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1. I just finished my first brew using the coopers 23lt kit with the supplied lager can. Followed the instructions but had a problem keeping my temperature up and most of the time it was only around 19c (its been a cold winter and I brew in the shed with some insulation around it and a light globe for heat).  Managed to get it up to 22c on day 5 (more insulation, bigger globe) but it stabilised on day 6 at 2.6%  I hope I have the temperature problem fixed, but in case it happens again, what easy things could I have done to restart fermentation? I'm a newbee so make it simple.

2. Getting ready to start a Brigalow Ginger Beer and the instructions say brew at 25c.  I might have trouble getting the temp that high, so how critical is 25c? Some people on forums say they brew at 19c.

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Hi I'mrev.
As far as keeping things simple goes and keeping the temp up, you've done well.
If you can get something like a polystyrene box or an old cupboard to put the fermenting vessel in to create it's own little atmosphere in partnership with the light globe. You are covering the globe to guard the brew from light, aren't you? Some brewers fashion a light shade from an empty tin.
Depending on how far you're prepared to commit to good beer you can also do other things:
A heat belt or heat pad can be purchased for under $20 if you search well enough. They provide constant heat but you have to monitor them frequently.
If you use a thermomstat controller like an Inkbird (brand name) you can set and forget. It will switch the heat on and off at temperatures you set. Inkbirds are around $50-$80.
If you get an Inkbird you might also consider using an old fridge to put your fermenting vessel in. This creates that mini atmosphere I mentioned above. The Inkbird can switch on the fridge if things get too hot or turn on the heat source if it gets too cold.
It all depends on how far you want to take things and your budget.

I've added some photos of my fermenting fridge and Inkbird to give you an idea.

I tape the temperature probe to the side of the FV and plug the fridge and heat belt into the Inkbird. The Inkbird gets plugged into the powerpoint. My temp is set at 21C currently. If it gets too hot the fridge gets switched on. Too cold, it turns on the heat belt. The heat belt is obscured in the photo. It's the thicker black cord and I've got it hanging on the door shelves because I've two brews going. If I only had one brew I'd place the belt on the FV lid to work more efficiently.


 

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Edited by MUZZY
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What Muzzy said.

Temperature variations were something I battled with for many months. Up here on the Sunshine Coast inevitably keeping temperatures down was the major problem. Some brews got away from me and reached 30°. They were not good at all, pungent aroma (smelled like cats pee) and tasted like it too. 

I bit the bullet and got a set up the same as Muzzy (minus the heat belt) and now always ferment at the lowest suggested temperature of the particular yeast I choose or the supplied pack. Difference is like chalk and cheese. 

Good luck.

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Welcome to the rabbit hole @I'mRev  not much to add just affirming what has been said. Cheap fridge for a ferment chamber and an InkBird. Personally I prefer a freezer as you can clarify your brew by cold crash in it as well.  I have found some fridges struggle  to maintain the cold crash temp where it is a doddle for a freezer.   Cheers . 

 

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In the tropics [Northern Central Qld] the temp gets to about 27deg in FV on a warm day. I have had no issues using the Coopers OS yeasts at this temp. With a swamp cooler approach I can get FV temp down to 24 on a warm day and currently it is sitting at 22 deg and using US-05 yeast - which is a messy looking yeast compared to the OS yeasts 😉

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13 minutes ago, MartyG1525230263 said:

Welcome to the rabbit hole @I'mRev  not much to add just affirming what has been said. Cheap fridge for a ferment chamber and an InkBird. Personally I prefer a freezer as you can clarify your brew by cold crash in it as well.  I have found some fridges struggle  to maintain the cold crash temp where it is a doddle for a freezer.   Cheers . 

 

That's true about cold crashing in a fridge. Don't bother with it myself - getting really clean brews just letting it sit in fv for 14 days or so. Around day 5 of fermentation I let the temp rise by about 3° to encourage the last remaining yeasties to finish doing their thing.

Works for me.

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4 minutes ago, Spursman said:

That's true about cold crashing in a fridge. Don't bother with it myself - getting really clean brews just letting it sit in fv for 14 days or so. Around day 5 of fermentation I let the temp rise by about 3° to encourage the last remaining yeasties to finish doing their thing.

Works for me.

As with all things brewing it is what suits. I have only recently become an advocate of cold crashing. I starting doing it a few years ago then stopped.  Now I do it is a chest freezer and get wonderful clear beer.   Yep much prefer the lower temps of a freezer I set it to about 0.6c. 

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2 minutes ago, MartyG1525230263 said:

As with all things brewing it is what suits. I have only recently become an advocate of cold crashing. I starting doing it a few years ago then stopped.  Now I do it is a chest freezer and get wonderful clear beer.   Yep much prefer the lower temps of a freezer I set it to about 0.6c. 

Yep, more than one way to skin a cat.

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10 minutes ago, Spursman said:

Yep, more than one way to skin a cat.

Unfortunately there are many brewers who do not realise that.  There are critical points that you must get to but there are many ways to get there.   Cheers

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1 hour ago, MartyG1525230263 said:

As with all things brewing it is what suits. I have only recently become an advocate of cold crashing. I starting doing it a few years ago then stopped.  Now I do it is a chest freezer and get wonderful clear beer.   Yep much prefer the lower temps of a freezer I set it to about 0.6c. 

Yeah, I'd agree a freezer would be easier. I have two fridges, one is a 60 year old beast that has no trouble freezing a batch if it wanted to, so it's easy enough to keep the beer at zero, the other is my old kegerator which struggles to get batches below 2 degrees. I usually use it for lagers because that's around the temperature I lager them at. 

Mind you I "cheat" in a way adding polyclar to get rid of haze 😜

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2 hours ago, Barramullafella said:

In the tropics [Northern Central Qld] the temp gets to about 27deg in FV on a warm day. I have had no issues using the Coopers OS yeasts at this temp. With a swamp cooler approach I can get FV temp down to 24 on a warm day and currently it is sitting at 22 deg and using US-05 yeast - which is a messy looking yeast compared to the OS yeasts 😉

I find with US-05 it eventually cleans itself up & forms a neat even deposit in the bottom of the FV. All of my beers this year have been brewing at ambient 16-18 degrees & turned out fine, with Summer around the corner I will power up the brew fridge for select brews. 

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@I'mRev Welcome to the forum.

The temps of low 20's you indicate would be fine for your first batch, don't go by the brew kit instructions as they are a disaster.  Most Ales are fermented at about 18 - 20 C and most lagers at 10 - 15 C.  The yeast that came with your kit was an ale yeast even though it was on a lager kit can.

Suggest you post up your full list of ingredients and ask questions before you throw your next batch (or any future batches) together because someone in here will be able to comment and assist with suggestions etc. as they have done it all before.

Also use the search tool on this community forum page and I am sure you will find the information you are seeking.  If not ask. 

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5 hours ago, Barramullafella said:

In the tropics [Northern Central Qld] the temp gets to about 27deg in FV on a warm day. I have had no issues using the Coopers OS yeasts at this temp. With a swamp cooler approach I can get FV temp down to 24 on a warm day and currently it is sitting at 22 deg and using US-05 yeast - which is a messy looking yeast compared to the OS yeasts 😉

Thanks for the info about your temperatures. I have read about the swamp cooler and I'll try that in summer.

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2 hours ago, iBooz2 said:

@I'mRev Welcome to the forum.

The temps of low 20's you indicate would be fine for your first batch, don't go by the brew kit instructions as they are a disaster.  Most Ales are fermented at about 18 - 20 C and most lagers at 10 - 15 C.  The yeast that came with your kit was an ale yeast even though it was on a lager kit can.

Thanks, that's what I'm looking for.  So if it's a lager using ale yeast, what temperature applies? Do you go by the yeast or beer type?

Any idea about the temperature for brewing Brigalow Ginger Beer? The recommended 25C seems high.

I'm new so only doing standard brews with what comes in the can and following the directions.  I don't have room in my shed for fridges, etc. so just using layers of cardboard cartons for insulation and globes to regulate the heat (with alum. foil to shield the light) and taking the temp twice a day. I've been looking on google for tips but this seems to be the best place to get them.

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1 hour ago, I'mRev said:

I don't have room in my shed for fridges, etc. so just using layers of cardboard cartons for insulation and globes to regulate the heat

If you have room for the FV, how about a bar fridge? Small footprint, if you get the right size it wouldn't be much bigger than your FV with the cardboard around it.

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3 hours ago, I'mRev said:

Thanks, that's what I'm looking for.  So if it's a lager using ale yeast, what temperature applies? Do you go by the yeast or beer type?

Any idea about the temperature for brewing Brigalow Ginger Beer? The recommended 25C seems high.

I'm new so only doing standard brews with what comes in the can and following the directions.  I don't have room in my shed for fridges, etc. so just using layers of cardboard cartons for insulation and globes to regulate the heat (with alum. foil to shield the light) and taking the temp twice a day. I've been looking on google for tips but this seems to be the best place to get them.

You go by yeast type and each yeast type has their best temperature ranges listed on the packets (commercial yeasts we are talking about here not the coopers supplied ones that come with the kit tins) so you must stay within those temperature boundaries.

Its the yeast that pretty much makes the beer type.  You could take your standard lager kit tin and throw a proper lager yeast at it and ferment it at the lager temperature recommended for that yeast (10 - 15 C for example) and you will actually get a lager beer.

Now if you take your standard lager kit tin and throw an ale yeast at it (as in this beginner Coopers kit) and ferment it at the ale temperature recommended for that yeast you will actually get an ale beer.

So what label is printed on the kit can (Lager, Canadian Blonde, Draught etc.) is not necessary what you are going to end up with, its just a base.  It's the yeast that make the type of beer.

You cannot take an ale yeast and ferment it at lager temperatures and also you cannot take a lager yeast and ferment it at ale temperatures, it does not work like that.  Now that being said there are some exceptions for the more experienced of us but for a beginner just think along the lines that a lager is one road to somewhere called lager land and the other road is to somewhere else called ales land, they are not the same roads even though you have used the same kit can.

The kit with the supplied yeast should be fermented out at about 18-20 C.  Coopers say the yeast can handle up to 35 C or 40 C but if you ferment it at those high temperatures you only brew undrinkable piss.  Ferment at the low 18-20 C range and you actual brew beer, an ale beer in this case.

Also be mindful of aluminium foil, moisture and electricity = the risk of electric shock.  Also when using a heat lamp to heat a cardboard box enclosure = the risk of fire so double check how you have this setup and be careful.

Edited by iBooz2
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1 hour ago, iBooz2 said:

You go by yeast type and each yeast type has their best temperature ranges listed on the packets (commercial yeasts we are talking about here not the coopers supplied ones that come with the kit tins) so you must stay within those temperature boundaries.....

Thanks for your comprehensive answer, much appreciated and the info I was after.

The last few days I have been testing the thermal qualities of my cardboard "cabinet" in preparation for my next brew.  Raised 20 litres of tap water in the fermenter from 13c up to 25c (its a cold and rainy day).  Now trying different combinations to see the effect.

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On 7/31/2021 at 9:53 AM, CLASSIC said:

@Otto Von Blotto  Just wondering if this would benefit Extract/Partial brews ?

Sure does, Phil.  I have been following Otto's Isinglass and Polyclar process for all of my beers that I want to be clear. 

  • Night 1 - Start cold crash. 
  • Night 2 - In a sanitised pyrex jug, add 100ml of Isinglass to 200-300ml of beer from the fermenter; gently stir; gently pour into FV; gently stir into FV
  • Night 3 - In a small sanitised glass or beaker mix 7g (3 teaspoons) of Polyclar into 200ml of cooled boiled water; swirl for 30-60 minutes (or use a stir plate); pour into FV; gently stir into FV.

Otto uses powdered Isinglass.  I can only get liquid.

Isinglass helps to settle out yeast.

Polyclar deals with chill haze.

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3 minutes ago, Shamus O'Sean said:

Sure does, Phil.  I have been following Otto's Isinglass and Polyclar process for all of my beers that I want to be clear. 

  • Night 1 - Start cold crash. 
  • Night 2 - In a sanitised pyrex jug, add 100ml of Isinglass to 200-300ml of beer from the fermenter; gently stir; gently pour into FV; gently stir into FV
  • Night 3 - In a small sanitised glass or beaker mix 7g (3 teaspoons) of Polyclar into 200ml of cooled boiled water; swirl for 30-60 minutes (or use a stir plate); pour into FV; gently stir into FV.

Otto uses powdered Isinglass.  I can only get liquid.

Isinglass helps to settle out yeast.

Polyclar deals with chill haze.

Hey Shamus, as always you are a minefield of information, I appreciate your your reply & thank you, I have never really worried about my beer being clear but becoming increasingly aware of the importance of it. I will investigate this further.

Cheers

Phil 

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10 hours ago, CLASSIC said:

Hey Shamus, as always you are a minefield of information, I appreciate your your reply & thank you, I have never really worried about my beer being clear but becoming increasingly aware of the importance of it. I will investigate this further.

Cheers

Phil 

For me beer clarity is not that important.  However, I see it as a refinement to my home brewing capability.  To pour a beer,  from a bottle or from the kegerator, that looks as clear-as feels great.

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I can't even get powdered isinglass at the moment. Might have to splurge on some liquid until I can. 

But yeah it definitely does the job. The only difference in my process is not waiting for the boiled water to cool before adding to the polyclar, just straight in off the boil. I'm sure either way works though. I'm just glad I have a stir plate to keep it agitated for an hour 🤣

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On 7/31/2021 at 7:39 AM, MartyG1525230263 said:

As with all things brewing it is what suits. I have only recently become an advocate of cold crashing. I starting doing it a few years ago then stopped.  Now I do it is a chest freezer and get wonderful clear beer.   Yep much prefer the lower temps of a freezer I set it to about 0.6c. 

Marty @MartyG1525230263, I'm curious mate so are you fermenting in the freezer as well? 

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6 minutes ago, Mickep said:

Marty @MartyG1525230263, I'm curious mate so are you fermenting in the freezer as well? 

Yep.  This is 44 litres of German Pils fermenting at 14.5c & 15psi.  When it is finished I will cold crash it @0.8c  all by changing the InkBird.  I will then pressure transfer to kegs all from the freezer.  When the FV is empty I will just lift it out, give it a good swirl to harvest 4 tubes of yeast using a picnic tap, then clean, dry and store until next time.  

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