Summer is the best time to have a beer, but the worst time to maintain brewing temperature. People look at the weather charts and get scared about making wines. A refrigerator is a must to make lager at home. However, a simple dessert cooler or a tray of ice can be sufficient to make perfect Ale.
How to Maintain Brewing Temperature Control in Summer
Tip 1: Invest in a good thermometer. You can buy LCD thermometer strips to stick on the fermentor. Over chilling can make yeast inactive and under chilling will lead to higher amounts of ester and fusel alcohol.
Tip 2: Don’t forget that our homes, kitchen and living spaces are at lower temperature than the outside. So don’t be over paranoid to control temperature to the last decimal space.
Tip 3: Before leaving for work, drop a tray of ice in the bucket where your fermentor is located. This will help you mitigate the peak temperature at noon. Which is when most of the damage happens.
Tip 4: Yeast don’t like thermal shocks. They are living organisms and if you chill or heat too much too fast your brew will get pasteurized which is counterproductive.
Equipment for Brewing Temperature Control
Most brewers use either of the three equipment:
- Recirculation Pump: You can attach a simple aquarium pump to your plastic carboy. Recirculate cold water and do an evaporative cooling. It is the lowest cost setup.
- Brewing Chamber or Old Refrigerator: By attaching a simple digital thermostat any old refrigerator can be converted to a fermentation chamber. It is ideal if you are looking for a casual hobby.
- For Lagering and larger batch sizes we recommend a keezer. The link has step by step guide on how to make lager beer at home for your pilot recipes. A second-hand ice cream top flap freezer can accommodate 8-9 corny kegs and can support you for years to come.
Why Beer Temperature Control is Important
Keeping even a casual eye on temperatures while brewing rewards you with some delicious beers. This is a general temperature guideline for making most styles of ale beers. Do note that a few recipes may suggest following a slightly different temperature schedule. Temperature monitoring in brewing can be divided into two divisions. 1. During Mash 2. During Fermentation
- Mash Temperatures: Use a mash tun and add hot water as per need or use a boiling pot on a live stove to get to your desired temperatures(do not forget to stir continuously if using a live stove). Use a Brew Kettle Thermometer to check the temperature and adjust heat periodically.
- Protein Rest: 50°C Important for beer clarity. Leave the wort at 50°C for 30 minutes.
- Saccharification rest: 65°C Important for the starches to convert to malt sugars(malt sugars turn into beer). Leave the wort at 65°C for 60 minutes.
2. Fermentation: It is advisable to monitor temperatures during the fermentation process. Using a thermostat with an old fridge is the best option to monitor and control temps during this phase. Another way is to use a submerged Hydrometer+Thermometer assembly if you are using a transparent fermenter.
Make sure you pitch the yeasts at a temperature no more than 23°C and no less than 20°C.
- After 24 hours it is advisable to decrease the temperature to 18-20°C. Don’t go under 17°C.
- After the first 72 hours, it is advisable to slowly increase the temperature to 23°C and maintain it until fermentation is finished. Be careful not to let it slip over 25°C at any point in time.