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Where is the ideal place to ferment my beer?

Possible locations for me are:

  • Extra room inside
  • Garage
  • Back porch

Of those three places, which would be the best overall place?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Whichever place can maintain a steady temp of about 62-65F for ales or 45-50F for lagers. That's the main concern. After that, you want to make it someplace that's easily accessible. Someplace you can keep dark would be great, but you can always just cover the fermenter if the space isn't dark.

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I would also venture to guess that the spare room will maintain the most steady temperature, since weather generally has a stronger effect on garages and back porches. – Brandon Feb 16 '11 at 4:54

The best place would be the one that maintains a relatively constant target temperature and doesn't expose the beer to sunlight/UV. My 2/3 season porch tends to fluctuate temperature during the day, especially on sunny days. My garage is underground and holds a good low, cave-like, temperature (lager temps in winter). Above-ground garages may not be so ideal. Depending on time of year, spare rooms in my house sit at, roughly, ideal ale temperatures, but my basement is usually my go-to.

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All three can work very well, as others have said the key aspects are consistent temperature and preventing exposure to light. If none of your locations suit both these concerns then you could consider using an insulated fermentation chamber such as a freezer, fridge, or a large cooler (if your fermenter can fit).

Using a cooler will likely require some extra monitoring and temperature control (adding bottles of ice to offset the exothermic fermentation); using a fridge or freezer is a larger initial investment, but once converted they can be very nice to have (you can purchase a custom controller to keep the temperature perfectly suited to your fermentation type).

If temperature is fine, but light is an issue, then a simple large box can work fine as a chamber to block light.

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Fermentation chamber is definitely the way to go. Lager in the summer! – BoilerBrad May 26 '11 at 11:02

During the winter I ferment in a little closet off my office. It holds a nice 66 degrees which works well for most yeasts. I have to move down to my basement to get the cooler temps in the summer.

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