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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Even more help with ferm chamber
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:04 PM   #1
rhltechie
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Default Even more help with ferm chamber

Hi All,

So I have made my chamber....I have my little square magic chef, no idea the cubic feet. gotta be like 1.?? at any rate, this lil fridge must be a cooling beast..or my house is so cold that well,i just dont know. The last batch i brewed was supposed to be between 65-68, so that worked ok i suppose....after I realized it was supposed to be there. I have a batch of "off" beer now because of the huge temp swings. Well the batch I brewed this past weekend has a ferm temp of 67-74. Well, with the fridge at near 0 (which on mine is almost OFF), the carboy sitting inside, the doors wiiiiide open, my thermo says its 66. This would be a wired thermo with a probe that i tape to the side of the carboy. Well, this concerns me as i have another vessel in the chamber that has a long probed thermo in water, this one reads 64. If I am thinking correctly, this means the liquid temp is 64 really? or my thermos are just off from each other. I digress....i am worried that i am not going to be able to keep my wort warm enough! which is the opposite problem i had before...grrr. During the day, the ambient temp in my house is roughly 74 and at night its roughly 68. Can someone give me some pointers?? I have a ranco on the way to control the fridge, but at this rate, it may never turn the fridge on!

TIA,

M

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Old 09-07-2009, 10:24 PM   #2
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Everyone must be grilling and drinking their HB!

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:01 PM   #3
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we had a guy in our homebrew club do an experiment with some thermowells, stick-on thermometers, thermometers next to the fermenter, and thermometers in a jug of water next to the fermenter. even though they were all calibrated and extremely close to each other, there was a distinct difference between them all. his recommendation was to use a thermowell for best possible accuracy.

I doubt that when you get the ranco wired up the fridge will turn on much at all...especially once the fermenter reaches your desired setpoint. In the winter time, the guys I know use a heating source because the fridge is just too darn cold...you may need to do the same? one of those belt warmers or a light bulb.

not sure if the ranco can be used in that manner (controlling hot & cold), but until you get a controller on there, be very careful to monitor temperature. I just modified a cabinet to use as my chiller, and I ended up cooling the fermenter so low that the yeast got stressed and starting throwing sulphur. luckily, I listened to the voices of experience in the club and DIDN'T toss it out when I noticed the sulphur. patience is not my best quality, but I waited anyway...I just racked to secondary yesterday and didn't notice any sulphur taste at all.

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:07 PM   #4
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If the problem is that the chamber is too cold, hook the controller up to a heating pad or some other heat producing device.

For the record I'm eating Chinese...

B.

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtucker101 View Post
we had a guy in our homebrew club do an experiment with some thermowells, stick-on thermometers, thermometers next to the fermenter, and thermometers in a jug of water next to the fermenter. even though they were all calibrated and extremely close to each other, there was a distinct difference between them all. his recommendation was to use a thermowell for best possible accuracy.

I doubt that when you get the ranco wired up the fridge will turn on much at all...especially once the fermenter reaches your desired setpoint. In the winter time, the guys I know use a heating source because the fridge is just too darn cold...you may need to do the same? one of those belt warmers or a light bulb.

not sure if the ranco can be used in that manner (controlling hot & cold), but until you get a controller on there, be very careful to monitor temperature. I just modified a cabinet to use as my chiller, and I ended up cooling the fermenter so low that the yeast got stressed and starting throwing sulphur. luckily, I listened to the voices of experience in the club and DIDN'T toss it out when I noticed the sulphur. patience is not my best quality, but I waited anyway...I just racked to secondary yesterday and didn't notice any sulphur taste at all.

Thanks for your reply. Forgive my ignorance but when you say his recommendation was to use a "thermowell" what exactly do you mean?

I live in the south, but I am sure in the winter I may need some source of heat. The ranco is only a single stage unfortunately. My house actually got so cold for my first batch it did the same thing you are describing with the yeast. I did have the effect of some off flavors...so i am glad i started the chamber.

TIA,

M
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:27 PM   #6
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I've read on here somewhere that you can switch one of the leads inside the Ranco and it will go from cooling to heating. I'll rot round here and see if I can find it again, but the interwebs are running really slow for me on the boat today.

There is also this option...
Ranco ETC-211000-000: 2 Stage Prewired Temperature Controller

That would allow you to control both heating and cooling with the same unit.

B.

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Old 09-07-2009, 11:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gambleb View Post
If the problem is that the chamber is too cold, hook the controller up to a heating pad or some other heat producing device.

For the record I'm eating Chinese...

B.
I havent yet gotten the controller in the mail....but I believe you may be correct. It's so hot outside....i keep the temp pretty low in the house but I never imagined I would have to warm my beer!
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Old 09-07-2009, 11:33 PM   #8
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Never mind... That post was talking about the analog Johnson controls one. Sorry.

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Old 09-08-2009, 12:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gambleb View Post
Never mind... That post was talking about the analog Johnson controls one. Sorry.
Thanks for looking!
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Old 09-08-2009, 12:03 AM   #10
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Thanks for your reply. Forgive my ignorance but when you say his recommendation was to use a "thermowell" what exactly do you mean?
a thermowell is typically a metal tube that has a removable temperature probe inside. it gets inserted down into the fermenting vessel so the metal tube is in direct contact with your fermenting wort. the tube is typically filled with liquid (star san or sanitizing fluid) to help act as a thermal conductor.

quite a few people use corny keg dip tubes, with one end welded closed...and a digital thermometer probe inserted. do a search on morebeer.com or midwest supplies and you'll probably get a better idea than my mediocre description.

oh, and we're not grilling out...eating chick-fil-a we got for free ("wear your team logo for a free sammich" day)
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