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Evaporative Cooling of Carboys

Submitted by: Rob on September 08th, 2002

When it is warm or when the fermentation of your wort heats up your carboys (or other fermentation vessel), one easy method to chill them is evaporative cooling. Wrap a cloth around your carboys, get the cloth wet, and turn the fan on them. Keep applying water to the cloth as it evaporates, or until you reach your desired temperature.

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Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Dec 19th 2002, 08:51 pm
This sounds like too much work. I usually keep my boil volume to 3 gallons or less and use up to 2 gallons of cold water in the fermenter. The most time I've waited to pitch was about 7-8 hours. Some say I'm inviting contamination, but I've been 100% successful. Wort chillers are obviously the best way to go, if you have one.
Comment by: daftpunk reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Dec 21st 2002, 06:10 pm
Evaporative cooling is useful after it's been chilled and the yeast has been pitched and it's in the carboy. If the outer surroundings are too hot and you need to do something to keep things cool.

I've read this tip somewhere else and it mentions placing the carboy in a large plastic pan so that the towel you put around it sits in water that you put in the pan and climbs up into the towel. The fan then evaporates this water and cools things down.

When you sweat in the summer time, your body is using evaporative cooling to cool you off. It's the same principle.
Comment by: rob reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Jan 2nd 2003, 04:50 am
In my last batch I tried a little trick from BREW magazine. You sterilize a gallon container and fill with boiled then cooled water. You then freeze it and cut it out(I sterilized my razor blade first) at cooling time and add the block of ice into the brew pot. Next time I'll use a large plastic soda bottle instead of a milk jug (hard to get out of irregular jug w/handle) and will allow more time for freezing (might make two such ice blocks well ahead of time and simply keep it on hand for my next batch. Otherwise it works great!
Comment by: Ray reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Aug 14th 2003, 09:20 pm
I've recently lost my basement due to moving to a condo so my "cellar" temperature just shot up from about 65 to about 78. Well, I found that I could chill two (plastic) fermenters by wrapping them with bath towels and placing them in two inches of cool water in a spare bathtub. Using a high-velocity fan (suitable for drying out a wet basement) I got the temperature down to 68. Of interest, though, is the fact that the speed of the fan made almost no difference. It seems the air would become as saturated as it would get and higher speeds on the fan wouldn't make the towels pump any more water. The solution was to turn the fan down (because of the noise) and open the bathroom door. The towels actually kept themselves wet by wicking the water up. I now do all my fermenting in my lagering fridge (the only real solution to the problem).
Comment by: Matt reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Oct 25th 2003, 02:07 pm
Agree with Ron, wrapping wet beach towel around fermenter. 2-3 bung cords will hold towel in place nicely. For us lazy ones after towel is wet, but fermenter into a cheap soild plastic laundy basket with water. Works on the princple of the old swamp coolers.
Comment by: Philip reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Sep 14th 2004, 05:46 am
texas heat. I use a large plastic storage tub with 3 to 4 inches of water. put an old t-shirt on my carboy and float 2 frozen 20 oz plastic soda bottles. exchange the soda bottles twice a day.
Comment by: carl reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Dec 29th 2004, 07:04 am
I cut the bottom out of an old 10 imp. gal. carboy and placed over a 5 imp gal glass carboy using shims to keep it just off the floor. The 5 gal glass carboy was sitting in a wash basin of water and draped over with a towel. I placed a cooling fan from a computer power supply over the neck of the outer plastic carboy and powered it with an 12/120 volt a c adapter. The effective temperature drop was 7 - 9 deg. F below ambient temperature using this setup.
Comment by: Alvin reply to comment
Re: Evaporative Cooling of Carboys Jan 23rd 2006, 09:20 pm
I just turn my thermostat down to 70 and forget about it...
Comment by: Anonymous Brewer reply to comment