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Temperature Control in Beer - How to Adjust Fermentation Temperature

March 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 75

One of the most common problems an inexperienced homebrewer encounters is controlling the fermentation temperature of the beer. A brewing newbie may even overlook this facet of the process, thinking that it's not very important. That opinion changes when that newbie has a stuck fermentation, or when the beer tastes hotter than the cheapest vodka you can buy.

As a homebrewer, you probably lack a sophisticated multi-million dollar environment control system used in industrial breweries. Here are some common methods for temperature control that you can use:

Place it in an Appropriate Room

This method requires absolutely no equipment or money, aside from your normal heating or cooling bill. If the temperature in one room of your house is appropriate, just put the beer there. Make sure the temperature in the room doesn't fluctuate very much, as that can stress the yeast. The only problem with this is that most people's homes get hotter or colder with the seasons, and that may limit when you can brew during the year.

Cooling by Evaporation

If your beer is a little warm, you can place the fermenter in a vessel filled with water, with a towel or t-shirt wrapped around the top. Make sure the towel touches the water. The towel will absorb the water and allow it to evaporate off the fermenter easier, allowing the beer to cool. The water will eventually normalize to almostthe same temperature as the beer inside the fermenter.

Ice Bath

If it's really hot, then you may need to add some ice in the evaporator mentioned above. Simply freeze water bottles with the caps still on and place them in the evaporator. Monitor it to make sure it's the correct temperature and add or remove bottles to adjust.

Refrigerator with a Temperature Controller

For a more accurate way to cool your beer, you can use a spare refrigerator or freezer. These appliances are designed to be much colder than you need your beer to be, so a temperature controller is necessary. This is a device that will turn the appliance off if it's too cold. They come in both analog and digital versions, although the digital ones are more accurate and adjustable.

Heater Wrap

If you have to keep your fermenter warm, then an easy way to do that is through an electric heater. Homebrew retailers sell specialized products that wrap around your vessel such as FermWrap. You can just as easily use an electric blanket or a similar gentle heating product. It's possible to attach a temperature controller to these devices, also. For extra warmth, add more blankets and stuff the fermenter into a tight container.

Aquarium Heater

You can also use this easily with the evaporation cooler setup described above, only without the towel as you want to prevent evaporation. Be careful though, and make sure that the heater is rated for the amount of liquid you want to heat, including the beer.

Buy Expensive Equipment

If you have the money for it, there are products for homebrewers that offer a set-it-and-forget-it approach for a few thousand dollars. You can buy a special fermentation chamber that will both heat and cool your beer with the help of a thermostat. The more high-end conical fermenters usually have these features.

Hopefully one or more of these techniques will help you brew better beer. Remember, the more comfortable the yeast is, the better the beer will be.

If you'd like more tips and advice from a knowledgeable homebrewer, head over to, where you'll find out how to brew beer at home using a craftsman's approach.

Source: EzineArticles
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