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Old 11-07-2008, 12:16 PM   #1
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Default Maintaining temperature for fermentation

I am going to be forced to use my garage for my brewing activities. In the winter, the temperature can get quite chilly.Does anyone have a way to maintain temperature to keep fermentation happy?

I have been considering using a small enclosure with some head room (about 2' over the top of the carboy), a light bulb (or two) for a heat source and a thermostat about level with the mid point of the carboy.

Before I start building this, I wanted to see if this wheel had already been invented.

Thanks - BH

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Old 11-07-2008, 12:44 PM   #2
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Most likely it has been done. I'd look in the "DIY" section. At any rate, you'll probably want to shift to Lagers when the temps get cold like that, just my $0.02.

Here is an example

Just slap a (safe) heat source in there and you should be good to go. You'd be surprised in how little it takes to heat a small space just into the fermentation range. I'd consider something that doesn't produce light if you want to ferment or age in a clear carboy to prevent any possibility of skunking.

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Old 11-07-2008, 12:47 PM   #3
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I don't like the idea of the light. I ferment in my basement, which can get into the 50's in the winter sometimes, and when I need to warm an ale up, I use a heating pad. You can get them at your local CVS or WalMart or whatever for about $15. Tie the pad around the side of the carboy with string, and turn it on. I don't really know how you could go about rigging it to a thermostat, though. I just monitor mine as closely as I can. Works pretty well.

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
I don't like the idea of the light.
I've been tossing this idea around for brewing Belgians in the winter in my house which is kept at 62dF. What don't you like about the light?
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by menschmaschine View Post
. What don't you like about the light?
Probably for the reason I mentioned .
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Old 11-07-2008, 01:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evan! View Post
I don't really know how you could go about rigging it to a thermostat, though. I just monitor mine as closely as I can. Works pretty well.
I was thinking that it probably isn't too hard to regulate it, especially if you don't get huge swings in temp.

The garage might be a little harder if it is above ground and even more so if it is stand alone. What I would do is make a small adjustable vent in the side of the box to allow more or less outside air to migrate more freely.
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
you'll probably want to shift to Lagers when the temps get cold
But there is a lot more to lagering then that. Like cooling for 8 weeks at 35 and so forth. I WISH it was that easy bit I don't have room for 8 to 10 lagering carboys! LOL
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Old 11-07-2008, 03:18 PM   #8
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What if you have a "Son of fermentation chiller" built. Could you use a heat lamp or light bulb instead of ice? You'd have to have a thermostat that would work for cold and heat. Having the light in the ice chamber would keep it off the fermenting brew.

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Old 11-07-2008, 03:31 PM   #9
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This is what I did last winter before I discovered that my fridge would stay at a perfect 50F if I turned it on the least cool setting.

Go ahead and brew lagers, just use WLP810 San Francisco Lager yeast since it tolerates warmer temperatures quite well. That way if you get too warm from neglecting the beer all will not be lost. Then I just kept the beer out on the back porch in the shade where it stayed in the mid 40s, and about midnight before bed I would set it indoors to keep it from getting too cold. It would only get a chance to warm up to maybe mid 50s by morning which is well within the appropriate temps for WLP810, and then I would set it out on the back porch in the shade again.

Oh and I never did what you might call a true lagering - after I was sure the ferment was done, I brought it indoors racked it over to a seconday and left it there for a couple of days - then back to the back porch in the shade till I was ready to bottle. Once it got in the bottles and carbed, I put it in the fridge as cold as it would go and just waited as long as I could and let that do for my lagering. Beer turned out fine.

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Old 11-07-2008, 03:52 PM   #10
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Too bad my back porch IN THE SUN can get to 0F in the day LOL

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