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Old 03-06-2006, 03:41 PM   #1
cweston
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Default heat-controlled fermenting box

I'm thinking about rigging up some sort of small fermenting enclosure in the basement with a lightbulb and thermostat.

I know that sunlight and flourescent light are very bad for beer. I assume that beer in a carboy would also need to be protected from in incandescent bulb, right?

Also, any estimates on how what wattage lightbulb is needed to create how much warming above ambient temperature? The ambient temp in my basement is usually 59-61, so we're talking about a very modest heating need.

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Old 03-06-2006, 03:59 PM   #2
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You could use a fermentation chiller and adjust the specs a bit to be a fermentation heater as well. I don't have the heat problem and the fan is run via 12v. Thinking of a 12v higher watt light bulb you could put in series with the fan "may" be enough to bring up the temp. And if you have too hot of ferments in the summer you can use it as a chiller of course.

http://65.101.176.180/Beer/fermchiller/default.htm

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Old 03-06-2006, 04:04 PM   #3
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Or you could add warm water into ice chambers. Not sure how often you'd have to switch but your most critical time is primary for the higher (68) temp so you'd only be managing that in the 5-7 day time window. Since heat rises though it's a little inverse to the pull the cold up thing.

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Old 03-06-2006, 05:20 PM   #4
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Default One cheap way...

The EZ way to go would be to buy a temp controller and put 2 100 watt standard light bulbs on it and set it to turn of at the temp you want. If the box you put it in is well insulated this will only run about 2 or 3 hours a day and provide ample heat. Make sure there is insulation under the box so the floor won't leach your heat.

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Old 03-06-2006, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jsin
The EZ way to go would be to buy a temp controller and put 2 100 watt standard light bulbs on it and set it to turn of at the temp you want. If the box you put it in is well insulated this will only run about 2 or 3 hours a day and provide ample heat. Make sure there is insulation under the box so the floor won't leach your heat.
Yeah, that's about what I had in mind. Do you think an old shirt or something over the carboy would be sufficient to protect it from the light?
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Old 03-07-2006, 05:41 PM   #6
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Numerious previous posts say that the light from a light bulb has no affect on the beer. Its only a particular ray from the sun that affects it. If your paranoid, you could use a dark colored shirt.

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Old 03-07-2006, 07:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Yeah, that's about what I had in mind. Do you think an old shirt or something over the carboy would be sufficient to protect it from the light?

I just use some spare curtains my last girlfriend left when she moved out but a dark shirt would work fine.
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Old 03-07-2006, 07:35 PM   #8
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it's UV light that causes hops to go skunky (sunlight, flourescent lights). Standard, incandescent bulbs will not affect your beer at all.

I currently have my carboys in my garage in a fridge which is connected to an external thermostat. That thermostat and the fridge's compressor ensure that my beer doesn't get too warm.

However, since this is located in my poorly insulated garage, I have problems with things getting too cold in the winter. Up until last week, I 'solved' this problem by putting a lamp with a 25W lightbulb inside the fridge and just left it running constantly. The lamp and the fridge battled each other constantly, but the Dynamic Duo kept the temp in the 62-70°F range.

I finally motivated myself and bought a simple thermostat at HomeDepot last week and connected it to my lamp so that the lamp only kicks on when the temp hits 62°F. I plan to put a bigger lightbulb (wattage wise) in to the lamp now that it's properly controlled. I had used 25W in the first place because I knew I was going to have an eternal battle between the lamp and compressor, but that battle is now over. As long as the outside temp stays between 62° and 70°, neither my lamp nor my fridge will run.

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