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Old 09-16-2011, 02:26 AM   #1
bgarino
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Default Chest Freezer Fermentation Chamber

I live in Florida and it gets cold about 2 months out of a year. I want to put a Ferm chamber in the garage. How do you keep a chest freezer warm when the temp drops? I mostly brew Ales. Thanks.....

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:06 AM   #2
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I have seen light bulbs loosely shrouded in aluminum foil. You are going to want a good ceramic socket that can take the heat in that case. You just need to find the break point to use the lowest wattage bulb while still holding your temp up so the fridge barely cycles. It won't hurt to use a higher wattage than needed, you will just be paying to heat and cool at the same time.

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:13 AM   #3
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I see a lot of people using the 20 dollar space heaters.

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Old 09-16-2011, 01:43 PM   #4
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40 watt bulb works for me in a 15 cf chest freezer.. no foil or anything..

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Old 09-16-2011, 01:51 PM   #5
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I use one of those hanging, caged utility lights. I use a high wattage bulb but that's because my chest freezer in the garage in New England

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Old 09-16-2011, 01:51 PM   #6
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You can make it as simple or complicated as you want. For instance, EdWort takes the simple route. He lets a light bulb dangle in the chamber - always on - and let's the freezer cycle to keep it cool when necessary. I, on the other hand, went a little more complicated. I use a two-stage temp controller with a space heater. Temp gets high, the freezer kicks on. Temp gets low, the heater kicks on. The heater doesn't kick on much during most of the year..

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Old 09-16-2011, 02:24 PM   #7
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I also use a two stage temp controller...but I use a thermowell for the probe so i'm measuring the wort itself instead of the air and i use a brew belt on the carboy to heat it.

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:21 PM   #8
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Another option is a fish tank heater in a water bath. This means you have to use a water bath... If you don't already do this the light bulb is a good choice.
If you have the thermostat on the freezer already set up for fermenting, then simply adding a light bulb or two will be the simplest thing to do. I'd recommend (as someone said) covering the bulb in Al foil. This way it won't give off infrared which would heat things closer to it, but would more just heat the air. A little fan may be a good idea too. Something small and cheap, just to keep the air moving a little. If you go this rout, you likely would only need a 40watt bulb, but bigger would work too (you'd just use more electricity, for the bulb, and the freezer running).

A space heater is really much more powerful than you need, and could be a fire hazard. It could work out, but you'd be at the whim of a really cheap thermostat.

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:26 PM   #9
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I live in Florida also. Never had to use anything to keep warm. Been fermenting in a chest freezer for about 3 years.

As others have said, if you feel the need, just throw in a small lamp or light source and let your temp controller keep it cool. I would think your beer would need to be protected from the light though if it was on for say all night.

Does artificial light skunk beer as well?

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Old 09-16-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yambor44 View Post
Does artificial light skunk beer as well?
Florescent lights do, but incandescent lights give off very very little UV light. And if rapped in Al foil, they give of none, just heat. Also if an incandescent is put on a dimmer switch, the spectrum will be even more red heavy at lower out put levels.
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