So I have a fermentation temperature dilemma. I recently moved into a new house that really has no closet space for fermenting my beer and my wife definitely does not like having the carboys sitting in the living room with towels over them to keep the light out. The house does have a basement though which would be a great place to store the carboys except that the temperature down there is about 52-56F at this time of year. I will have to try a lager down there soon but for ales that is just too cold.
I thought about the aquarium heater in a bucket idea but with 10 gallon batches split into 2 carboys and 2 more carboys with aging sour beer in them it isn't the most effective method of temperature control. I also looked into just getting 4 fermwraps but at $30 a piece I don't think I could convince my non beer drinking wife to let me do that right now.
So I think the DIY fermwrap using 12" flexwatt heat tape from reptile basics is the way to go. However, their thermostats are spendy. I was wondering if anyone has used the cheap ebay aquarium thermostats (the gray and orange ones) as a thermostat for flexwatt tape or if it was even a compatible thermostat? I like the idea of being able to set it to a specific temperature rather than having to find the sweet spot on a dial thermostat. If they are compatible I was thinking of picking up a couple of them because two of the thermostats and 8ft of flexwatt comes out to about half the price of 4 fermwraps. I was thinking since with 10 gallon batches I will always have 2 carboys of the same thing with the same temperature requirements I could set the two carboys next to each other and snake 4ft of flexwatt around the two of them in an "S" shape so that they both are mostly wrapped by the flexwatt. Basically I would have 2 double length fermwraps with this method.
Please let me know what you guys think and if you have an easier or an even more cost effective method.