Are these temps ok for my 1st fermentation?

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jsavage

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I have everything I need to start a 5-6 gallon batch. Going to try frozen grape juice concentrate first, then maybe have a go at some wine from home-grown plumbs or apples in the summer. My question is about fermenting temp in 1st and 2nd stage. My house is fairly old, and not insulated very good. We put in a pellet stove which currently heats the house up to between 70F and 76F depending on the outside temps. However, we don't run it when we're not home and usually turn it off at night so save on fuel, and plus we're paranoid about the flame running while we're not around. I've been monitoring the temps in the main house area as well as a large storage closet. Everything is on 1 level, we don't have a basement. The garage is uninsulated and I think it would get too cold to ferment in there.

In the main house the temperature is currently ranging from 61F to 74F during the day.
In the storage closet it ranges from 61F to 66F.
Those ranges can drop by 5 to 7 degrees if it's very cold outside.

Are either of these ranges OK to ferment in with the EC-1118 strain? I know these are not ideal temps, but I do not mind waiting a little longer for the fermentation to complete, as long as it will not result in a bad taste. Advice is appreciated. Here's the recipe I'm going to start with, comments regarding using cirtic acid instead of blend will be appreciated also. Thank you!

10 cans (11.5 oz) Welch's 100% frozen grape concentrate
6 lbs granulated sugar
2 tablespoons of citric acid
5 tsp pectic enzyme
5 tsp yeast nutrient
water - enough to make 5 gallon
1 pkg - EC-1118 wine yeast
 
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vvolf34

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I am pretty sure EC 1118 can handle lower temps, my room was 68 degrees and it did just fine (I have gotten that temp up to 73 to 75 now). How ever keeping in mind I am new here as well. From my understanding it is better to have a constant temp, wether it is a bit low or hi. Wide temperture swings are what you want to avoid. Find the place with the best constant temp. Now in my copy of wine maker magazine, they say 75 degrees is ideal. Best of luck to you, I am enjoying the hell out of this experience!!
 

mmadmikes1

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I had trouble below 66 when I was experimenting. Find a way to keep it closer to even so you dont shock the little yeasties and have troubles later
 

Green Mountains

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Pick up a brew belt.....they do a great job warming up your primary in a cooler room.

 

AlFulchino

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i agree a brew belt would help....but most of all, especially since you do not have a basement, your floor is likley a source of cool....so get the fermenting tub up on a table ...since heat rises you will likely have a temp a few degrees cooler than on the floor and this will make a big difference
 

jsavage

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Thank you for the advise! A brew belt would be nice, but unfortunately I over spent my budget on the equipment. I do have a small heating blanket, no larger than to put on your feet or chest (15"x20" or so). I'll be implementing that (somehow) to bring the temp up, at least until I can buy a belt.
 

Wade E

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That will work but watch it temp wise so you dont over heat it, also, most heating blankets shut off after 1 hour of use and heating blankets use a lot more electricity.
 

Omerta

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Had the same heat issues during my first kits. Asked the same heating blanket questions. Not the best idea as Wade pointed out. The brew belts are the way to go. I picked up a couple. They get me through the winter months pretty well being that I always seem to get a late start.
 

jsavage

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I used the same heating pad on low back when I was growing button mushrooms. Kept a styrofoam container at 70F very well and it does not shut off, at least on low. I had a few layers of towel betwen the pad and styrofoam. Where the Carboy will weigh so much I will probably wrap it with a towel, then the pad, and then another towel and see how that goes. Hopefully won't get too hot. I'll post the progress.
 

wyntheef

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We like it cool at night, so the thermostat is set at 60. Too cold to ferment, so for now when I've got something starting (which is becoming more often), I've been setting it at 65 (for overnight, higher during the day).
I haven't had any trouble with anything I have done this way. But I do keep the juice up on a table as some have suggested, have used bubble wrap as a kind of thermal insulator around the primary and also have used a small electric heater to warm the primary for small periods of time.

I don't like having to set the thermostat higher for the entire house, or having to use the electric heater, so I was wondering if anyone has come up with any ideas to contain the warmth to a smaller area?

Would a closet with a small lightbulb in it work? Has anyone tried it?

:a1

I know about the heat belts, but have been warned not to use these on glass carboys for threat of explosion. Since there is still some fermenting to do in the secondary, this sounds like a problem to me.
 

TeamKA

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How sensitive do you need to be with temps? Does a swing of 69-72 matter? I keep a thermostat in my fermenting area and I check the temp at least twice a day and I get readings of anywhere from 69-72...
 

xanxer82

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That's Air temp. What you need to really be concerned with is the liquid temp. 70 to 75 is ideal liquid temp. You should certainly get a brew belt. I think I may even pick up a second one. Do you have a food grade floating thermometer? They are worth the small investment.
 

wyntheef

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It is the liquid temerature that is the point, but if air temp is stable in an adequate range, anything placed in that environment would normalize to that, given time. Still, it is re-assuring to have a thermometer in contact with the juice. I personally like the stick-on thermometers. Inexpensive and tell me what I need to know.
 

TeamKA

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I have stick on thermometers, they say the juice is 72. I understand that water holds its heat beter then air but I was just checking to make sure I didn't need to be "hyper sensitive".
 

xanxer82

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Looks like you have nothing to worry about then. :)
 

wyntheef

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I have stick on thermometers, they say the juice is 72. I understand that water holds its heat beter then air but I was just checking to make sure I didn't need to be "hyper sensitive".
Imho, you don't.
It's always good to be fine tuning methods, but if you look at enough posts here, and elsewhere, hyper-sensitivity is not generally neccessary for what wer'e trying to do. After all, the chain is only as strong as it's weakest link; how accurate are any of the instruments available to us anyhow? Unless you're buying labratory quality equipment, probably not very. You could go crazy trying to hold a certain temp and not really know for sure if you are.

75 degrees fermenting temp was suggested for the wine I am doing right now. My basement has only been in the 65-70 range, but it fermented very nicely and is just about done. I've got to work with what I have. Not ideal, but it's good enough for now.

I'm also trying to find a balance between learning what is needed to make wine that I am happy with, and staying sane while doing it. I need to enjoy what I'm doing. So far, it's going pretty darn good. :dg
 
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