Kurt’s Fermentation Temperature Control System

Kurt’s Fermentation Temperature Control System

Recently a Winemaker’s Academy member shared this amazing system, that he developed, for controlling the temperature of a wine fermentation. In this post Kurt shares all of the equipment necessary to build this system. I (Matt Williams) have done some minor editing to convert it from an email to an article but by in large this entire article is in Kurt’s words. Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have in the comments below. Also if you decide to build this system for yourself please share your results in the comments. The original email included links to equipment available on ebay, however, given the frequency at which items turn over on that site maintaining those links proved to be too difficult. So you’ll have to do some hunting for these components but they should be easy enough to find given the amount of information Kurt has provided. And now for Kurt’s Temperature Control System: I have been using this system over a year now and have found it to be exceptionally effective in controlling the temperature. I tried a brew belt, but found it impossible to reliably control the temperature (probably because I was using it in an extremely cold winter [for us in England] in an unheated building, and then in a building that was unheated overnight in winter). Of course this only works if the ambient temperature is less than 25° C (77° F), which is not a problem for us in England almost every day of the year (or century). I remember reading in C.J.J. Berry’s book, First Steps in Winemaking, that the yeast likes a very stable temperature. With this system, there is still a small fluctuation in temperature, because the fermenter is not completely submersed, but it is typically very small, within a degree or so. (I have my tubs in a building that is not heated overnight, so there is often a very considerable drop in ambient temperature overnight in the winter, so I have given it a very good test.) Here is a description of the components and comments about the various equipment and prices. I have only included them to complete the list of potential equipment. Many of these items are not strictly necessary, but are nice to have. See the discussion for each item. Aquarium Fish Tank 2 Way Air Flow Distributor Splitter Control Lever Pump Valve These are simply more sophisticated versions of a cheaper plastic T valve. Often individual air-stones have different air resistance, so these allow you to easily adjust the air pressure for each stone, so that they produce an even amount of bubbles on each side of the tub. I only use these. PVC Tube Clear Flexible Plastic Hose Pipe – Fish, Pond, Car, Aquariums, Air Line I ordered a 10cm sample size (cut it to 2.5cm length) and found that it fitted perfectly around the thermometer to then fit in the airlock grommet with an airtight seal. Silverline Flat Bit 13mm 128573 Hand Tools Drill Power Holes Wood Drilling Brace Essential for drilling gromet holes in the lids of 23L fermentation buckets....

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How to Control Your Wine Fermentation Temperature – WMA009

How to Control Your Wine Fermentation Temperature – WMA009

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma009.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSControlling Your Wine Fermentation Temperatures The temperature of your wine fermentation plays a big rol in how your final product will turn out. If it gets too hot or too cold things you can end up with flavor issues, or worse, a stuck fermentation. In this podcast you’ll discover a few different ways of heating and cooling a fermenting wine to ensure that you maintain the proper temperature. There are simple and inexpensive methods and then, of course, there are most costly methods that can sometimes offer better temperature control. Listener Questions Here is the lineup of listener questions addressed in this show: How do you use inert gases to sparge a carboy? I accidentally added too much potassium metabisulfite. What do I do now? How many days do you keep the grape skins on the must during fermentation? Can oak cubes or spirals be used more than once? I won’t be home to rack my wine to the secondary fermenter. Is this a problem? Resources and Products Mentioned The following articles and products were mentioned throughout the podcast. Brew Belt Carboy insulative wrap Johnson Digital Temperature Controller (for freezers and refrigerators) Glycol chillers Chilling coil* Private Preserve inert gasses Potassium Metabisulfite Calculator Oak Products Explained Winemaker’s Answer Book by Alison Crowe *DO NOT use copper coils as the pH of wine is strong enough to cause more copper to disburse into your wine which can become a health...

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Effects of Fermentation Temperature on Wine

Effects of Fermentation Temperature on Wine

Heat is a catalyst. By definition when it is applied to a chemical reaction or biological process it speeds things up. The same is true for fermentation. The higher your fermentation temperature the faster your yeast will convert sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. While this sounds great on the surface you never really want to rush anything when it comes to making wine. Warm fermentations can lack character as well as any terroir you might be hoping to capture in your finished wine. Cooler fermentation temperatures help preserve the uniqueness of your specific fruit and helps the character and terroir shine through. For better or worse cool fermentations take longer to complete. Ideal Wine Fermentation Temperature Ranges According to yeast producer Wyeast red wines should be fermented between 70 and 85 degrees F (20-30 degrees C). You’ll get better color and tannin extraction at the higher end of this spectrum. In this temperature range fruity flavors and aromas don’t get preserved which can be good for a red wine. When fermentation temperatures that approach 90 degrees F though you can run into cooked flavors. White wine fermentation temperatures should be between 45 and 60 degrees F (7-16 degrees C). These lower temperatures help preserve fruitiness and volatile aromatics, characteristics more in line with a white wine. White wine fermentations take longer. Academy member Rob ferments his white wines at 45 – 50 degrees and they can take up to a couple months to complete. Extreme Temperatures Going beyond ideal fermentation temperatures can cause problems. Ferment too hot or too cold and your wine will suffer. Fermentations that get too hot not only ferment too fast but it could lead to “cooked” flavors. Your wine will taste like it was boiled on the stove. Additionally, yeast can only tolerate fermentation temperatures that are so high. Go beyond their maximum temperature tolerance and they’ll die. Keep in mind that the fermentation process is exothermic which means that heat is produced as the yeast are doing their work. So even if your wine is stored where the room temperature is within the ideal temperature range your wine could still over get over heated. At the other extreme if your wine gets too cold your yeast will go dormant. The good news here is that when your fermentation temperature rises again the yeast will  likely wake up again and continue fermenting. Even if they don’t come back you can pitch more yeast and continue where you left off. Your wine won’t get damaged by excessively cold temperatures like it will with excessively warm temperatures. Measuring Fermentation Temperatures The simplest way to monitor your fermentation temperature is to use a sanitized kitchen thermometer. Just open up your fermentation vessel and take a measurement. Be sure to work as quickly as you can to limit the amount of time your wine is exposed to oxygen. Another option is to get a self adhesive temperature strip. It sticks right to the side of your carboy or fermenter and displays the internal temperature. While these aren’t accurate to the tenth of a degree or anything they will at least give...

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