Author Topic: Hello from Arizona  (Read 3364 times)

Offline Arizona500

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Hello from Arizona
« on: October 26, 2012, 10:40:39 AM »
Having a place to ask questions and to learn from others is critical to make sure one is on the right path.  I have brewed a few batches using malt extract kits both with steeping grains and partial mash.  I don't have a fermentation refrigerator so can only brew when the temperature in my garage allows it which is now.  I started an ale yesterday.

I have a question and that is do you expect the wort temperature (during fermentation) to mirror the room (or outside) temperature?  I realize that there would have to be a lag time.  Also how much lag time is there?

Offline Wingeezer

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Re: Hello from Arizona
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2012, 04:56:52 PM »
Fermentation is an exothermic reaction and so a fermenting carboy  could well be significantly above the room temp.

I am fairly new to brewing and didn't realize this at first.  I used to ferment in our basement which was around 68F which I thought would be fines for ale.

I then got a fairly expensive thermocouple type digital thermometer and taped a probe under insulation on teh sid of my r=carboy and it registered over 80F !   The meter is certified accurate to about a half degree.


So now I ferment in a converted freezer and I tape the thermostat  probe onto the carboy so as to actually control its temp.


Brian.


PS - will be in Tucson this winter for a few weeks with our RV,  any good brewpubs/homebrew shops/stores with good beer selection to recommend if you happen to live in that city?

 

Offline Arizona500

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Re: Hello from Arizona
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 11:51:27 AM »
Wingeezer, thanks for the reply.  They say the secret to good brewing is to keep good notes which I have been trying to do.  I living at 7000 ft elevation in Flagstaff where the night time temp. have been dipping below freezing. I am fermenting in my garage which is not directly heated but has my hot water heater and my furnace which heats it indirectly and it is insulated (except for the garage doors).  I purchased one of those thermometers that stick on the side of the carboy, my brew store calls them a liquid crystal thermometer.  When I first set out my carboy the wort was about 76 - 78 degrees.  The garage was about 68.  I opened one garage door at the bottom for the night and the room temp dropped to 60 and the wort temp was dropping.  Today (3rd day of fermentation) the room temp is 65 and the wort is 64.  The bubbling as slowed so I assume this means fermentation has slowed and there would be less heat produced?  Anyway, it would be easy to reduce room temperature if I need to.  It appears there is a 12 hour delay but I don't know how a slowing of fermentation effects this.

This is the first time to use a glass carboy where I can look inside.  To start with there was about a half inch of all white foam.  This foam started to discolor on top with about the same color as the wort and then this discoloration disappeared and it was white again and on the second day the foam disappeared all together and the bubbling has slowed. Of course I don't have a clue what any of this means but it is interesting and I have been keeping notes.

Tucson is on the opposite ends of the state from me.  I have visited Tucson quite a bit and really like the area, in fact much more than the Phoenix area.  Unfortunately I don't know of any local pubs to recommend.  I strongly urge you to visit the Sonora Desert Museum, which is one of the best in the country.  Kartchner caverns are near by and certainly worth a visit.  I don't have a clue what you like but these are two places you might want to check out.

Take care!

Keith

Offline Wingeezer

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Re: Hello from Arizona
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 12:38:32 PM »
Hi keith,

Others will have much more experience than I do, but I have found that typically, I pitch the yeast at the end of a brew day in late afternoon, and it is generally bubbling away happily next morning when i check it, so i guess 12 hours is typical.

I have found at times i has already started bubbling the first night before I turn in, but I do oxygenate the wort from my welding torch bottle for about a minute and a half so maybe that gets it going quickly.

Since you are fermenting in a carboy (as I do) it is interesting to look at the wort under the foam when fermenting.  The first time I saw it I was quite amazed, almost looks as though it is boiling!

I have found that typically after about three days the really active fermentation (and heat generation) has dropped off considerably and so at that point, if I need space on my freezer for something else, I just remove the carboy and take it to the basement - normally kept around 68F.

Adding a freezer and two stage (heat/cool) temperature controller can be a real plus to the hobby of you have room for it.  I picked mine up on Kijiji - there were all kinds of them - for $40.   Bought the digital controller on Ebay from Hong Kong for $25.  It is a chest freezer and I have back problems  so I made up a simple 2"x4" rolling gantry with a hand boat winch to lift kegs and carboys in and out.  Wouldn't be without it!

Thanks for the tip about Karchner Caverns  - heard of it but never been, although we did go  to Colossal just a short way east of Tucson. Will put it on the list for this winter!   We have stopped in Tucson four or five times and always enjoy it.    Bee to the Desert Museum a couple of times - great spot.  I also enjoy geocaching & hiking in the mtns around the city.

Only been through Flagstaff once with our trailer,   and didn't realize quite how high it was - and cool in winter - I was almost thinking I'd better dump the water out of our trailer, but we didn't stop,  so all was fine!

One of the spots I like to visit when in Arizona is Bisbee, South of Tombstone - no doubt we will get there again this year - definitely a  different and unusual town!

I'm sure we'll find some good brewpubs in Tucson and maybe a homebrew supply store or two to check out.  For some reason the hobby seems  not as well  catered for up here, although my sense is that things may be  improving.

Brian.