This is a review of the Cool Brewing Fermentation Cooler Bag.
When you want to step up your brewing game but don’t want to invest into a dedicated fridge, grab a fermentation temperature control bag
That was my situation. I bought the Cool Brewing bag and after several uses, I can soundly recommend it.
In this review, I will go through the features of this fermentation cooler bag and show you how it can improve your next batches of homebrew.
Let’s get started.
Cool Brewing Fermentation Cooler Bag Overview
This bag works exactly like a cooler. Yes, like the one you take to go camping.
It is insulated, which means that if you put ice in it, the inside of the bag stays cool.
Why is it good for homebrewers?
You can keep the temperature of your fermenting beer under control during the hot summer months or if you live in a tropical place where the ambient temperature isn’t suitable for a healthy fermentation (usually below 73° F or 23° C).
And if you’re reading this, it means you know that fermentation temperature is key to making a good beer.
I was actually very surprised to read in How to Brew that John Palmer considers fermentation temperature control to be the 2nd most important thing (after Sanitation, #1) to make great beer; not the recipe, not the gear.
That’s when I decided to look into a solution to manage my fermentation temperatures better.
With the Cool Brewing bag, I’ve been able to keep my fermentation temperature in the range of 64 – 70°F (18-21°C) in summer.
Pros and Cons
|Easy to keep the temperature cool (with bottles of ice)||At first, a bit difficult to manage the temperature in the bag|
|Lots of space in the bag (for at least two 5-gallon carboys or buckets)||Need to change the ice often (at least once a day)|
|Easy to clean|
|Takes less room than a dedicated fridge. Can be folded and put away when not being used.|
- Keeps a low temperature. It keeps the temperature low for a decent amount of time. I found out that what works the best for me is to change the bottle of ice once a day. Usually the bottle(s) are not completely melted but almost.
- Keeps the beer in the dark. No need to put it in a dark closet, the bag allows no light.
- The bag is foldable, easy to clean and put away when not in use.
- Can fit at least two 5-gallon fermenters. The diameter is 20.5 inches (52.1cm), I didn’t try but I think you could cram a third one in there. It’s quite tall, 26.4 inches (67.3 cm) so it could also fit a conical fermenter.
How to Use the Cool Brewing Bag
I freeze bottles of water of 1 L or 1.5L and leave them inside the Cooler bag next to the fermenter.
I also stick the thermometer to the fermenter allowing me to know if I hit my target temperature.
It took a bit of tweaking over the first few days to get the temperature I wanted inside the bag. Basically, I was putting in too many iced bottles so the temperature went down too low inside the bag.
I found out that 1L of ice for 1 day would lower the temp 5 to 10° F (3 to 5° C) inside the bag than outside.
I made an experiment and took some readings several times per day for 2 weeks for this beer in fermentation to compare the temperature inside and outside the cooler bag.
For your information, the beer was a Double IPA and the recipe I was following was calling for a fermentation temperature of 68° F (20°C). In the month of May, the temperature in my Barcelona flat was already a bit high, around 73-77° F (23-25° C).
Here are the results:
Changing the Ice
Open the bag, remove the melted bottle of ice and replace it with a new one.
This Cooler bag does take less room and money than a dedicated fridge, but the drawback is that you constantly have to change the ice. Once or even twice a day depending on the outside temperature.
So you can’t really go on a vacation, leave it alone and forget it like you could do with a dedicated fridge.
If you don’t change the ice, the temperature inside the bag will quickly climb to the outside temperature in a day or so. And so does the temperature of your fermenting beer.
Cool Brewing Fermentation Cooler Bag Reviews
96% of homebrewers would recommend this Fermentation Cooler Bag to a friend. Over 170 reviews give this product an average rating of 4.7/5 stars on Amazon.
Fermentation Cooler Bag vs Fermentation Fridge
If you have enough room at home and the budget, I’d recommend going for a fermentation fridge. It’s easy, set it and forget it. You can be sure that the temperature will be totally stable.
But if you don’t have a spare fridge that you can transform into a fermentation chamber, you’re looking at buying a new fridge ($100-200) and an Inkbird (around $40). Quite a budget compared to the price of the Cool Brewing bag (around $70).
Also, if you live like me in a rather small flat in a city, you might not have enough space for a beer fridge. In my case, I surely don’t.
Should I Buy The Cool Brewing Fermentation Cooler Bag?
If you want to control your fermentation temperature during the summer months and not break the bank (a dedicated fridge can be pricey), then I recommend the Cool Brewing bag.
Controlling the temperature of your fermentation is a big step towards the grail: making great beer. It surely works for me.