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Old 10-18-2012, 05:36 AM   #1
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Default Ambient temps versus actual fermenting temps

I have read and I am sure you all have read that the actual temperature of the fermenting wort can get several degrees higher than the ambient temps. I figured 4-5 degrees....I have my ferment room temperature set at 60 degrees, and it is temp controlled doesn't vary by more than a couple of degrees. I tried attaching the probe directly to the carboy but the heater side would not work properly that way due to a safety shut off on the heater kicking in before it could raise the temperature of 5 gallons of beer a couple of degrees...SOO I have to just control the ambient temps.

I was having some issues so I posted on here asking for a solution and a very helpful poster sent me a PM telling me he uses wireless indoor outdoor thermometers on his fermentors. he controls the temperature of the room, but MONITORS his fermenting vessels individually and adjusts the ambient to get them right. Anyway I went to Menards today and bought a wireless thermometer. I attached it to my carboy that the kraussen had already started falling on and in my 60 degree room it was over 71 degrees. An 11 degree difference!!! Keep in mind this was AFTER the most vigorous fermentation was over. My beers have been good but there are some slight off flavors and I think maybe this is the issue.

I brewed again tonight and attached the sensor to the new carboy. I am setting in my house.. the carboy is in my shed and I can tell you the actual temp of the beer is 64.8 degrees. This thing has alarms to tell you if the temp gets too low or too high. and you can buy up to 3 more sensors that it will monitor individually. Best of all it was under 20 bucks!

So for the new brewers out there, when you are told to keep ferment temperatures down, try to monitor the actual temperature of the fermenting beer and NOT The ambient temperature. Like I said in my case there was an 11 degree difference... I know it is harder but you will make better beer for doing so.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 10-18-2012, 06:16 AM   #2
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Wireless...that's cool. Next you'll get an Arduino and have it adjust your thermostat based on the wireless temp :-)
I use a temp probe in a thermowell suspended in my carboy to monitor the ferm temp (it's connected to an STC-1000 that drives a FermWrap). It is really nice to get good ferm temp control....eliminates a huge variable.

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Old 10-18-2012, 10:16 AM   #3
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So where can I buy this bad boy? What brand, model number? Is it online somewhere?

This I getting me excited. I need a good thermometer.

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Old 10-18-2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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I bought it at menards.. it is a SPRINGFIELD PRECISETEMP....... However it may not be as great as I thought.. absolutely zero activity this morning in the airlock..no kraussen nothing. I pitched a starter at about 1AM and usually by this time the airlock is rapid firing. the ambient is seat at 55 degrees and the ensor is reading 64 degrees... I do not believe there is any way that is correct with no activity....oh well time will tell.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:31 PM   #5
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Once again I prove that patience is not one of my virtues. I went out just now and there is a nice kraussen but the airlock was silent. removed the airlock and reinstalled it and "blurp blurp blurp" right away...musta been plugged somehow. The reading on the remote sensor now says 65.3 degrees so it is slowly raising like it is supposed to....oh yeah I did raise the ambient 2 degrees.

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Old 10-19-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
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This is pretty cool...just walked in the kitchen and checked the temp of my beer that is out in the brew shed....66.7 degrees so it is probably at high kraussen right now. that is 11.7 degrees above ambient temp......I may even take it a touch further. there is a probe that you can purchase for the remote sensor that I THINK is waterproof.. I may drop a probe right into the wort.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:57 PM   #7
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I've been wanting to put a thermowell with a probe in my carboy and one submerged in a swamp cooler and track ambient T vs. fermentation T over time, i think it'd be a pretty cool experiment, especially if you can get a graph for a few of different yeast strains.

I'd use a swamp cooler so i could get a more accurate idea of the energy released by the yeast, I'd imagine you can relate that to o2 needed and all kinds of other factors.

There's a post of mine in the DIY forum where someone responded with a way to build a cheap wireless temp monitor that you can check over the internet. (I'd post the link but I'm on my phone right now)

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Old 10-19-2012, 03:18 PM   #8
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I am setting at 67.6 degrees right now and the ambient is set at 55... I would have never believed there was that much difference. Keep in mind the sensor is taped to the side of the carboy covered with a folded up towel so I would guess the actual BEER temp is a degree higher. I would bet that the beer is MUCH cleaner tasting than what I have been making . I was setting the ambiemt at 60 thinking 4-5 degrees difference. This is a german ale/kolsch yeast. brewing one of Biermunchers recipes and he recommends 68 degree ferment temp so I am real close. I wish I had a way to adjust my ambient from in here. THAT would be really cool. I will have to check into the computer stuff.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 10-19-2012, 03:38 PM   #9
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Steve,
Sounds like you are headed to Automation at full speed. You would be able to monitor and control your ambient if you used an Arduino, Picaxe, PICMicro or any other chip from many different manufacturers. In theory you could set your temp or back an adjustment even over a smart phone too. The new Rasberry Pi appears to lend itself well ,as well as the previously mentioned stand by's. Welcome to the "Automation Adiction" , I am eaten up with it and it's pretty fun so far. I can sit in my wheelchair and see what my brew is doing over 100 feet away. Sure saves 4 wheelin in my WC to get to my shop... Don't be afraid to try different ideas, you might hit on the next hot gadget and make a million bucks, ya never know....
Bob

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Old 10-19-2012, 04:00 PM   #10
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I wish I had the tech savvy to build something like what you are talking about. A gadget that will monitor the temp and send an alert to my cell and allow me to adjust the temp from anywhere I have cell coverage. My technical abilities end at plugging something into an outlet lol.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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