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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > To belt, or not to belt, that is the question.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:05 PM   #1
diptherunner
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Default To belt, or not to belt, that is the question.

Hey everyone! So I have a stout in my basement that is 2 weeks old. I used wyeast northwest ale yeast in it. Everything looks ok, and it's got a nice Krausen on top. No airlock activity, but that's to be expected. The temperature of the basement is 62 degrees. I have a brew belt, thanks to Christmas, and I wonder if I should use it now. I don't want to mess it up or create any off flavors. OG was 1.061 and final is supposed to be 1.021. Thoughts?

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Old 12-25-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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What's the gravity now? 62 should be more than fine. Unless fermentation was stalled or you found yourself in mid 59s you're solid.

Brew a saison next and use the belt then.

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Old 12-25-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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Yea take a gravity reading.

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Old 12-25-2012, 10:30 PM   #4
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2 weeks is quite a bit late to start ramping up the temp. I usually start to increase the temp toward the end of primary fermentation... just a few days.

I would not expect any off favors at this point, but if the fermentation is finished it might not help much.

Do you have a controller? Even without one you are probably safe as they usually don't heat more than 10F.
I stopped using my ferm wrap and brew belt until I could get another temp controller. My keezer borrowed it for the last year.

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Old 12-25-2012, 11:51 PM   #5
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How would you use a controller? Which one? I am stuck in no-man's land with temps. I can get 60-63 consistently, but no warmer without additional heat. Good for many beers, but tough for others.

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Old 12-26-2012, 01:25 AM   #6
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62 is chilly, though if you pitched enough healthy yeast and kept that temp solid then it should be done or on it's way. Gradually raising the temp 4- 6 degrees can only help. You could potentially clean up off-flavors, yet have little to no concern of causing any.

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Old 12-26-2012, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diptherunner View Post
How would you use a controller? Which one? I am stuck in no-man's land with temps. I can get 60-63 consistently, but no warmer without additional heat. Good for many beers, but tough for others.
I use the Johnson a419, it turn on the heat (brew belt or fermwrap) when the probe falls below a certain set point of your choosing.

There are other brands but the Johnson A419 is super common with home brewers. There are probably hundreds of threads that discuss it here at HBT.

Also, if you have never listened to Jamil and John Palmer's Episode of Brew Strong on fermentation temperature control from 7-13-09, you really should.

Here is the link:
http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/533
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tap 1 - air
tap 2 - Pils (Magnum hops and S-23)
tap 3 - Bravo Brown Belgian Ale (T-58)
Keg 1/4/5 - starsan

Fermenting: 1.069 American Stout (15 gal)

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Old 12-26-2012, 05:31 PM   #8
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after 2 weeks, raising the temp probably won't do much... but it can't hurt to try.

a cheaper but less precise way of controlling a belt/blanket is to use a wall-timer, the kind you use to automatically turn lights on and off (like these). i ramp up by keeping the belt plugged in until i reach my target, then half-hour on/half-hour off will maintain the temp. an actual controller would be much better and require less vigilance but this system works for me. helps if you compulsively keep checking your carboys like i do.

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Old 12-27-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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I tested my brew belt in the garage last night and it increased 5 gallons of water 7F over the ambient temp of 45F.

I plugged in the brew belt into my Johnson A419 and to the temp reading from a thermowell in the middle of the plastic bucket. (The Johnson was set at 57F but was running continuously and could not achieve that temp in the garage.)

I will retest with my Fermwrap on the bucket and see what that can do.

7F is not bad for the brew belt, in fact that might be too much if used indoors during the first few days of primary.
After 3-4 days of fermentation, it should be ok.

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tap 1 - air
tap 2 - Pils (Magnum hops and S-23)
tap 3 - Bravo Brown Belgian Ale (T-58)
Keg 1/4/5 - starsan

Fermenting: 1.069 American Stout (15 gal)

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Old 12-28-2012, 02:24 PM   #10
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I tested the FermWrap last night.


I was able to hold 65F in the 45F garage. I didn't try to go any higher that was the set point I selected on the controller.

The website suggest that if you don't have a controller you can control the temperature by only letting part of the fermwrap touch the carboy/buckett. Since liquid takes so long to heat up that could take a lot of trail and error. The controller is a much better solution if you can justify the cost.

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tap 1 - air
tap 2 - Pils (Magnum hops and S-23)
tap 3 - Bravo Brown Belgian Ale (T-58)
Keg 1/4/5 - starsan

Fermenting: 1.069 American Stout (15 gal)

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