Do you deal in the world of fermentation? If so, then you know how important it is to maintain the ideal temperature of your liquids. And with warmer weather already here, and with even hotter weather on horizon, you’ll need reliable cooling solutions for fermentation in place.
Temperature Control is Necessary for Quality, Homemade Beer
Several factors go into creating the perfect tasting beer. Perhaps one of the most important is maintaining the ideal temperature during the fermentation process. This can be difficult, as yeast actually produces heat while fermenting, which naturally increases the temperature of the brew.
But it’s definitely important to maintain the temperature because if the wort becomes too warm, your beer may come out tasting fruity. Probably not what you were hoping for! On the flip side, if your fermenter sits at a colder-than-desired temperature, it may not completely ferment, compromising the overall quality, and again, the taste.
Choosing to create your own beer from home can be a cheaper option than going out for it on a regular basis. However, if you’re looking to create something you actually want to drink, you need to have certain equipment. This includes having a quality system to keep your fermenting beer within perfect temperature range.
Here’s a quick look at ideal temperature ranges for beer fermentation:
- Normal Ale: Fermentation temperatures between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lagers: Sit comfortably between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
As you can see, the temperature range is very limited to produce the quality you are likely hoping for in your beer.
Quick Storage Tip
A widely accepted tip when it comes to your homemade beer process is to store your fermenter in a cool, dark place. Garages and basements are the best options for the best storage results. However, this is often not enough, as it’s pretty hard to regulate the exact temperature in these areas of the home. You will likely need more control for the results you want.
So how exactly can you succeed at getting the temperature correct every time?
Here Are Some Helpful Ways to Cool Your Fermenter:
- Tub of Water + T-Shirt Method
One of the most popular ways for homemade brewers to try and keep a fermenter cold is to fill a large tub or pan with cold water. Next, soak a shirt in the water and cover the wort with it, allowing the bottom of the shirt to stay in the water. This will cause the shirt to suck up the water and continue to cool the surface.
Some at-home brewers opt to use a swamp cooler or fan to lower the temperature as well (but obviously, you do not want to get it too close to the water source!)
This method sounds relatively simple. However, it is by no means a guaranteed method for controlling the ideal temperature. It can be faulty, as you have no promise that the wort is not experiencing fluctuations in temperature, and it can be hard to test.
- Makeshift Refrigerator
It has been estimated that beer making started as far back as 7000 BC. Now that’s quite a long time ago. In the distant, and even not-so-distant past, many brewers would simply stick their fermenters in an open cave in the winter. When the warm weather approached, they would pack the cave with snow and seal up the opening, creating a simple, yet very effective, refrigeration system. Pretty ingenious.
While you may not be interested in hiking around to find a cave in some nearby mountain, some have recommended creating your own (smaller) makeshift refrigerator for your fermentation cooling needs.
For this method, you would need:
- Large box that is big enough to cover your entire wort (which is likely to be a minimum of 5 gal.)
- Makeshift shelving
- Ice packs or frozen water bottles
While it may sound difficult at first, it can be as simple as getting a large enough box to cover your fermenter, cutting out a small whole in the side of the box. Add the makeshift shelving and put the ice packs or water bottles on the shelf. Then circulate the air within the box by blowing the fan through the hole in the side. Pretty straightforward – without needing any additional features or fittings. Simply switch out the ice packs as necessary.
Again, this method is certain to help control temperature, but it is going to be hard to regulate it constantly and accurately.
- Ice Bath
Just as it sounds, this immersion cooling method simply requires a large tub filled with ice cubes, or even better, frozen water bottles. Water bottles will stay frozen for a longer amount of time, which is a definite bonus when you’re waiting for the fermentation process to take place over a minimum of two weeks. The least amount of maintenance, the better, right? Of course, hopefully you have a few tubs to spare. It’s likely you’ll need one within the two weeks during fermentation, for, ya know, bathing…
- Fermenter Cooling Jacket
A cooling jacket for your fermenting process is exactly what it sounds like – a wrap that covers the entirety of your wort. They apply direct cooling to the container. The best feature is the fact that these cooling jackets allow for strict temperature regulation. No more guesswork. You can adjust the temperature to your liking and have the peace of mind that your beer’s flavor will never be affected by adverse temperatures.
These jackets are safety certified, portable, and easy to install. They are straight-forward, without any extra fittings or complicated features. Because the fermentation process takes at least a few weeks, a set-it-and-forget-it cooling method is definitely preferable.
No matter what cooling method you choose, you’re likely to get much better-tasting beer than if you simply stick your wort in the basement and forget about it. But if you’re looking for the best results, it’s easy to see that the fermenter cooling jacket is the way to go.
In partnership with North Slope Chillers, Powerblanket offers the process cooling solutions your brewing process needs. Keep your fermentation process cooler. Enjoy the low-maintenance solution that produces great results of beer tasting better – all with the simple solution of the Fluxwrap fermenter cooling jacket.
If you’re ready to add this game-changing cooling jacket to your brewing process, give our experienced team a call today at 801.385.8516.