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Old 11-03-2013, 06:15 PM   #1
flamingtop66
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Default Fermentation Temperature Control

Inquiry regarding temp control during fermentation: recommended equipment for keeping germ temp at top of range for ale yeasts. I am amazed at ingredients and equipment availability these days. Although I am technically a NooB, I began brewing in college 27 years ago. We worked with bare minimum ingredients, next to no choices in yeast, and room temp fermentation. I started up again about 15 years ago and I admit ingredients were easier to come by but not by much. Now it seems I can brew just about anything, which is very cool. I want to control my germ temp in order to get consistent results without any off flavors.
I am using primary and secondary fermentation. I am using a wort chiller to get temp break. But, I am fermenting at 68 (room temp) which I am sure is not always consistent. I bottled my first batch with new equipment (double IPA) this past week and can't wait to taste one. Had to go buy a case to make it through. Talk to me about how you are controlling fermentation temps in ales, if anybody has suggestions

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Old 11-03-2013, 06:37 PM   #2
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/another-fermentation-chamber-build-419917/

and

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/fermintation-chamber-ii-436962/

then search for "keezer" "swamp cooler" "ferm chamber " "fermentation chamber"

For about 6 months worth of threads to read.
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
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Currently I am using my chest freezer that I bought for a keezer build but I felt it was more important to control ferm temps than to keg. I use the A419 Johnson controller and have my probe taped to the bucket with bubble wrap taped on the exposed side to get a better temp of my wort than ambient temperature. I have it set to turn on the freezer when the temp hits 69 degrees and shut off at 68, however once the wort hits 68 the ambient temp of the freezer still drop the beer to 67 so I just increased my temp to 70 (I'd rather have 68 and 69 than 67 and 68 for my current yeast). I have to have a heater on in the room to increase the temp inside the freezer for when the temp drops too long. I want to switch the freezer out for a fridge for easier in/out. A glycol system with a controller would probably keep tighter controls.

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Old 11-03-2013, 11:23 PM   #4
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Welcome back to the obsession. Kudos to you for asking about the important stuff - temp control.

If you have the space, nothing beats getting a freezer or fridge (your choice) and plugging it into a controller box made with the very inexpensive, yet effective, STC-1000.

The STC-1000 is a dual temperature controller. You wire it into a standard 2-plug outlet that you mount in some kind of project box (either homemade or bought at Radio Shack). One (cool) outlet is for the freezer/fridge. If your fermenter chamber is placed where it’s cold (like a garage in winter), you plug some kind of small heater into the warm outlet and then put that heater inside the freezer. Otherwise, just use the cold outlet.

Set the target temp (in Celsius) on the STC-1000. Set the tolerance (default is +/-0.5*C). When the temp (as read by the sensor) climbs 0.5*C above the target, it powers up the cool outlet and keeps it energized until the temp drops to the target and then turns it off. Likewise with the warm outlet if it gets 0.5*C too cool. You tape the sensor on the side of the fermenter and place some kind of insulation like bubble wrap over top of it so that it reads the bucket temp and not the air.


http://www.amazon.com/All-purpose-Temperature-Controller-STC-1000-sensor/dp/B00862G3TQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1382149071&sr=8-1&keywords=stc-1000


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/stc-1000-setup-beginners-433985/#post5538096

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-fish-tank-controller-build-using-wal-mart-parts-261506/


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-aquarium-temp-controller-build-163849/


http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html

BTW- The practice of using a secondary for every batch has become somewhat "old school". Many brewers simply leave it in the primary 3 weeks or so and then keg/bottle. I personally like to do a post-ferment cold-crash of beer in the primary at 35-36*F for 5-7 days (which you can easily do with a fridge/freezer and STC-1000) for a very nice clear result and less yeast trub in bottled beers.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:28 AM   #5
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My favorite "cheap" method is to fill one of those rope handled round tubs with water up to the level of beer in my fermenter. The water holds the temps more consistently than room temperature air. Frozen water bottles can be switched out to keep the temps lower than room temp. A thermometer set in the water reads almost exactly the beer temp in the fermentor.

I just set up my first temp controlled fermenting chamber, which is much simpler and more accurate to use, but the swamp cooler method helped me make some really good ales before I was able to get this set up.

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Old 11-04-2013, 12:46 AM   #6
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Here's my latest adventure in fermentation temp control.

www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/fermentation-temp-control-cheap-432191/

I went through some experimentation in the course of that thread. Page 4 has the one that really worked. I've only used it the once so far, but it worked great. Looking forward to brewing some Dead Ringer next weekend.

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Old 11-04-2013, 01:22 AM   #7
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I'm a swamp cooler guy.
I keep the bucket filled to the level of the beer in my fermenter. The increased thermal mass helps moderate temps. Frozen soda bottles in the summer, aquarium heater in the winter, both IF needed. I have a floating thermometer in the bucket and two therm. strips on the fermenter.
Works for me.....

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Old 04-28-2014, 04:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigFloyd View Post
How high could I expect to get with this method?
Could I get the temp up to 90*-100* for sours and saisions?
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:36 PM   #9
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Quote:
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How high could I expect to get with this method?
Could I get the temp up to 90*-100* for sours and saisions?
Easily. You can vary the intensity of the heat by charging the wattage of the bulb, although I'd go no higher than 75W. Hope you stocked up on some before those morons in D.C. banned them.
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Old 04-29-2014, 01:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flamingtop66 View Post
Inquiry regarding temp control during fermentation: recommended equipment for keeping germ temp at top of range for ale yeasts. I am amazed at ingredients and equipment availability these days. Although I am technically a NooB, I began brewing in college 27 years ago. We worked with bare minimum ingredients, next to no choices in yeast, and room temp fermentation. I started up again about 15 years ago and I admit ingredients were easier to come by but not by much. Now it seems I can brew just about anything, which is very cool. I want to control my germ temp in order to get consistent results without any off flavors.
I am using primary and secondary fermentation. I am using a wort chiller to get temp break. But, I am fermenting at 68 (room temp) which I am sure is not always consistent. I bottled my first batch with new equipment (double IPA) this past week and can't wait to taste one. Had to go buy a case to make it through. Talk to me about how you are controlling fermentation temps in ales, if anybody has suggestions

For raising temp I use FlexWatt that I buy from www.beanfarm.com It is easy to DIY and you can make it custom to any size vessel. I have had no trouble getting Saison ferments to 86F with these and there is no water involved.


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