Fermentation TLC

It’s no secrect that control over fermentation temperatures can be the difference between a good homebrew and a great one. I’ve always been a proponent of proper fermentation and strived to at least maintain consistent ambient temperatures. This time of year it’s easy to ferment in the lower 60’s, but summertime can present a challange. Today I made the first step to maximum control and hopefully the opportunity to brew new styles.

Before I continue you should know I’ve become a homebrew hoarder. Because of this I’ve aquired a couple refrigerators over the past year. Things that others consider trash can sometime be of value in the brewing process. So it was a huge score when my parents’ old fridge didn’t sell on Craigslist. Oh the possibilities… a kegerator, fermenation chamber, yeast bank… or maybe all three! After staring at this thing for weeks I finally decided to set it up in the back room and take baby steps.

My first thought went to the batches I’ve been dry hopping. They’re almost ready to bottle so I figured it would be easy to use the fridge to cold crash. This would only require assembly and the construction of a reinforced shelf to handle the weight of the carboys. I have a Ranco single stage temperature controller, but didn’t find it necessary at this point since the cold crash process is only a couple days near freezing. Baby steps here…

After cleaning up the back room and the fridge I measured, cut and assembled a small wooden shelf. It wasn’t exacly the prettiest thing, but it’ll hold. I felt the day was a success considering it was built fairly quickly with scrap wood and nails. I’ll check the temperature tomorrow morning and hope to be around 40 to 45F. My goal is to achieve improved clarity with a few days of cold conditioning. And then… the murky, uncharted waters of LAGER.