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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > swamp cooler with aquarium heater for poor mans dual stage
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:22 AM   #1
beerbeerbeer123
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Default swamp cooler with aquarium heater for poor mans dual stage

Anybody use this technique to control fermentation? Or for that matter just an aquarium heater in a swamp cooler? At the moment i do not have a fermentation chest freezer nor a controller, hurricane sandy stole my gear..I am gonna buy a new set up very soon but i have grains,hops,yeast,water and everything else.. i need to brew im having a withdrawal.

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Old 01-26-2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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That is exactly the setup I use but the coldest my aquarium heater goes is 20C (68F) but otherwise it works great. The aquarium heater is not super accurate, might heat up to 21.5C before it kicks off and let the fermentation cool down to 19 before it kicks on. So, if your really finicky about keeping your fermentation at an exact temp, you might wanna give it a skip. This setup has served me well though, beer always comes out great.

Cheers

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Old 01-26-2013, 08:09 PM   #3
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The downside is most aquarium heaters do not go below 68.

I use an Aqueon pro 150. It goes from 68-88. I mostly use it for brews that need higher temps like Saisons and Belgians. I can start at 68 and slowly ramp it up. It holds temp to within + or - 1/2 degree. It allows me to brew these beers in my very cool basement.

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Old 01-26-2013, 10:48 PM   #4
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I use this set up too. Love it.

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Old 01-29-2013, 01:47 AM   #5
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I've got a 25w fish tank heater and a submergible pump plugged into a DIY STC-1000 controller box. The pump circulates the water while the heater is running. Probably should be cycling the water more often, but it seems to be working good. If I did it again, I'd get the controller first and a more powerful fish tank heater, but I bought the heater before the controller and erred on the side of too small.

With the controller, no need to worry about the operating range of the heater.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:16 PM   #6
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FWIW, if I set mine on 68, its lowest setting, it holds the water at about 64. That's in the winter when my basement temp is in the upper 50s.

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Old 02-23-2013, 12:46 AM   #7
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Hogwash - how many watts is your heater? I'm thinking doing this. But, I am worried that a minimum temperature of 68 is too high.

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