Staying cool

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Acrid, May 19, 2014.

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  1. Acrid

    Acrid Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2013 California

    So I'm having trouble controlling temp. Don't have a fridge to cool either. Heard of digging a hole a putting it in the ground but that sounds like a high contamination chance. Live in California and heat is constant. Any other option I can try.? Insulated box?Or a heat tolerant yeast?
     
  2. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Try playing some Miles Davis?
     
  3. Mongrel

    Mongrel Crusader (761) Feb 14, 2013 Maryland

    Haven't tried it, but I've heard that one of the popular methods is to wrap a bunch of wet t-shirts and towels around your fermenter and point an electric fan at it. You have to re-soak the towels every half-day or so, I believe.
     
  4. BumpkinBrewer

    BumpkinBrewer Disciple (321) Jan 6, 2010 Massachusetts

    Google "swamp cooler"
     
  5. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    On a serious note, and kind of touched on by Mongrel, maybe try a zeer pot setup.
     
  6. kennyg

    kennyg Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2007 Illinois

    Swamp cooler works. Better to get a chest freezer/Johnson controller.

    I was able to score a chest freezer on FreeCycle. Sure it was 20+yrs old and died after 1.5yrs of use but it was FREE. I've since picked up a 7ft^3 chest freezer for $169. Or check craigslist for chest freezers, you never know what people are getting rid of.
     
  7. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (336) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Even a new chest freezer is not necessarily a big-budget item, IMO. Do it. You won't regret it. And even if you give up brewing, there are other uses for a chest freezer.
     
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  8. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Wait. What is really going on here? There are replies about chest freezers and the OP is talking about digging holes in the ground??? I'm just trying to see the big picture. Do you have access to electric or are you trying to cool this without? I mean, if you have electric, fuck the MacGyver shit and get a used chest freezer and temp controller.
     
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  9. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (336) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Homebrewers are a DIY bunch. MacGuyver is a role model. As to the OP's plan to dig a hole, well that's probably a California thing.
     
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  10. atpca

    atpca Zealot (535) Jun 10, 2013 California
    Trader

    Free appliances are like free puppies. The beer fridge(s) are a big chunk of my utility bill. And that's set at cellar temps.
     
  11. hoptualBrew

    hoptualBrew Initiate (0) May 29, 2011 Florida

    What temp you keep your house at?
     
  12. ssam

    ssam Aspirant (284) Dec 2, 2008 California

    You can keep it in an ice bath-- in an actual bathtub or other large bucket. I think that's the 'swamp cooler' method others are mentioning.

    Some heat tolerant yeast I frequently use (cuz I have this same problem) are hefeweizen yeasts, and california lager yeast. It still isn't supposed to tolerate 80, but pretty much anything below that isn't terrible, and even 80 will work for beer if you're desperate.
     
  13. koopa

    koopa Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    #13 koopa, May 20, 2014
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,752) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

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  15. koopa

    koopa Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    Fair enough. California would be $45 per year according to this chart....

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_5_6_a

    February 2014 rates in California were just over 16 cents per kilowatthour and that chest freezer quote is based on 277 kwh of use per year.
     
    #15 koopa, May 20, 2014
    Last edited: May 20, 2014
  16. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (891) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia


    Must be frugal, and don't use shit for electricity, or have a TON of freezers!! hah!

    I've got 3, freezers in my garage. One is around a year old, another is probably 6 years old and the other.. hell I was pulling popsicles out of that bitch when I was 12, and I'm just about 30.

    That said, All but one are pretty darn cold. Ones' a keezer, the other a full blown freezer for hops and food, and the other is a fermentation freezer that goes from 70-34* at various times, and they aren't shit for my electric bill. I'm under $275 in the summer normally for my bill. Thats with a wife who's home during the week, and cooling/running a 3100sq ft home with 2 units.

    I'm looking to upgrade the two oldies soon and curious to see how much my usage drops.
     
  17. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (336) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Interesting numbers, though there can be dramatic variations depending on the supplier, particularly in areas where you're not forced to buy your electricity from a regulated utility. I'm in Illinois. My rate is 5.3 cents + about 2 cents for delivery. (Alas, that's likely to increase with the cost of NG this year.)

    Back to the point - Due to the laws of Physics, chest freezers are far more energy efficient than upright. The observation of the cost to operate an upright beer fridge don't apply.
     
  18. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,966) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
    Society

    I'm feeling obtuse this morning. What are the physical underpinnings of this efficiency, and how much more efficient are we talking?
     
  19. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (336) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Cold air is denser than warm air, so it's heavier. When you open the door of an upright fridge, the cold air literally falls out, to be replaced by warmer ambient air. The compressor kicks in to fix it. A chest freezer opens on top, so the cold air tends to stay inside. That's why you see open freezer cases in the grocery store.

    As to how much more efficient, I don't know, but I believe it's considerable, particularly when used as a keg cooler where you don't have 7.2 cu ft of frozen meat buffering the temperature swings.
     
  20. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,668) May 21, 2010 Texas
    Society

    During those years of teenage angst, you need to lock yourself in your room and learn to play guitar. Then you'll be really cool. :sunglasses:
     
  21. sarcastro

    sarcastro Aspirant (222) Sep 20, 2006 Michigan

    Just tell it to be like Fonzie. Everyone and everything wants to be like Fonzie.

     
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  22. jivex5k

    jivex5k Initiate (0) Apr 13, 2011 Florida

    I use this and frozen water bottles, works great:
    https://www.cool-brewing.com/

    Don't really have the space for a chest freezer, and coupled with a johnson controller I was looking at ~ 160 bucks, so this saved me 100 bucks. But if you have the funds a chest freezer will be much better.
     
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  23. mikehartigan

    mikehartigan Disciple (336) Apr 9, 2007 Illinois

    Dude. I own 5 guitars, I drive a Hummer, and I brew my own beer. Cool is not a problem :grinning:
     
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  24. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,668) May 21, 2010 Texas
    Society

    Rock on then. And Cheers!
    [​IMG]

    p.s. I own entirely too many guitars. But I still want more. :grinning:
     
  25. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    You lost me at Hummer:slight_frown:
     
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  26. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    The wet t-shirt trick works. It will bring the internal temp down 5-10 degrees, in my experience. Set carboy in tray, put t-shirt over carboy, wet t-shirt thoroughly and leave an inch or two of water in the tray, allowing water to wick up. Periodically check to make sure t-shirt doesn't dry out. Nothing to it.

    I've never heard of burying a carboy, though it'd probably work. Sanitation shouldn't be a problem, if the carboy is sanitized and sealed, but digging the damn hole and pulling the beer in and out of it would be a major pain in the ass.

    Eventually, you're going to want to get some kind of cooler or refrigerator. Watch craigslist.
     
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,752) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Something I posted before:

    My homebrewing area (utility room in my half basement) is a bit too warm now (ambient about 72-73°F). My preference is to ferment my Wit beers around 70°F (although 72°F would be OK). So, since fermentation is an exothermic reaction (it produces heat) I need to ‘manage’ the fermentation temperature. Right now I am able to do that by simply placing my bucket on the basement floor; the basement floor operates like a heat sink drawing the ‘excess’ heat away. I will just use the ‘floor method’ unless the fermentation temperature exceeds 72°F. If that occurs I will place my fermenter in a shallow Rubbermaid pan (about 5 inches tall) and put water in the pan. The presence of water increases the heat sink effect by cooling a couple more degrees. If I should need even more cooling I will place a towel (or a T-shirt) around the bucket for evaporative cooling. If even more cooling is needed I add a fan to the mix. If even more cooling is required I add some ice to the water; refreezable blue ice blocks.

    Cheers!
     
  28. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,032) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Just a little curious... since you make your starters just like you make your beer (and thus pitch the whole starter into the beer wort without undue worry), how do you control the temps of your starters?
     
  29. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,752) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Any technique that maintains a proper fermentation temperature for a beer will also maintain a proper temperature for a yeast starter. A yeast starter is simply a mini-beer; or at least it is a mini-beer for me.

    Cheers!
     
  30. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,032) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    That's what I was curiuous about. So you use towels/t-shirts/fans/ice with your starters? And ice allows pretty precise temp control (at a temp much higher than the ice), even acting on such a small thermal mass? Seems to me that would be pretty hard to control.
     
  31. koopa

    koopa Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey

    How could you use the "floor technique" for your starters if by chance you use a stir plate?
     
  32. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,032) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I don't think JackHorzempa uses a stirplate. But I am very curious about how well all those techniques can actually regulate (without overshooting) something so small as a starter.
     
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