Ale of Mark, my version of a "Scottish-style" beer, went to the refrigerator today. It has been quite hot here at FSB and it has been a bit of a bother to keep the hall closet properly cool. I've found that a couple of old gallon-sized plastic milk jugs, filled with water and frozen, can a keep a small space cool for hours. The big "blue ice" packs for picnic coolers work even better. I set them on the floor on a towel (for the condensate--the jugs get very wet), and leave them in the closet through a blazing hot afternoon. They seem to have just enough heat capacity to absorb the excess heat and keep the closet around 64-68 ºF. Of course, we run the swamp cooler in the summer to keep the house livable. Normally I don't brew in the summer heat. I don't really have anyplace that stays below 70 ºF to ferment the beer. I know brewers who modify an old fridge with a controller that overrides the thermostat. That allows you to set nearly any temperature for the enclosed space. It works great for lagers, which need long, cool ferments. One of the improvements I'd like to make for FSB is an automatic temperature-controlled area like that. I've a few ideas. The system I have now is pretty simple, and I manage to get good beer, so I'm not highly motivated to change things. Some day, perhaps.
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