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Old 10-05-2011, 03:36 PM   #1
pete20
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Default Heating Options for Fermentation Fridge

I was very excited to get a dedicated refrigerator just for fermenting beer, but now that it's getting cold outside I need to think about heating, not just cooling.

I have a Ranco two stage digital controller, so I can just plug in a heating device, but I'd rather not buy a couple of fermwraps or brewbelts and was wondering about other options.

Putting a small space heater in there seems like it would be overkill so I wanted to see if anyone has suggestions.

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Old 10-05-2011, 03:38 PM   #2
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I don't put the fermwrap around the carboy, but have it tywrapped across the inside back of the fridge. More than enough heat to keep the ambient temperature where you want it.

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Old 10-05-2011, 03:39 PM   #3
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I have used a cheap hairdryer.

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Old 10-05-2011, 03:56 PM   #4
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I got a small Holmes space heater from Target for $15 and I plan to use that.

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Old 10-05-2011, 03:58 PM   #5
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Another option is to use reptile heating cable. Sold on Amazon and in many pet stores. Cheap and efficient.

Although incandescent light bulbs work just as well.

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Old 10-05-2011, 04:40 PM   #6
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I also use a hair dryer...it circulates the air and has a built in gfi (which may actually be needed in case of excessive blow off) ....works pretty well.

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Old 10-06-2011, 12:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pete20 View Post
I have a Ranco two stage digital controller, so I can just plug in a heating device, but I'd rather not buy a couple of fermwraps or brewbelts and was wondering about other options.
I am not sure why you wouldn't want the fermwrap....

They are perfectly safe to attach to a carboy or better bottle, pretty cheap, and they easily maintain a wort temp upwards of 20F above ambient. I use mine in combination with a thermowell, and use a set point 1 degree above the wort temp I want to ferment at (with a 1 degree differential) - temp is perfectly regulated, regardless of the thermal nature of an active/inactive fermentation. I used to attach the fermwrap with electrical tape, but it got messy, so I switched to a bungee cord.

Hair dryer or bulb are certainly good options for regulating ambient temp to an acceptable range, but you have the rare ability to control wort temp....so go for it.

Edit - and if you do decide to go this route, the fermwrap may be a better choice than the brew belt, because the fermwrap spreads heat over a larger surface, while the belt is a lot of heat over a pretty narror surface.
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Old 10-06-2011, 04:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfowler1 View Post
Hair dryer or bulb are certainly good options for regulating ambient temp to an acceptable range, but you have the rare ability to control wort temp....so go for it.
Not sure how you wouldn't have control over the wort temp with a hair dryer.

If you fix the probe to a thermowell or even tape the temp probe (and insulate it) to the side of the carboy, that will give you pretty accurate control over the wort temp.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:17 PM   #9
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Very true. If the probe if measuring the wort, then the hair dryer would get it done. I had a bit of a brain fart there.

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Old 10-06-2011, 10:19 PM   #10
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The idea of a hair dryer interests me but I was worried about a potential fire hazard with it being in an enclosed space and unattended. I have seen a few fried hair dryers over the years.

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