Question on light

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Question on light

Postby lgtg » Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:44 pm

Greetings everyone,

I'm a novice to home brewing. I have been reading as much as I can find on the subject. As a way to see whether I would actually enjoy it, I was given a Beer Machine for Christmas.

So far it has provided me with a first hand look at the "mechanics" of the process of fermenting. I live in south Florida and as such, have reservations on how successful I can be with the climate her (year long temp average of 80 degrees) Any reassurences would be appreciated.

My question to you is on light. I have read about direct sunlight, but what about indirect sunlight? The Beer Machine is a closed system with a dark brown fermenter. In addition to natural sunlight, what about artificial light? How much harm could be done when using a flash light to "peek" into the fermenter to monitor activity.

We have a pretty dark house (people have admitted that it was pretty difficult to not fall asleep in here) I'm limited on space. Any insight would be great. Thanks!

Larry
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light is bad

Postby akueck » Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:09 pm

Two things to consider about light and beer:

1. Yeast likes the dark better. The brown fermenter should probably be fine to keep it dark enough. If you're worried, put it in a closet (I do) or cover it with a towel/blanket/old t-shirt.

2. UV light + hops = skunky. Direct sunlight has more UV than reflected, flourescent lighting has more than incandensant. Again, a brown fermenter should shield it enough (if it's not outside, e.g.); also use brown bottles (or green if you have to, but stay away from the clear ones). The towel trick also works wonders.

A flashlight every so often should be fine. I've peeked in with one and haven't had any ill effects. They're not very bright. Just don't go using a spotlight. :D

I would try to keep the temp during fermentation below 80 though, or find a yeast that works well at higher temperatures.
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Phew!

Postby lgtg » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:11 pm

Thanks for the insight. You pretty much confirmed my "gut" on the light issue. Like I said, it's already pretty dark in my home and it's not like I have the beer really close to an open window. I'll take it as good enough for Beer Machine beer. Next batch I will take your adivce and employ a towel though.

My wife has comprimised with me on the temp, although even for Florida she's not too happy about it being 70
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Postby slothrob » Sat Jan 06, 2007 8:04 am

Listermann.com has a Pale Ale beer kit that's a step up from the BeerMan kits, using fresh malt extract and hops, but sized for the beer machine (I'm assuming here that your using the 2.5 gallon model). You'll make a good beer with that kit. He's also pretty accomadating, and I'm sure would put together an appropriately sized kit for whatever style of beer you want to make, though I'd avoid lagers with those temperatures.

Perhaps you could set one room to a low temperature? I rely on the cellar for lower temperatures in warmer weather, but that's probably not an option in Florida. A pan of water can help keep the fermenter a couple degrees cooler, but watch for mold.
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carboy cooling

Postby akueck » Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:36 pm

If it's not already super humid in your place, you could combine the towel with the water pan for some evaporative cooling effect. I did that over the summer when we got our little heat wave in CA: carboy in a pan of water with an old shirt draped over it. The water evaporates off the shirt and cools the carboy a few degrees. Not much cooling, but it could just be enough.
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Now we're talking...

Postby lgtg » Sun Jan 07, 2007 5:42 pm

Thanks guys for the very clever advice. I'd already heard about the towel\shirt idea, sounds like a good idea for two reasons; Light restriction and it may make the difference of a few degrees on the fermenter.

Slothrob, thanks for the new link. This is the answer to ny future with the Beer Machine. I committed to it for the better part of a year (or at least until next Christmas when I can upgrade to an imtermediate kit) and while my very first batch of beer (according to the directions of the Beer Machine) had all the foundational qualities of beer (I would relegate it to low-quality but not un-drinkable) but will be excited to discover mixes or kits that will give my beer body, charecter and depth (all of which the machine failed to produce)

I'm not dettered to continue my fundamentals learning with the machine and I'm optamistic that I can make acceptable beer with it by altering or "customizing" some things so for now I appreciate any tips you could add that will help me to prepare myself for future brewing with better gear. Take care guys.

Larry
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Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:30 pm
Location: Cape Coral, Florida


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