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Old 10-22-2009, 05:25 PM   #1
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Default Fermenting in fridge/freezer - when ambient/room temp colder than desired?

Well, I know you can obviously use a freezer/fridge and temp controller to ferment things at a more precise temp when you need things colder than the surrounding environment/room (doing this in near future - lagerator out of chest freezer)...

But what about when you need warmer? I want to ferment primarily out of my basement, but this basement will be 55F-ish in winter. What if I want to brew an ale and need 70F temps in this scenario?

Specifically:
1) Will the inside of an unplugged chest freezer be much warmer than its surrounding environment - say 10-15F? I mean, it is an insulated box, right? I guess I could monitor the temp and do trial and error to find out, but its not yet cold enough. My guess is that this won't work and it will be room temp inside the unplugged freezer eventually...

2) If not, I will need some way to generate heat into the chest freezer. I guess the best way to do this is with a small heater, or maybe even just a light bulb, hooked up to one of the digital temp controllers (that can control cooling or heating)? Any fire risk by doing this?

I guess if there is no acceptable means to doing this, I will just continue to ferment my ales upstairs in the house where we keep it 67-68F or so... and just do my lagers in the chest freezer.

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:26 PM   #2
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I use one of these:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/BREWE...EATER_P518.cfm

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by BioBeing View Post
Interesting... never really knew they made such a thing. Looks like a heating pad basically. Would a normal household heating pad work possibly?

Only thing I ever used prior was a brewbelt, but it's not very precise at temp control.
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Currently Consuming (HB): Apfelwein on Tap Troegs Hopback on Tap; Craft Bottles
Fermenting/Conditioning: Up Next: Hop Trio American Wheat, Lake Walk Pale Ale
In Planning Stage: Farmhouse Saison and Something Oaked.
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:50 PM   #4
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Speaking of the brewbelt - if I want to use this method for heat alongside a digital control - would it be possible to run the digital control probe right into the wort (once sanitized of course)? Anything I need to do to "waterproof" the probe?

I can't see how you would control a brewbelt otherwise b/c it primarily heats the fermenter and not so much the surrounding 25 cuft of chest freezer I'll be using as my chamber... I have a feeling if I put the brewbelt to controller, but put the probe just out in the open in the freezer that brewbelt would stay on and on and on and maybe even overheat the ferment...

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Currently Consuming (HB): Apfelwein on Tap Troegs Hopback on Tap; Craft Bottles
Fermenting/Conditioning: Up Next: Hop Trio American Wheat, Lake Walk Pale Ale
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Old 10-22-2009, 05:53 PM   #5
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I haven't delt with this issue before, but I know they make two stage controllers.

One stage controls the heat, one stage for the fridge.

Seems to me that a cheap heating pad plus freezer both hooked up to the controller would be the ultimate all-weather fermentation chamber!


Also, I remember reading some tests done by someone...think it was the brew strong crew. They did a comparison of the temp with the probe on the glass of the carboy, vs the center of the liquid. The difference was less than a degree!

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Old 10-22-2009, 05:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezerman View Post
I haven't delt with this issue before, but I know they make two stage controllers.

One stage controls the heat, one stage for the fridge.

Seems to me that a cheap heating pad plus freezer both hooked up to the controller would be the ultimate all-weather fermentation chamber!
That would be the ultimate... everything I've seen on HB sites though has been single-stage controllers (and those are $80-90+) so can't imagine how much dual stage will cost me.

But I am going to look into it.

EDIT: Hmm... morebeer has dual stage for $129. Not bad I guess.
http://morebeer.com/view_product/166...roller_-_Wired
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Roaring Bull Brewing Co.
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http://www.cafepress.com/roaringbull

Currently Consuming (HB): Apfelwein on Tap Troegs Hopback on Tap; Craft Bottles
Fermenting/Conditioning: Up Next: Hop Trio American Wheat, Lake Walk Pale Ale
In Planning Stage: Farmhouse Saison and Something Oaked.

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Old 10-22-2009, 06:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoaringBrewer View Post
That would be the ultimate... everything I've seen on HB sites though has been single-stage controllers (and those are $80-90+) so can't imagine how much dual stage will cost me.

But I am going to look into it.

EDIT: Hmm... morebeer has dual stage for $129. Not bad I guess.
http://morebeer.com/view_product/166...roller_-_Wired
The Love TSS2 is $69 but will require more craftiness and parts to either build a box for it or mount it in the fridge/freezer door.

EDIT: The probe is also separate and costs $6.
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:08 PM   #8
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You can get a two stage Ranco for 100 direct from their store. That is what I did. Then build out a chamber around a mini-fridge.

I'm sure you could use a house heater, but I liked the idea of getting one specifically designed to work in the small space. Plus, it sticks to the side of the fridge. If you use a brew belt, you would probably want to stick the probe directly to the outside of the vessel. I wouldn't put the probe in the liquid, unless you use a thermowell.

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Old 10-22-2009, 06:11 PM   #9
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You guys are awesome...

Now i just need to decide on my course of action.

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Currently Consuming (HB): Apfelwein on Tap Troegs Hopback on Tap; Craft Bottles
Fermenting/Conditioning: Up Next: Hop Trio American Wheat, Lake Walk Pale Ale
In Planning Stage: Farmhouse Saison and Something Oaked.
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Old 10-22-2009, 06:24 PM   #10
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Take a look at the fermentation chamber build in my sig. You may not want the side-by-side action, but the design is applicable to any fridge/freezer.

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