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Old 02-19-2010, 03:33 PM   #1
legaleagle
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Default Anyone with "Brew Belt" experience?

Looking for feedback on Brew Belt as found here: http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREW_..._P1974C100.cfm

I am looking at this as a possible solution for a lager brewing set up issue I have. I have a side-by-side fridge/freezer in my garage. The freezer side is used heavily to keep our family's frozen bulk foods (think Sam's Club). The fridge side is used lightly and I have wifey's permission to stick a bucket or carboy in the fridge side (yea, either will fit ). Problem is that I cannot get the fridge side warmer than 42 degrees, which would effectively limit all my lagers to the cold tolerant Danish Lager yeast (ie, Wyeast 2042). And, because I need the freezer section to keep food frozen (and the compressor pumps into the freezer, with bleed-off of cold air into the fridge via holes in the middle wall), a thermostat override controller or unplugging the unit won't work (and no, getting another fridge or freezer is not an option ).

This Brew Belt thingy seems like a potentially like a cheap, simple solution to my problem. The advertisement says it will keep the fermenter 10 degrees above the ambient temp. This would put me in the 52 degree range and open up the full spectrum of lager yeasts for me. So my question is does this thing really work? and will it work in my fridge as described?

Hearing from somebody with actual experience would help. Thanks!

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:29 PM   #2
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I like the idea, and will let others comment if that will work. I have one and use it, but I do know you should not use it with glass carboy. It has the potential to create a hotspot and could lead to glass failure. But on the bucket, no problem.

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:41 PM   #3
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Your idea is sound, but I would recommend using this instead of the brew belt.

http://www.homebrewers.com/c=JK789E5...oy-Heater.html

I would also recommend using a temp controller to control the carboy heater.

Happy fementations.

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:42 PM   #4
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cayuga - can you give me an idea of your experience with the temperature rise? is a 10 degree rise from ambient your experience as advertised? since this thing does not appear to have a thermostat, it seems logical to me that the warmer the ambient (ie, 55-60 degrees) the higher the brew belt will rise the fermenter (like say 15-20 degrees), whereas the colder the ambient (i.e. 40-45 degrees) the less the brew belt would rise the fermenter (like say 8-10 degrees) given that it gives off a fixed amount of heat. the latter scenario is what i am hoping for as anything in the 48-53 degree range would be ideal for my purposes.

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:44 PM   #5
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I have one; I use it to keep my cold office temps from making ale yeast sleepy during the winter, or to help boost saison yeast (and some other belgians). It works well, and might be a solution to your problem, especially if you add some outer insulation to the bucket / better bottle. I can also say that my carboy didn't fail the time I tried it (somehow I missed the warning), but don't do it. get a BB, or use a bucket.

YMMV

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:54 PM   #6
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I use a Brew Belt and think it is pretty nice. I do use it on glass although it is not recommended. As far as the raise in temperature, I think it advertises to keep the temp between 70 and 75 but obviously if it is in 45 degree fridge, this would not be true. In my basement right now I think it is raising the temp of a carboy about 8 - 10 degrees.

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:57 PM   #7
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T-Hops - THAT is exactly what I need! Looks to be the more controllable solution. Thanks for the suggestion

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Old 02-19-2010, 04:59 PM   #8
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You are welcome. Good luck on your lager fermenations.

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Old 02-19-2010, 05:53 PM   #9
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I do like that wrap around for the carboy. as far as temperature raise, you have some control. the higher on the bucket, the less rise in temp. Place the belt toward the bottom, you get a little more heat (effect, not actual output). If you have an active fermentation (that rolling boil look), were it resides may not have that much effect as the wort mixes itself. My results were a 55* basement, doing ales in the 65* range (+ or -). Originally, I bought it for winemaking, and still use it for that.

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Old 02-19-2010, 06:01 PM   #10
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Your idea sounds good, but if you were going to use a thermostat, where would you put the probe?

I haven't done it yet, but I'm going to be putting my glass carboy in a storage bin with about 6-10 inches of water. I'll use a submersible aquarium heater (30-40w) and tape the thermister on the outside of the carboy above the waterline (lightly insulated). This is because my basement is a wee bit too cold.

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