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Old 02-07-2013, 12:46 AM   #1
hughclapp
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Default Temp Controlled Fermentation Chamber

So ... my first post will be winning the HomeBrewTalk 2013 Giveaway.

Here's my second:

I recently switched to All-Grain Brewing, and there's no going back. Love not using the syrup. And with having a couple beers during the brew day, extending it from a couple hours to 5+ doesn't break my heart at all...

For Christmas I got a Ranco Temp Controller, and my next purchase will be a chest freezer to use as a Fermentation Chamber. I'm thinking a Haier $175 7.1 cu ft from Costco. Holds 2 Carboys, should be good.

Questions:
1. If I put it in a cold room - like my basement, how do I keep it WARM if it's below the Ale Fermentation Temps I'm shooting for? The area I was thinking of putting it in is in the mid 60's.
2. Or do people primarily just use these for lagering? I would think even Ale's would benefit from exact consistent temperatures.
3. Also, How much difference will this temp control really make? I already think my beer is better than store-bought (bias!), will I really see noticeable differences?

I love this site, and the answers the experts here provide!

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:12 AM   #2
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I just answered this on another thread... I use. 40 watt incandescent bulb in a little lamp. I'm in an upright fridge in an unheated garage and have no issue maintaining 68F for my ales.

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:16 AM   #3
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Warm is much, much easier than cold from an engineering standpoint. Many use lightbulbs, many use heating pads. If you want to be fancy, you can get a fermwrap (or you can build some out of reptile tape).

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:23 AM   #4
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I'm getting ready to brew an amber ale this weekend, ideal fermentation temprature should be about 71 degrees. My closet stays about a constant 66 degrees. Going to place the fermenter in a plastic bin with lid on it then into the closet. The fermentation process will generate its own heat and hopefully raise it to the desired temprature. We'll see in a couple of days whether this plays out or not.

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Old 02-07-2013, 02:51 AM   #5
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A very small space heater works great in my 5.1cu. Freezer.

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Old 02-07-2013, 02:52 AM   #6
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Just fermented a Saison at 95* for a week with no issues.

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Old 02-07-2013, 04:43 AM   #7
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I use a seedling mat with excellent results. It gives excellent control, you just place your carboys on it and attach the insulated probe to the side of a carboy.
I don't have experience with a light bulb or anything that relies on heating the air, a mat is simple and it doesn't require any dialing in.

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Old 02-07-2013, 07:51 AM   #8
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You can purchase a two operation temp control and the heating pads they offer or a heater band. One operation on the control will send powet to turn the fridge on if it gets two hot and the second operation will send power to your heater if it gets too cold. They work off of the same thermocouple which is nice.

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Old 02-07-2013, 08:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hughclapp
3. Also, How much difference will this temp control really make? I already think my beer is better than store-bought (bias!), will I really see noticeable differences?
In Chris whites book 'Yeast' he says that fermentation temperature control is the single best thing a brewer can do for his beer. He also says that a skilled extract brewer with temp control can produce better beer than an AG brewer without
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:06 AM   #10
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I just set mine up a little while ago. After reading a thread about a heating pad bursting into flames, I decided to steer away from pads and personal heaters. I know a lot of people use them with no problem, but I don't want to have to worry about it. Anyway, I was going to use a reptile heating rock. I figured it would be well sealed and deal with any moisture. However, I ended up finding an aquarium heater n my basement. It's currently rigged up in a growler full of water. Works great.

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