Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's frickin' cold in my basement!

I just made a starter for the lager I plan to brew next weekend. I've decided to brew all my lagers in a row this year for a couple of reasons.

  1. I can reuse the yeast saving some expense and time.
  2. It's frickin' cold in my basement!

In the past, I had made lagers throughout the year. I would time them so I had free space in my freezer chest/converted kegerator to ferment cool and lager cold. It would also guarantee that I always had something on tap because I would alternate a lager which takes a lot longer with some ales that were done fairly quickly. It dawned on me that I was causing myself a lot of extra trouble shifting things in and out of the kegerator, and constantly adjusting the temperature if I was fermenting or lagering. I also realized that my basement in winter is a perfect temperature for fermenting lagers, and that I could keep the kegerator a little colder than normal when lagering, and still be able to use it to serve my other beers. As far as keeping something on tap, I decided to do split lager/ale batches, hence my Anglerman Ale made at the same time as the Johann Sebastian Bock. Next week I'm going to do a split Classic American Pilsner (CAP) and a Cream Ale.

So how frickin' cold is it in my basement? I take two readings, the first of which I call the WOF temperature. WOF stands for water-on-floor, which is exactly what it sounds like, it's the temperature of a 500ml glass bottle of water sitting on the concrete slab floor. WOF today was 46 degrees fahrenheit. I also take a WOT temperature reading. WOT is the temperature of a 500ml glass bottle of water sitting on an approximately 3 foot high wooden table in the basement. (Water-on-table, but you already guessed that, didn't you?) WOT was most recently observed at 50F. I measure water temperature instead of air temperature, because I'm sure the air temperature varies a lot more.

Now the yeast fermenting wort into beer create their own heat, so fermentation temperatures are going to be slightly higher, and I adjust accordingly. I'm going to put the starters and the pilsner on the table, even with the heat of fermentation, they should stay below 55F. I'll ferment the cream ale upstairs in my brew closet. For later lagers, I'll place them on the floor. I should be good until about April 1st, when last year the WOF was 54.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a plan! How is your bock doing?