No home brewer wants to take summers off, but the high heats brought on by this season create some challenges. When homebrew temperatures increase beyond their ideal zones, it can ruin a batch of beer. Summer then becomes a serious threat to your brew if you’re unable to regulate the temperature in your storage area, such as an unfinished basement.
Despite this complication, there’s no reason to hold off on home brewing when the summer heat strikes. Take advantage of the following tips and tricks to preserve the quality of your homebrew throughout the warm season.
Lower wort temperatures quickly
Chilling wort in short order is key to the quality of the finished product. An immersion wort chiller is less effective in the summer because the water running into the lines is warmer than what you get in the winter — summer water is usually above 60 degrees. One easy tip for cooling wort is to freeze plastic jugs of water and to then set them into a water bath that half submerges the fermenter. This water bath works well in conjunction with an immersion wort chiller.
Choose brews ideal for warmer temperatures
Every beer has its ideal fermenting temperature. In the summer, it’s easiest to simply choose beer types that are best in warm weather. According to HomebrewJunkie.com, Belgian Saisons usually start the fermenting process at 75 degrees, and some home brewers have successfully allowed fermentation temperatures to increase to 90 degrees. A beer that accommodates a warmer fermentation temperature will be much easier to manage as outdoor temperatures increase.
Use fans and cool wraps to keep down temperature
One simple trick is to place cool towels over the carboy, and/or to keep a fan blowing onto the container at all times. This will help reduce heat during fermentation. The use of a fan can drop fermenting temperatures by as much as 10 degrees. You’ll want to keep an eye on water levels, though, because this method of cooling can cause some evaporation.
Buy or build a temperature-controlled container
It’s not the preferred method of temperature regulation because it can get costly, but if other cooling methods fail, it’s about your only option.
Keep a close eye on fermenting temperatures at the start of this process and be prepared to make adjustments. It may take a little trial and error, but you should be able to find ways to overcome the challenge of summer’s heat wave.