Can you Brew Beer in Self Storage?

beer glass fullphoto © 2005 Tim (Timothy) Pearce | more info (via: Wylio

The DIY aesthetic is increasing in popularity across the country. From making your preserves to knitting to hacking Ikea; more and more people are getting back to basics and making things for themselves. What’s great about these projects is that, after you put in the time and effort make something from scratch, be it a pie or a potholder, you’ve got something to appreciate, enjoy, and share at the end of the project. This couldn’t be more true of something that it is of homebrewed beer. And the cool part is that for how impressed your friends will be, it actually isn’t all that difficult.

But this isn’t a beer brewing blog, is it? No, there are plenty of other blogs and sites that cover that sort of thing (see the end of this post for a list of our sources and others) so we won’t dive in to the nitty gritty here. Instead, let’s look at how having an affordable storage unit may or may not speed your way to sipping a stein of sweet stout.

The actual process of preparing the beer: boiling, adding hops, all the way up to fermentation will probably only take you about 2 hours [3]. But once you have your beer mixture, or “wort” as it is more properly called, you have to let it ferment. This process can take anywhere from one week to much longer, though 2 weeks is generally a good rule of thumb. [5] So this brings us to the purpose of storage in brewing your own beer. Sure, you probably won’t be making huge barrels worth of beer right off the bat and if you’re a homeowner you may be able to keep it in your garage. But we all know that it’s tricky enough to fit all of your tools in the garage much less a car and even less a future keg of beer. So can you ferment your beer in a storage unit?

As with anything we say on this blog, keep in mind that each storage facility is different and if you have questions about the terms of your lease at your particular facility, you should speak with them directly. Or if you rent self storage through Storitz.com, we’ll be happy to get in touch with the facility with questions you may have.

That being said: yes, you can ferment your concoction in a storage unit. The requirements for the fermentation process are a dark area that stays a fairly consistent room temperature which is a bill many storage units could fit. In more intense seasons or climates, you will probably want to make sure that you have a climate controlled unit so the temperature will be regulated. Some types of beer, such as lagers) do require refrigeration during the fermentation process, which may or may not be possible at your storage facility.

You will also make want to make sure that you keep your brewing implements clean and sealed where appropriate. There are mixed opinions on whether or not fermenting beer attracts rodents. One contributor on a beer crewing message board insists that “mice will find the smell of your wort just as appetizing as you do” while another counters that “The brewing process itself will not attract mice.
What will make mice come is sloppy brewing and poor storage practices.”[4]. Either way, it’s important to keep everything clean throughout the brewing process and upon fermentation, for the sake of your beer and your storage facility.

When the fermentation really gets going, some of the “kraeusen” – the foam at the top of the wort that forms as the yeast will come out the top of the airlock you have in place. To keep things clean, especially if you’re going to be leaving it in a storage unit, you can create a siphon with a tube through the hole of the airlock that has it’s other end in a bucket of water. That way kraeusen can escape, but any bacteria or flies or what have you can’t get into the beer (details on constructing this contraption here).

One draw back to keeping your beer in a storage unit rather than your home is that you ought to check on it. After 24 hours, the beer should be bubbling from the yeast and if it hasn’t begun bubbling after 48 hours, you may have a dead yeast problem that will need to be addressed. Of course, you already know the importance of convenience when it comes to self storage so as long as you’ve got a unit that’s easy for you to access, checking in on your brew shouldn’t be a problem. Heck, there are plenty of people who visit their storage unit every day just to, you know, hang out. And they’re not even getting beer out of the deal.

Once your beer is fully fermented, you may want to check with the facility manager to make sure it’s ok for you to bottle it on site as well. Who knows, may he’ll be more amenable to the idea if you offer him his own bottle ☺

Have you ever brewed your own beer? Would you let it ferment at a storage facility?

References
1. http://www.wikihow.com/Brew-Your-Own-Beer
2. http://beercraftbook.com/2011/05/stoaked/
3. http://www.byo.com/newbrew
4. http://terrencetheblack.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=25434
5. http://www.brew-dudes.com/primary-fermentation/121

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