadnabox
07-02-2011, 02:49 PM
the most consistent method is a chest freezer with an external temperature control, but this will cost you at least $120 for freezer and controller together.

There's the less consistent but effective evaporative cooling method.

Doing a search for either should provide results, I know there's been a couple of threads very recently on each. Searching just the titles and putting quotes around your search word will help to achieve good search results.

Chevette Girl
07-02-2011, 03:05 PM
I haven't tried it yet myself but the bargain basement cooling method is sit your carboy in a tub of water and put a t-shirt over it, the water wicks up through the t-shirt and evaporation cools the carboy, add a fan and you're good to go. You'd have to ask the folks who've done it to see whether you need the fan or if the evaporation alone would be enough, it may well be sufficient if you've got AC. I cheat and hide everything in my basement where the temp rarely exceeds 75F.

And welcome to the forum!

akueck
07-02-2011, 04:38 PM
Move to the coast. :)

I suppose that's a little pricey, so as mentioned the easiest way is to put the whole thing in a large tub of water. The mass of the water will keep the temperature moving slowly. I rotate ice packs from the bath to the freezer and back to keep the temperature down. In the morning I toss a freezer pack in and take the one in there out and put it back in the freezer. When I get home, swap them. (You can use water bottles, etc as freezer packs.) Keep it out of the sun, and in the basement if possible. You might find you need two bottles of ice, or three, or whatever.

The best advice I have is to cool it before you add the yeast. It takes a long time to cool down initially, but then it becomes not too bad to keep it there. If you start it off warm and then have to fight the heat, you're going to be a lot more stressed out than if you just cool it leisurely first. You can safely mix the must and leave it well-covered for a day without risking infection (as long as your sanitation is sound). I did this with my semi-lager beers earlier this year to get the temperature down into the 50s and it worked great.

sarend
07-02-2011, 07:27 PM
I fermented my two most recent batches using homemade evap. cooling. I purchased a shallow bin from Wal-Mart, filled it with 5 inches of water, placed the plastic fermenter into the water, drapped a cotton T-shirt (wet) over the fermenter and placed a floor fan by it on High. I had a consistant 6-7degree temperature drop for the must.

Now, you will need to keep adding water every evening as it evaporates. And, during my last batch I added ice cubes in the late morning and afternoon--well, my wife did while I was at work. The temp. climbed pretty high here in AZ.

My room was a consistant 73-74 degrees F. The external adhesive thermometer read 61 degrees F under the wet shirt, while the must registered 66-67 degrees F. With ice additions, the external adhesive thermometer lowered to 59 degrees F. All-in-all, it worked, but there was as small effort to keep the water level up and some ice added on the hot days.


Stephen

ThatGuyJay
07-03-2011, 04:29 PM
thank you all for getting back to me. I'll go with that then, water in the bucket with a wet shirt. That seems pretty easy.

What's a basement? I live in California :p

Chevette Girl
07-03-2011, 04:51 PM
Californians don't have basements? (you'll have to pardon my ignorance, I've never been more than about 600 km from Ottawa)

Loadnabox
07-03-2011, 05:09 PM
Californians don't have basements? (you'll have to pardon my ignorance, I've never been more than about 600 km from Ottawa)


Arizona is the same way. the ground tends to be clay like and extremely hard. in az it takes so much time and money to dig a basement that its cheaper just to add a second story to the building

kudapucat
07-03-2011, 06:17 PM
Basements are not as common as Hollywood would have us believe.
They are nigh on non-existant here in Australia. - especially the weird slanted external entry to a basement.
We sometimes have cellars, cos we love our grog so much.

I believe they're only common place in natural disaster prone places.
After the recent bushfires (wildfires to our US brethren) may ppl in the bush are building fire bunkers in the same way basements protect from cyclones and tornadoes and hurricanes and such.

Chevette Girl
07-04-2011, 01:13 AM
Huh. Weird. Most houses build around here today have poured concrete foundations that include basements where often laundry machines, water heaters and furances are located, most of the older houses I know at least have stone or cinderblock structured crawlspaces underneath the house accessible via trapdoor, somewhere to put the well pump, water heater and furnace, as well as storage for wines, veggies and preserves (root cellar)... It's also some insulation against the cold, generally any place you don't have a basemen under is going to be colder in winter... I know for my parents' house (built in '78 ) they had to blast through bedrock, but that's standard operating procedure 'cause Canada's all built on the same rock :) And none of those slant-door exterior thingies here either, I think those are for places that don't get snow, I think I've only ever seen that in the (American) movies involving hurricanes and tornadoes!

1k_wayne
07-04-2011, 01:48 AM
Basements are common where it freezes in the winter, you need to get the foundation below the frost line. In the southern US and west coast it's less than a foot, in Ottawa, it's about 4 ft.

kudapucat
07-04-2011, 05:28 AM
Wow. Some interesting trivia here...
Furnaces are another odd US thing. We have central heating. Usually gas and always outside-by law I think, think pumped in.

AToE
07-04-2011, 03:52 PM
Pretty much every single building in my end of Canada, house or any other building, has a basement here. I could count the number of homes without one I've seen in my whole life on probably 1 hand.

We have furnaces here too. It's uh, kinda cold here sometimes. ;)

Loadnabox
07-05-2011, 09:04 AM
Huh. Weird. Most houses build around here today have poured concrete foundations that include basements where often laundry machines, water heaters and furances are located, most of the older houses I know at least have stone or cinderblock structured crawlspaces underneath the house accessible via trapdoor, somewhere to put the well pump, water heater and furnace, as well as storage for wines, veggies and preserves (root cellar)... It's also some insulation against the cold, generally any place you don't have a basemen under is going to be colder in winter... I know for my parents' house (built in '78 ) they had to blast through bedrock, but that's standard operating procedure 'cause Canada's all built on the same rock :) And none of those slant-door exterior thingies here either, I think those are for places that don't get snow, I think I've only ever seen that in the (American) movies involving hurricanes and tornadoes!

The exterior doors are found here in Ohio but generally are only found on MUCH older farm houses (At least 100+ years old) Basements themselves are fairly common here though I don't have one, and this house was built in the 50's.



Wow. Some interesting trivia here...
Furnaces are another odd US thing. We have central heating. Usually gas and always outside-by law I think, think pumped in.

Furnace is a pretty generic term here indicating a central heating source in the house, sometimes forced air, sometimes not. It can be fuel oil, coal (both very uncommon anymore), Natural gas, propane, Electric, and becoming slowly more common, compressed wood chip, and biofuel (whole corn kernels)

Heat Pump units which are extremely common in the southwest are basically unheard of here, as below 32Fi their heating efficiency quickly drops below that of plain electric. Heat pumps are just AC units with a bi-directional valve that can reverse the flow of coolant in the system turning the coils outside the house into the evaporator instead of the condenser and vice versa the interior coils.

Braxton
07-05-2011, 10:11 AM
This seems to have turned into a thread on basements, but to add my opinion to the original temperature question: I've found temperature during primary fermentation to be much, much more important than the temperature during aging or secondary fermentation. Fermenting at too hot a temperature can definitely render a batch undrinkable, but while a secondary or aging period at 80 degrees is not optimal, it's not going to ruin the batch. So concentrate your temperature controlling efforts on the primary fermentation is my advice.

Medsen Fey
07-05-2011, 10:48 AM
In Florida, basement = "indoor swimming pool." ;D
Few place in Florida have enough room above the water table to allow a basement.


I've found temperature during primary fermentation to be much, much more important than the temperature during aging or secondary fermentation.

I agree. The temperature control during fermentation is critical. Optimal storage for aging would be at a nice, cool 57 F, but I keep most of my stuff stored at 75-78 F and meads general can tolerate that without much problem. If you run it up to the 90s, you'll tend to get sherry odors (or aromas if you like them) within weeks to months.

Storing delicate melomels at high temp is more likely to lead to disappointment than storing traditionals. Also, when storing sweet batches in the heat, expect the yeast to restart and plan accordingly.

TheAlchemist
07-05-2011, 11:54 AM
The exterior doors are found here in Ohio but generally are only found on MUCH older farm houses (At least 100+ years old) Basements themselves are fairly common here though I don't have one, and this house was built in the 50's.



My Grandparents had a cellar door. When we were very young, I dropped it on my brother's head. He still has the scar. Isn't Family Love Grand?