1 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 3:19 PM

Hi all,

First time poster and brewer!

I recently got given the Coopers DIY kit for xmas and for the first batch I jumped straight into the OS Lager can that came with the kit. Being in Brisbane, QLD it was rather difficult to keep the temp down for the primary ferment (probably averaged at 23-24 degrees), though wrapping the FV in a cold wet towel helped, the brew has been in the second ferment stage for a week and a half but after researching heaps over the last few weeks i'm not hopeful of a very nice tasting beer due to the high temp of the primary ferment.

I've read about people putting the FV into a tub of water and alternating frozen milk bottles in the arvo and morning, however, the road i am wanting to go down is using an old bar fridge that i have with a temp control unit (yet to purchase).

The ISSUE is that the FV will only fit into the fridge without the lid due to the small freezer in the top…the question i have to you in the know is if i do a brew and instead of using the lid that came with it, can I use cling wrap (or another covering)?

I didn't really want to go and buy a bigger fridge seeing the one i have still hopefully works (haven't turned it on in a bit!).

The other question is, if it turns out this little fridge doesn't work, if i pull the freezer part of it out and use the fridge as an insulator with frozen bottles of water in it, will this be effective as well? This option would mean i could fit the FV with lid AND Krausen collar…

I realise lagers are meant to be brewed at low temps, but i am an ale man and will be sticking to those anyway.

2 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 3:43 PM

I'm still new at this myself, but what I've learned is applicable here.

It's not a lager, since it's an ale yeast that comes with the can.

Mine fermented in the high 20's and it turned out ok, quite drinkable, although the general consensus dictates that it will turn out better at lower temps.

I'm only trying to tell you that your beer will probably be fine, especially for your first batch, I'm working hard to get my ferment temps consistently lower.

If that was my fridge, I would probably use alfoil instead of cling wrap, and use an external thermostat, if Kelsey drops in here he'll ba able to remind me the type that he showed me, because I've forgotten…..

Using it as an insulator would probably be fine, but obviously it's a lot more maintenance.

3 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:12 PM

Yeah, that kit technically is an ale due to the yeast that comes with it.. but anyway.

The STC-1000 is the temp controller I use, but the Inkbird ones are a similar unit that is already wired up and ready to go. These are both external units; the fridge plugs into them, and they plug into the wall. No fridge mods are needed because they work by turning the power on and off rather than just the compressor. Tape the temp probe to the side of the FV underneath some packing foam and you're sweet.

You can use cling wrap as a lid but you will have to secure it with a large rubber band or maybe an ocky strap. Don't worry about it exploding, the gas will still escape.

You could use the fridge not switched on and change out frozen bottles etc. but it's a pain in the arse.. might be easier to just get another fridge that easily fits the fermenter with the lid and KK fitted. Gumtree is your friend in this instance.

4 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:21 PM

Welcome Primal and good luck with your first brew!

Have you tried turning the lid upside down? it might just fit if you do that, otherwise the cling wrap would be fine. The coopers DIY vessel's lids do fit nicely upside down, but you have less headroom should you happen to have a very vigerous fermentation.


The ice in the ratted fridge idea sounds like a lot of trouble, with no control over temp and a pain to be changing ice bottles. Yeast likes a stable temp/does not like fluctuations up and down they say..

The key is to find a fridge only bar fridge of about 130 litres or bigger. I managed to score two of these, westinghouse brand, they fit the coopers FV very well (cant fit the krausen Kollar but have never needed to use it anyway)

5 Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 9:23 PM

If the width of your FV is such that you can't cover the top of your brew with a single piece of cling wrap I'd advise you to look for another solution. I am not a fan of cling wrap myself.

There are other FV you can get. Might be cheaper than buying another fridge. You can save your Coopers FV for winter brewing, or use it as a bottling bucket if you get into bulk priming. I have gone through several different styles of plastics ones, as I replace them every two years or so. Some are shorter than others. My LHBS has started carrying a wide mouthed, short, clear plastic carboy with a screw on lid which I haven't tried yet but looks interesting and easy to clean.

Cheers,

Christina.

6 Posted: Friday, January 13, 2017 9:46 AM

Thanks for all that info people. I guess over time when $ permit I will upgrade to a sizeable temperature controlled fridge.

Yesterday, I actually did a trial run of the swamp cooling technique with the FV in a half full tub of cool water with 4 frozen bottles and a wet towel over the top, I was able to keep the temp at 20 degrees fairly consistently, which was not bad considering how insanely hot it has been in Brisbane. I guess the only issue is trying to maintain that temp over a week or two.

But really, that sounds like alot of messing about. Fridges were invented for a reason, keeping beer cool!

7 Posted: Friday, January 13, 2017 10:34 AM

I'm also in Brisbane and used that water/frozen bottles method a few years back. It lasted 1 or 2 batches before I got sick of it and began using an old fridge that was sitting there doing nothing. Best thing I ever did for my brewing other than moving to all grain.

8 Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 12:50 PM

So i've picked up a sweet second hand fridge off gumtree. I can fit TWO of the Coopers FV in it!

I'm looking at one of those Inkbird temp regulators for around $50.

What temps do you all usually rock your ales/lagers at and how long for the primary ferment?

9 Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2017 1:54 PM

Primal:

So i've picked up a sweet second hand fridge off gumtree. I can fit TWO of the Coopers FV in it!

I'm looking at one of those Inkbird temp regulators for around $50.

What temps do you all usually rock your ales/lagers at and how long for the primary ferment?

I'm sure you'll get differing views but these are the usual schedules I run for ales and lagers. I always try to get the wort as close as possible to the intended ferment temp before pitching yeast into it too, preferably a tad under it.

Ales: (Mostly) 18C for the first 3-4 days*, then raised to 21C and left there until a few days after FG is reached, which is usually about 9 days (FG reached in 5-6 days). At this point the brew is crashed to 0C for a week before being kegged. Time in FV is about 16 days or so all up. Some ales such as English styles I start the ferment a bit higher, at 19 or 20C, but the 3C temp rise and other timeframes are the same.

Lagers: 10C for the first 5-6 days**, then raised to 18C and left up there until a few days after FG is reached, which is usually 14 days (FG reached in 9-10 days). At this point the brew is crashed to 0C but left for 2 weeks before being kegged. Time in FV is approx. 4 weeks/28 days in total.

*I do take a gravity sample at this point, but it doesn't determine whether or not the temp is raised. It is simply to see how it's tracking; this sample then gets left sitting on the kitchen bench with the hydrometer in it so I can get a rough idea of the FG.

**The timing of this temp rise is based on SG rather than time, but in most cases the brew is at the desired SG for the temp rise after 5-6 days. I simply take a sample after 5 days and either start the rise then, or wait another day depending on the reading. This sample also sits on the kitchen bench with the hydrometer in it.

Cheers

Kelsey

10 Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1:12 PM

Otto Von Blotto:

Primal:

So i've picked up a sweet second hand fridge off gumtree. I can fit TWO of the Coopers FV in it!

I'm looking at one of those Inkbird temp regulators for around $50.

What temps do you all usually rock your ales/lagers at and how long for the primary ferment?

I'm sure you'll get differing views but these are the usual schedules I run for ales and lagers. I always try to get the wort as close as possible to the intended ferment temp before pitching yeast into it too, preferably a tad under it.

Ales: (Mostly) 18C for the first 3-4 days*, then raised to 21C and left there until a few days after FG is reached, which is usually about 9 days (FG reached in 5-6 days). At this point the brew is crashed to 0C for a week before being kegged. Time in FV is about 16 days or so all up. Some ales such as English styles I start the ferment a bit higher, at 19 or 20C, but the 3C temp rise and other timeframes are the same.

Lagers: 10C for the first 5-6 days**, then raised to 18C and left up there until a few days after FG is reached, which is usually 14 days (FG reached in 9-10 days). At this point the brew is crashed to 0C but left for 2 weeks before being kegged. Time in FV is approx. 4 weeks/28 days in total.

*I do take a gravity sample at this point, but it doesn't determine whether or not the temp is raised. It is simply to see how it's tracking; this sample then gets left sitting on the kitchen bench with the hydrometer in it so I can get a rough idea of the FG.

**The timing of this temp rise is based on SG rather than time, but in most cases the brew is at the desired SG for the temp rise after 5-6 days. I simply take a sample after 5 days and either start the rise then, or wait another day depending on the reading. This sample also sits on the kitchen bench with the hydrometer in it.

Cheers

Kelsey


Thanks for that mate. I've bitten the bullet and ordered one of those Keg King temperature controllers instead. I like how you can program them to change temp over course of the ferment and then not worry at all. Have you ever needed to use heating devices to bring temp up after those 3-4 initial days? Or do you just let our balmy QLD climate do it gradually?

11 Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 1:19 PM

I just let the weather do it, but because I raise the temperature on the controller during fermentation, the heat from the fermentation itself helps raise it as well. Occasionally around June and July I need heating to help get the temp up, but for this I just fill up an Erlenmeyer flask with water, boil it, and stick that inside the fridge to emanate heat.

12 Posted: Friday, January 20, 2017 10:34 AM


Ales: (Mostly) 18C for the first 3-4 days*, then raised to 21C and left there until a few days after FG is reached, which is usually about 9 days (FG reached in 5-6 days). At this point the brew is crashed to 0C for a week before being kegged. Time in FV is about 16 days or so all up. Some ales such as English styles I start the ferment a bit higher, at 19 or 20C, but the 3C temp rise and other timeframes are the same.



Kelsey, What determines when you rasie the temp? Is it just when you get to it on day 3 or day 4?

13 Posted: Friday, January 20, 2017 12:51 PM

Pretty much, yeah. Because I brew batches of pretty well identical OGs and pitch the same amounts of yeast and ferment at the same temps, it's at a point now where after 3-4 days I can pretty well know how far the fermentation is along. The temp rise is technically governed by where the SG is at but it's always where it should be after that time frame.

14 Posted: Friday, January 20, 2017 1:29 PM

Gotcha,

So The SG shouldnt be around the FG area, just dropped somewhat from OG. So basically when Krausen Activity is starting to die down?

15 Posted: Friday, January 20, 2017 2:10 PM

It's usually around 1.025 give or take a bit when the temp rise begins, down from 1.050ish. It doesn't have to be done, but it does help finish it off a bit quicker.

Last edited by Otto Von Blotto (Friday, January 20, 2017 2:10 PM)