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pwizard
12-06-2015, 03:36 PM
Now that I'm running my heater, the spare bathroom I made my first batch in is too hot for brewing; I'd get lots of fusels/funky tastes for sure if I do it in there right now. However, I have one alternative that wasn't available to me earlier: the garage.

I would never, ever dream of doing this in the summer (or early autumn) but now that we're in December I think it would be ok to put my primary pail out in my unheated garage when I do my next batch. Daily high temperatures haven't exceeded 70 for this past week and nightly temperatures have been in the 40s (and even 30s), though the garage doesn't get that cold unless the door is open for a while. It gets pretty cold in there at night, but I don't think it's cold enough to crash the yeast since there is some insulation. Keeping the environment under 70 won't be a problem most days so it's the best way I can think of to get fusel-free mead.

Right now, the area I was planning to put the bucket is pretty dirty but should be fine after I give it a good cleaning today. Does this sound like a good idea?

Squatchy
12-06-2015, 10:10 PM
Why not just turn of the heater in the bathroom if it's a "spare"?

EbonHawk
12-06-2015, 11:17 PM
Not to me it doesn't. I'd rather ferment a tad warm than put my precious brews in an area where the temperatures is most likely to fluctuate significantly. The ups and downs of a garage would be detrimental to most fermentations. But that's just me.

Stasis
12-07-2015, 01:09 AM
Wow that's a lot of fluctuation. We get nothing near that here in Malta. Are you sure the garage temp actually goes through those swings? I think a fermentation pale full of an active must will have a much more stable temp. Can't say how much more stable myself though

EbonHawk
12-07-2015, 01:22 AM
I get those temp swings here in this area and I did store two batches of beer in the garage for fermentation because I thought it would stay below 70 in the daytime and not go below 40 at night (and it didn't) but both of them were the worst beers I ever made. Just weird tasting and undrinkable.

My wort temps would range from around 68 down to 52 and back up again, depending on how cold it got and for how long (whether it carried on into the day time). I don't recommend brewing in areas with large fluctuations like that. And that was two beers; meads are notoriously more finicky.

pwizard
12-07-2015, 08:30 AM
It's central heat. I can't just turn it off without affecting the whole house.

mannye
12-07-2015, 09:37 AM
If my air conditioner turns off the temp will go from 68 to 95 in about an hour. This is why I equipped the TARDIS (my brewing cave formerly know as "the garage") with two large chest freezers I use to age and ferment. Each one sports a Johnson Controls temperature controller that keeps both at 65F with a plus or minus of three degrees.

It's initially an expensive hit considering the cost of the freezers and temp cntrollers, but over the last two years since the TARDIS was completed, it has saved a lot of mead and money. Recent air conditioning issues may force me to also get some large wine coolers so the stuff that's in bottles also gets protected from large swings in temps.

Trust me...too cold is much better than too hot. All cold does is slow down fermentation, which might actually improve the end result, or do nothing. Heat causes all sorts of flavor problems because IMO (I haven't researched this) swings to high temps are way more damaging than swings to low temps. Although all fluctuations probably stress the yeast.

pwizard
12-07-2015, 08:17 PM
From what people have said thus far, the garage sounds like a bad idea. I already cleaned out the space I was planning to use out there but it needed cleaning anyway. Ah well.

I shut the ceiling vent in that bathroom, hopefully that will keep the warm air out so I can brew if I keep the fermenter iced down like last time. I can also turn the heat down to about 66/67-- that's as much as I can stand indoors. I wish I had a brew fridge or some other temperature-controlled space but I just don't have enough extra space or money for it. While I'm wishing for things, it would be nice to have a professional-grade conical fermenting unit (those only cost most of what I make in a year, so I should get two of them!)

JDWebb
12-08-2015, 11:54 PM
Here's one of my Rube Goldberg ideas...

Using an STC-1000 digital controller, you can control both heat and cool. Since heat rises, I'd place a heating pad under the carboy, and use copper tubing to wrap around the upper part of the carboy (cold water sinks). I run a simple submersible fountain pump to pump ice water from an ice chest through the tubing. The controller has a thermocouple that is inserted in a thermowell that controls when the pump starts and stops, and I use an insulated wrap around the carboys.

Wingnut
12-12-2015, 02:02 AM
Here's one of my Rube Goldberg ideas...

Using an STC-1000 digital controller, you can control both heat and cool. Since heat rises, I'd place a heating pad under the carboy, and use copper tubing to wrap around the upper part of the carboy (cold water sinks). I run a simple submersible fountain pump to pump ice water from an ice chest through the tubing. The controller has a thermocouple that is inserted in a thermowell that controls when the pump starts and stops, and I use an insulated wrap around the carboys.
Ok Rube,
give it a try and let us know how it works, because
I'm thinking you might be on to something.
Maybe a arduino or Raspberry Pi controller? Maybe one of those small fridges to cool the water and the microcontroller to run the setup? I think I saw a water jacket type of device one time for......can't remember. Vinyl tube in a wrap around jacket made of that reflective bubble wrap. Velcro straps.
BTW it ain't Goldberg if it works for you.
This is why I love this blog.


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Stasis
12-12-2015, 05:56 AM
Or just wrap it up when the air starts getting cooler at night? How much of a difference would that make? If you manage to make a foam mold the heat produced by the mead should combat the night cold, while the foam also protects it. Wake up in the morning and take it back out of its insulation. Maybe a yeast that is generally unaffected by temp could help. I use k1v when it's too hot. Maybe its wide range makes it more resilient to fluctuations too

Stasis
12-12-2015, 05:59 AM
66/67 is good. I fermented with k1v up to 80 without producing fusels

EbonHawk
12-12-2015, 08:51 AM
I think I saw a water jacket type of device one time for......can't remember. Vinyl tube in a wrap around jacket made of that reflective bubble wrap. Velcro straps.That's basically the same setup they use at the local brewery here. A jacketed fermenter with a bubble-wrap outer covering and a layer of tubing under that against the tank walls, hooked up to a thermostat and a pump that pushes refrigerated water through it. He told me the limits of how cold it would go, but I don't remember the specifics. Probably right above whatever water temp the refrigeration unit could provide, or close to it. I think the last one I saw, he had it set to 57, but don't quote me on that. Seemed to work like charm.

JDWebb
12-12-2015, 12:14 PM
Ok Rube,
give it a try and let us know how it works, because
I'm thinking you might be on to something.
Maybe a arduino or Raspberry Pi controller? Maybe one of those small fridges to cool the water and the microcontroller to run the setup? I think I saw a water jacket type of device one time for......can't remember. Vinyl tube in a wrap around jacket made of that reflective bubble wrap. Velcro straps.
BTW it ain't Goldberg if it works for you.
This is why I love this blog.


I am using it! All except the heat part which I don't need here in SoCal. I wouldn't use vinyl tubing, its a poor heat/cold conductor. My carboys are wrapped in 40 feet of 3/8" copper tubing, with an insulated jacket around them.

http://www.jamesdwebb.com/images/mead1.jpg http://www.jamesdwebb.com/images/mead4.jpg

Squatchy
12-12-2015, 06:19 PM
If you can put your fermentors in the tub in your spare bath room ,, and the house temps are 66-68 you can keep the temps 60-64 pretty easy buy dumping/adding cold water. When it gets to 66 you can bring that down to 60 in just a half hour or so by dumping your water,,,, or just adding more cold water. Water temps in mass like in the tub move pretty slow if the ambient temps are fairly consistent. I can keep my temps within 4 degrees during the entire ferment without much hassle at all.

pwizard
12-12-2015, 06:42 PM
It's a half bath (toilet, sink and not much else), so no tub. Unfortunately, the toilet got rank because the water in the tank got stagnant (it hadn't been used in a long time). A few days ago I emptied out the tank as much as I could and poured some bleach in there to kill the stink. The room still smells like bleach but it shouldn't harm the mead since I'm using an airlock.

Wingnut
12-13-2015, 09:11 PM
Oh that is just awesome!
That is some serious science in action!
Gotcha on the heat transfer coefficient of the tubing. Copper is good. Aluminum is better but a pain to work with.
So if need be this could cycle back and forth from cool to warm to keep the temp constant?



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JDWebb
12-13-2015, 09:54 PM
Oh that is just awesome!
That is some serious science in action!
Gotcha on the heat transfer coefficient of the tubing. Copper is good. Aluminum is better but a pain to work with.
So if need be this could cycle back and forth from cool to warm to keep the temp constant?


Yes, you can plug a heat pad into the controller if you needed heat beyond ambient. I have had 78 ambient temps in the house and have been able to maintain 58 temps on the carboys and have had it as low as 55. The higher the ambient, the more frequent the ice change. Block ice works best, and I'm working on either putting a container of water in a small fridge or getting a Yeti cooler.

Wingnut
01-21-2016, 01:11 AM
Yes, you can plug a heat pad into the controller if you needed heat beyond ambient. I have had 78 ambient temps in the house and have been able to maintain 58 temps on the carboys and have had it as low as 55. The higher the ambient, the more frequent the ice change. Block ice works best, and I'm working on either putting a container of water in a small fridge or getting a Yeti cooler.
I showed this post to a friend of mine who is a home brewer and he was pretty impressed and was planning to try to make something himself.
Thanks again for sharing!

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