First adventures – keeping things warm

Howdy!

So it’s been about five days since we did the brew I talked about in my last post, and I’ve been relatively happy with the progress.

As I mentioned in my previous post, there was some concern about keeping everything warm enough during the fermentation process.  We were also worried about the morning sun hitting the fermenting tub: the UV can harm your yeast and make generally bad flavours.  To solve these two problems, the brew spent the week wrapped in a blanket:

Beer needs to me tucked in nice and tight when it gets sleepy.

Beer needs to be tucked in nice and tight when it gets sleepy.

This worked surprisingly well.  The yeast manages to produce some of its own heat during the fermentation process, so this blanket kept everything in.  Although my house got as low as about 13 degrees C over night, the wort consistently sat at about 22 degrees C when I checked it in the morning.  It could be a little warmer, but this is still a great temperature. And it was relatively constant, so that’s great.

Another alternative I’ve heard being used is to place your fermenter in an old bar fridge (not on). Refrigerators are extremely well insulated, so this method will keep everything warm (or cool), and more importantly constant.

In warmer months, this method can also be used to keep things cool, just don’t leave the refrigerator on constantly, otherwise things will be too cool.  If you get a fancy enough fridge (or a wine fridge), you may even be able to set it to work at a higher temperature.

Generally, the higher the temperature, the faster the fermentation process is – to a point obviously; if things get too hot, you’ll kill your yeast.  According to the packet, the yeast we used has an optimal temperature range of 21-28 degrees C.  So since the we’re running on the lower end of that scale, the fermentation process will probably take about eight or nine days.

So next step: bottling!  But that’s still a few days away…

-Chas

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