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Using kegerator for fermentation

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by Lyn, 12/9/18.

 

  1. Lyn

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    Posted 12/9/18
    Hey all,

    I am new to brewing, and want to use my kegerator with a temp controller for my first brew. I am guessing that if the ambient temperature is lower than 18 degrees I will need some sort of heating pad to bring the temperature up. Also if the ambient temperature is higher only cooling will be required? Also am I supposed to be measuring the temperature of the wort itself, i.e. putting the probe into the wort? My first brew is a Citra Pale Ale, and the instruction sheet only gives a fermenting temperature but no time, can anyone give me an approximate time frame for the fermentation process.
    Thanks in advance, and sorry if these questions seem stupid.
    Lyn
     
  2. Abird89

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    Posted 12/9/18
    Yes, may need a heating pad, but the fermentation process does give off heat too

    Cut up an old stubby holder and tape it to the side of the fermenter approx half way up and then push the probe in between. No need to have it in the fermenter - less things touching the wort the better

    My brews are normally 2 week turnaround from fermentation starting to it going in the keg, inclusive of a few days of cold crashing
     
  3. altone

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    Posted 12/9/18
    Yep. like Abird89 said.
    I use a seed tray heating pad if I need to raise the temp - dirt cheap on ebay.
     
  4. pnorkle

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    Posted 12/9/18
    And also like Abird89 said, two weeks turn around is about normal. However, having said that, I did a Pale Ale on Sunday, and used Lallemand's Nottingham ("Notto") Ale Yeast, and it's just about finished already.
     
  5. Outback

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    Posted 12/9/18
    I saw what you did there! "seed tray" " dirt Cheap"
     
  6. Thomas Wood

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    Posted 12/9/18
    I just place the probe against the fermenter with a couple of paper towels on the outside (fridge side), taped on. I find it's pretty accurate!
    I usually aim for 10-12 days fermentation then a couple of days cold crash.
     
  7. gap

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    Posted 13/9/18
    Best to know your original gravity and then check your gravity again a few days into fermentation and depending on the reading a few days after that.
    Hydrometer reading are how you tell when your fermentation is finished not the number of days it has been fermenting.
     
  8. peterlonz

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    Posted 14/9/18
    Everything said so far is bang on good advice.
    One variation I employ"
    I use some aluminium adhesive tape to tape the thermometer probe to the outside of my fermentor.
    Tape is Ebay & the thermometer is a digital readout type with 900mm senor that can collect data over time, also Ebay.
    I will search for the exact webpages & include if I can quickly find them.
    This means I can wash my fermentor inside & out without fear of damaging the thermostat.
    The aluminium tape is very adherent seems to stay put forever so it's not something you do with any frequency.
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/ELITECH...-Senso-C9Z7-/273329296569?hash=item3fa3b214b9
    Aus$21delivered
    OR
    https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/LCD-Dis...m=162722646705&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851
     
  9. stm

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    Posted 14/9/18
    Please note that your instructions will probably recommend a much higher ferment temp than actually required or desired. For an ale, 18 degrees is great, as long as you pitch a reasonable amount of yeast. I set my fridge temp to 16 degrees, which gives me about 18 degrees in the fermenter (because fermentation is exothermic, as Abird mentioned).

    Don't get too worried about heat pads.
     
  10. Lyn

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    Posted 18/9/18
    Thank you to all who offered advice. I did my very first brew today, all grain pale ale using a robobrew. Took me approximately 8 hours, and I guarantee I made every rookie mistake in the book! But its in the fermenter and sitting steady at 18.5 degrees with the air lock starting to bubble. Woo hoo!!
     
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  11. gabbawocky

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    Posted 20/9/18 at 1:21 AM
    There's nothing like that first time you see the bubbles!

    Good luck with the brew. Patience is now your key ingredient.
     
  12. pnorkle

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    Posted 20/9/18 at 3:39 AM
    8 Hours - Fark!! That'll reduce as you become more comfortable/familiar with the whole process. With my GF, I've managed to get it down to 5 hours - includes pre-clean & post-clean.
     
  13. Thomas Wood

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    Posted 20/9/18 at 3:54 AM
    That's why I am still doing Kits at the moment.
    Kegged, Cleaned, Mixed and chucked into the fermentation fridge, plus post clean all done in less than 2.5 hrs
     
    Lyn likes this.
  14. pnorkle

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    Posted 20/9/18 at 4:05 AM
    Come to the Dark Side!
     
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  15. altone

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    Posted 20/9/18 at 4:14 AM
    Yeah I guess with my new Guten, if I was doing 60min mash and boil I'd get close to that.
    I did do 2 batches in about 10 hours including cleanup with 70min mash and 90min boil, but no chill.

    @Lyn grats on getting the brew down, it will get easier and quicker.

    @Thomas Wood kits are certainly a lot quicker, but you know you want to do an allgrain brew :)
     
  16. Thomas Wood

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    Posted 20/9/18 at 4:16 AM
    I will next year once I have ran out of Kits/combos I like haha.
    I'm sure it'll be like the switch from bottles -> kegs, and wondering why I didn't do it sooner!
     
  17. Lyn

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    Posted 21/9/18 at 1:19 AM
    Yes I guess it would be a bit faster with 2 people. Unfortunately my husband would be more of a hinderance than help and I would probably end up hitting him over the head with the CO2 bottle. So I will battle on alone and hope that next time I am a little better prepared. Day 4 and its still bubbling away and averaging a temp of around 18 degrees. A bit nervous about the kegging process though.....o_O
     
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  18. Thomas Wood

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    Posted 21/9/18 at 1:25 AM
    That's the easiest part (at least for me). I hook up a tube to my fermenter spigot and the other end to me liquid out post on my keg. Then I vent the keg and make sure it is empty of pressure, open up the spigot and keep the keg vented (to allow the liquid going in the push the air out). Gravity then takes care of the rest :)

    My fermenter (cold crash) and keg are both kept chilled so that the beer can carbonate faster.

    When I clean and then sanitise the keg, I push everything through the kegerator lines, and that way the keg is sanitised and full of CO2 (and not O2) when it comes time to transfer.
     
  19. Rocker1986

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    Posted 21/9/18 at 1:30 AM
    LOL. You'll get the time reduced the more batches you do and get used to the process, refine it more to make it more efficient etc. If I really wanted to I could have mine done in 5 hours as well but time is no issue on brew days (at the moment anyway) so I just mosey along. It's usually done in about 6 hours anyway though. The time spent waiting around for the mash and boil etc. can be used for other tasks too.

    Given it's day four you could probably let the brew rise to around 21 degrees to finish it off a little quicker but it's up to you. Good luck with the brew though, hope it turns out well!
     
  20. Lyn

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    Posted 21/9/18 at 1:59 AM
    Ahhh clever, so your creating a closed system for the transfer I gather? Will give it a go, thanks for the tip. :)
     

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