Want to place an ad email luke@realbeer.co.nz
$50+GST / month


So, briefly, complete home brew newbie - inherited some gear from my boss and decided to start brewing this weekend. I'm a little concerned about my brew, because despite the fact that it's bubbling away OK (although not quite as enthusiastically as I'd like), I think it might be a bit hot.

I used safeale S-04, which according to the packet (which I sensibly threw away) is useful at temperatures from 14-22 (or maybe 24?) degrees. The only thing I have as a thermometer at the moment is a strip stuck to the side of the keg, which is showing 26 degrees. The thing's stuck in the corner of my bedroom, about the coolest place I could think of, and to be honest I have my doubts about it actually being 26 degrees, but that aside, is there any way of cooling the thing down?

I've already stuck a wet t-shirt over it and stood it in a tray of water, which seems to have had literally zero effect, but apart from that, I'm stumped. I don't have a garage or anything - the only other option is to leave it outside in the yard, which I don't imagine is a good idea.

I've read some stuff on the web about 'temperature controllers' which seem to consist of dismembering a fridge and fitting a whole load of new electronics to it - a bit beyond both my expertise and budget, I'm afraid. So, any other ideas?

Cheers, everybody.

Views: 157

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Yea, I have a warm brew sitting in the garage too

If you've got the wet t-shirt thing happening forget the beer and .... umm .. ok, enough of that, get a fan, direct it at the wet t-shirt, I hear it works wonders, brings the temperature down, hadn't heard of people using t-shirts, heard of towels, guess they hold more moisture

cheers, good luck, jt
Yeah... Liv, my glamorous brewing assistant, also made some humourous asides about wet t-shirts. It honestly never occurred to me.
Hi Richard - welcome to the wonderful world of brewing.

Early days, early days... I'd not worry about temp too much but you could put the fermenter in a bigger bucket with cooler water - keep adding ice, each day it's cheap if have a freezer.

I looked at your recipe on the other thread. Amber malt, sugar, a bit of styrian hops and a warm ferment - sounds a little like a Belgian Pale Ale. I'd not be too concerned about that temperature right now. Get all of the other basics right - learn about beer styles, recipe formulation and what you like. Clean, clean, clean AND sanitise, sanitise, sanitise.

There are ways to keep the temp down - and/or to get it down before you start fermenting - but before you go looking into that, you'll want to learn about beer styles and brewing technique. The packets of yeast and hops from homebrew stores don't always give the best advice.

Read heaps and try loads of different beers, whenever you get a chance.
Palmer's 'How to Brew' is a great start, with everything online.
Check out the beer styles through wikipedia, or go to the BJCP website (if you're a little more stylistically inclined).

Most of all - have fun and enjoy your beer.

Thanks, Stu, that's brilliant. I'd already checked out (bits of) Palmer, so was thoroughly anal about sterilising everything, right down to the teaspoon we used to stir the yeast. So anal, in fact, that I got worried my fermenter was smelling of bleach and proceeded to rinse it with gallons of cold water, which probably undid all my good work.

I'm not sure about learning about styles. To be honest, the brewers I have admired most in the past are Belgians like Phantome and De Dolle Brouwer, who don't (at least to my amateur eyes) appear to give a stuff what they are brewing just as long as they like it. But I would guess that not learning about styles would make me something of an outcast in the homebrew community...? Pretty much like every other community I'm a member of, then ;-).
If you learn styles and how to create them well, you'll have a better idea of how the many, many variables affect the brew. Then you can go brewing whatever random beer you like with skill!

In my opinion, if you start by throwing in anything and everything and changing every variable, you'll have a hell of a time learning how to improve your results. Learn to walk before you try to run - if continual improvement is your goal you might have more luck taking a conventional approach for starters.

I'm only on brew 10, there are a couple of variables which I feel comfortable with, but mostly I'm still trying to change little things to see what result I get (next brew: Mash temperature). Because I've been brewing mostly established styles, I can compare what I produce to past brews and/or commercial beer.

Of course YMMV. As long as you're enjoying yourself and this great hobby, it doesn't matter how the hell you brew! Welcome Richard.
Hi Richard

There is a lot to gain, even in the esoteric styles, from learning about beer styles. Styles are not made up by someone who just thought up a technical specification, they evolve from years of great beer - it's the old 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration rule. Your call in the end though. Either way, you'll not be an outcast here. Good luck.

And, by the way, good work on the low-cost cooling.

Lots of other good advice in this thread already. If you do decide to get a bit more tachnical about controlling termperatures, it's not all that hard. I picked up a secondhand fridge on TradeMe for about $40, then a temperature controller for similar bucks. Wiring it up wasn't all that hard (although the instructions aren't amazingly clear for non-electrical types). Works brilliantly - batch #3 is currently sat at a nice steady 20 degrees, which is better than the ambient 27 degrees or so that my house seems to be at. I'm planning on cold-conditioning this batch so at the weekend I'll crank the controller down to 2 degrees and leave it for a couple of weeks.

Good luck,

Martin (another newbie)
Yeah, the temp controllers can be cheap if you look around like above. I managed to sort it myself - hooking it up, fridges don't seem to be the most complicated pieces of machinery, 'specially the older ones.

Although in saying that, I'd hold on to that money for a bit, and try the t-shirt and fan. It won't be too long until autumn/winter comes round and brewing temps are a little more acceptable, and by then you'll probably have wished you spent the money elsewhere. Or buy a bigger fridge to setup for kegs.
Well, I'm very pleased to report that the wet t-shirt (actually without the application of a fan, as I don't own one!) has done the job - we're down to 22 degrees - just took 24 hours or so to get there. Doesn't seem to have made much difference to yeast activity, though - hope I haven't discouraged it permanently.

A fridge does sound like a great idea, but I'll need some space to put it first!
I think most brewers would have similar problems at themoment. Have a mild (Saf S04) with a t-shirt and just the fan from a fan heater going. Pitched at 23 deg, got to 26, now at 21 and steady. I think it will be very estery but hopefully drinkable.

The "brewing" fridge is unfortunately filled with other (non-brewing) items at the mo so can't turn the temp back up to suitable ferment temps. I got my brother to make a temp controller for me - a bit stupid really as the parts ended up costing as much as a new controller. If your really cheap one of those timer plug things can be set to maintain a relatively constant temp with a little playing.
Hey Martin, where did you get the temperature controller from in the end? I have found a couple, however they are around the $100 - $150 mark.

I am just starting into lagering using the fridge, and want to use Saflager 23 (9 - 12C) so need to control the environment!


© 2022   Created by nzbrewer.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service