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I've got a fix I'd like to share!!

 
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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 136
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:12 pm    Post subject: I've got a fix I'd like to share!! Reply with quote


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I have been quite disappointed with my brewing results, not at all with the awesome brewing set up Kal has taught us to build, just with the beer that came out the end.

Turns out every different recipe had a banana off-flavor....esters. Too warm a ferment. I'm using a freezer with a gauge to set the fermentation temp (Blichman conical) which keeps it pretty constant.

However, I got to thinking that since fermentation is exothermic, the temp in the fermenter is probably warmer that the temp set on the freezer control.

In speaking with Blichman, I figured I'd drill a hole in the top of the fermenter, drop a SS tube with a rubber stopper to hold it in the lid, and drop the thermal probe down the tube into the fermenting wort.

Surprise!! It worked!!. No more banana-beer.

Hope everyone is well!

Rick
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rick,

Definitely important to look at the actual temperature of the wort being fermented as that's what matters.
As I'm re-writing all of my recipes for the new website I'm adding a note to make sure it's clear that the recommended fermentation temperature is the actual wort temperature, not the ambient temperature. The two can (sometimes) be wildly different. Depends on the setup. So mentioning ambient temp is meaningless. That said, on many setups the two (ambient vs wort temp) may be fairly close. Again, depends on the setup.

What did you have the temp controller set to to cool the freezer when you ran it that way? How were you measuring the temperature of the freezer exactly? I.e. where was the temp probe?. If it was in the air taped to the side of the freezer it would quickly drop in temp when the freezer kicks on and not give enough time to chill down the wort. Best to have it in something with some mass (or best of course is actually in the wort as you've done now). How warm was the actual wort in relation to the actual freezer? Just curious.

What size conical do you use too? The larger the fermenter the more thermal mass you have.

Another thing you can do if you don't measure the actual wort temp is to use a fan in there to keep air moving. It can make quite the difference in helping keep the delta between the two closer.

Good luck!

Kal

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rickysa



Joined: 13 Mar 2013
Posts: 136
Location: Southern Pines NC


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
What did you have the temp controller set to to cool the freezer when you ran it that way? How were you measuring the temperature of the freezer exactly? I.e. where was the temp probe?. If it was in the air taped to the side of the freezer it would quickly drop in temp when the freezer kicks on and not give enough time to chill down the wort. Best to have it in something with some mass (or best of course is actually in the wort as you've done now). How warm was the actual wort in relation to the actual freezer? Just curious.


68 deg initially, and had the probe just laying on the fermenter. To chill the wort, I've got a second chest freezer I fill with water to chill for running through the counter-current chiller (NC ground water can be kinda warm in the summer Smile ), so the chilled wort is usually in the low 50's-low 60's.

14 gal fermenter
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

14 gallons is pretty big - lots of heat can be produced. I'm curious to know how warm your wort actually got too, but you may not know. Either way, your solution is a good one!

Another option that works well if you don't want to go into the conical is to simply tape the probe to the outside of the conical. Something to insulate on top works well to ensure the probe is at or very close to wort temp.

Cheers!

Kal

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timn8or



Joined: 07 May 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Drinking: Kolsch, NEIPA, Munich Helles, Barleywine


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal, on your setup, what do you set your fridge temp to if you're trying to target a specific wort temperature? I'm using the same fridge as you are, also with SS buckets, and was curious about how to handle temp control when, as you pointed out, ambient and wort temp could be very different. In the most recent batch I brewed, I had set the fridge to 64, and my Tilt reported up to 71...
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my fridges the wort temp during the most active fermentation will be 2-3 degress higher than the temperature I set the fridge to. Once fermentation starts to slow down, the wort temp gets closer to the fridge set temp. One of the reasons the wort never gets much higher is because the fridges I use have a fan that runs almost continuously keeping the air moving.

Are you sure you're using the exact same fridges? Mine are here: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/pages/45-bottle-wine-cooler-or-124-can-beverage-center

If you have large differences you may want to measure actual wort temp with a thermowell and use a temp controller like this to control the fridge: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/pages/temperature-controller

Kal

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timn8or



Joined: 07 May 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Drinking: Kolsch, NEIPA, Munich Helles, Barleywine


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kal, same exact fridge. To be fair, in most cases, I'm seeing exactly what you are (about 2 to 3 degrees difference). The 71 degrees was hit while fermenting a Wee Heavy which had an OG of 1.112, so it may not be a fair test...
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's odd. Temperature is temperature. With the fan running most of the time when the wort gets warmer than what the fridge temp probe measures the fridge compressor should kick in and try and cool. Is the Wee Heavy generating more heat for some reason? (But again, if it was, the fridge should simple kick in sooner to cool).

Kal

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timn8or



Joined: 07 May 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Drinking: Kolsch, NEIPA, Munich Helles, Barleywine


PostLink    Posted: Wed Oct 30, 2019 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll monitor it over the next couple of brews and see if notice a pattern. This was the first time I'd seen such a divergence. As I think about it, I'm wondering if it could just be that since the Tilt is floating at the top, the temperature could be a little higher there vs. the overall average.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10501
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doubtful. During active fermentation (when the most heat is generated) the wort is churning and moving over considerably. Example video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xX4D5ffT5sc
Another: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo44pCJm-oU

Kal

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Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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timn8or



Joined: 07 May 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Virginia Beach, VA

Drinking: Kolsch, NEIPA, Munich Helles, Barleywine


PostLink    Posted: Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, interesting thread on this subject: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/temperature-stratification-in-conical-fermentor.626008/. I'm not reading too much into this, but it is interesting that others have observed similar behavior. I'll put a thermo-strip near the bottom of my buckets and see what that reports next time...
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