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Old 02-15-2010, 10:45 PM   #1
Rockchalk
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Default Cold brew house brewing.

OK… I’ve been studying up, been to my local HB shop, and have access to all the basic gear via my buddy who hasn’t touched his in 5 years... I think I'm ready to do my first extract brew. My problem is I would really like to keep the whole operation in my detached garage/shop/man cave. Problem is its not heated 24/7 and right now night temps are well below freezing. Is there anything I can do to keep the whole operation out in my shop and still get a good ferment? Will the heat belts I’ve read about work in low low temps. Would a submersible heater like used in fish tanks work in a carboy? I can take it inside if I have to but I just really prefer my shop to my basement!

Thanks for ideas and great forum!

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:51 PM   #2
TipsyDragon
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well it all depends on how big your budget is. if you have the cash i would reccomend getting a fermwrap, thermowell carboy cap, and a 2 stage Ronco ETC (electronic temperature controller). the ETC will allow you to turn the wrap on and off based on the wort's temp. if you get the two stage one you can also get a fridge or chest freezer and use the second stage to control that in the iffy spring and fall months.

assuming your budget cant float that using a fish tank heater will work. put the carboy in a big trash can and fill with water. then put the heater in the water and adjust as necessary.

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Old 02-15-2010, 10:53 PM   #3
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Get a rubbermaid type bin. Put your carboy inside and fill up the bin with water until the carboy starts to float, then take out a little water so it won't float. Put an aquarium heater in the water, making sure it is submerged enough. Leave it out there and keep checking it for a couple days to see if it can hold the temperature you need, adjust the aquarium thermostat as need. As a wort ferments, extra heat will be thrown off so if you can almost hold your desired temperature, you'll be fine. If you need to, you can wrap the bin with an old sleeping bag or comforter, you could even cut a hole in the lid for the carboy top to stick out of so you could wrap the top too.

I use just the bin and the aquarium heater on the lowest setting in my basement and maintain ~62F in an unheated basement dipping into the high 40sF some nights.

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Old 02-16-2010, 02:42 PM   #4
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Thanks guys. The aquarium heater pretty much came to me as I was posting this question yesterday. I actually have a 40gal aquarium set up in this same space with a big ole gold fish in it (actually he's black) from a past fishing excursion. He's a tough fish and been there several years... right now his tank (heated) is a cozy 60*. Not quite fermenting temps but that tells me I could do it. I like the Rubber Maid idea... I already have those. Final question... Why not just put a sanitized tank heater directly in the carboy? Is it a direct heat issue??? pressure??? sanitation??? Thanks again.

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Old 02-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #5
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There is no way to keep the heater in there AND have an airlock on it. Even if you had a submersible heater, its made of a random plastic and probably not food safe. Keeping it from growing anything on it would be a lot of work if you ask me.

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Old 02-16-2010, 09:28 PM   #6
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Just make sure if you use one of the glass tube type aquarium heaters that it is always submerged or it can heat up and break really fast.

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Old 02-16-2010, 10:09 PM   #7
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edit/delete: reposted elsewhere

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