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Old 04-13-2014, 01:31 AM   #11
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Will the mold collect over a 2 week period? I am going to wash off the tarp every time after a fermentation. Just siphoned out the water and dumped everything today and it was fairly uncomplicated at all.


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Old 04-13-2014, 01:39 AM   #12
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Of you clean it out every two weeks, I kinda doubt you will have issues.

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Old 04-13-2014, 01:52 AM   #13
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might consider a frame brace outside the freezer. How much weight will a freezer wall stand up to?

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Old 04-13-2014, 02:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by samuryan View Post
might consider a frame brace outside the freezer. How much weight will a freezer wall stand up to?
I actually drained the freezer and I think I had less water in the freezer than what was in the carboy (5 gallons of water or so in a 6.5 carboy). That's how tight fitting this thing seems to be. I only have a inch of space between the carboy and the freezer wall (15 x 15 inches square basically).

I am actually re-thinking how much water I put in there and might go up to the neck of the carboy instead of just above the wort waterline. I'm most likely going to lose some water to evap anyways no matter how much I weigh down the lid.

From a temp control standpoint though, this thing rocks. And the Eheim 300W aquarium heater raised my water from 50 to 70 degrees in just about 2 and a half hours. It's rated for something like 250 gallons. For $30 I just couldn't pass it up to try this out.
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:35 PM   #15
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Why not just buy a heating wrap from your local brew store? They're about $25.

Then you can forget about this whole water craziness...

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Old 04-14-2014, 02:33 AM   #16
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Why not just buy a heating wrap from your local brew store? They're about $25.

Then you can forget about this whole water craziness...
Because the ferm wrap is limited in the # of degrees that you can boost your carboy temp in the winter. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/ferm-wrap-out-door-fermenting-220207/)

Might have to put two aquarium heaters in there, but I think this will work.
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Old 04-14-2014, 10:34 AM   #17
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Because the ferm wrap is limited in the # of degrees that you can boost your carboy temp in the winter. (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/ferm-wrap-out-door-fermenting-220207/)

Might have to put two aquarium heaters in there, but I think this will work.
Ahh. I see. I didn't know you were fermenting outdoors. My garage only gets to about 25°F in the winter. I use a wrap with no problem. I could see it not working when it's colder.

I hope the aquarium heater works for you.
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:25 AM   #18
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Observations and update:

1 - Temperature control has been dead on solid. I'm using a Eheim 300W aquarium heater. The aquarium guys rave about Eheim's quality, and I am thoroughly impressed. Has kept temps within range with no problem. Currently there's a rainstorm in Denver and our outside temperature tonight is 49 degrees but my fermentation chamber is sitting pretty at 64 with Notty working away.

2 - Back to the Eheim 300W heater, there was one night where temps dipped to about 35 degrees. I came out to my garage in the AM to go to work at 6:30AM and the freezer was on. Again, promising. The Eheim heater is great.

3 - I'm using approx 20-30 mil EPDM 7 foot x 10 foot ponder liner I bought from Lowes for $39 (link). It's done a great job and even though the 300W heater may be touching the liner at times, the stuff is so thick and made out of such great material that it doesn't melt etc.. EPDM is industrial sturdy and the best quality you can get in pond liner.

4 - I have a Eheim 80 gallon per hour pump in there that I bought for $14 bucks online. Drinking the Eheim Kool-aid again, but temps remain awesomely steady so I assume water is circulating well.

5 - I have a probe in the bath water and a thermowell in the carboy. Both are within .5 degrees Fahrenheit of each other. My STC-100 is maintaining well.

6 - I have had little to zero evaporation in the water bath inside the freezer. I bought some polypropylene balls design for water baths to hold thermal heat and reduce evaporation (they float on top of the water bath), but I am considering returning them.

7 - Zero sign of mold. Considered mixing small parts of vinegar to the water bath but no foul stenches as of yet, no signs of mold whatsoever.

Pretty ecstatic overall with my fermenter with dead on temp control in the unheated garage and feel like I've done this on a good budget.

Total Bill:
$50 Craigslist Freezer
$20 STC-100
$14 Aquarium Pump from Eheim
$32 Eheim 300W Aquarium Heater (Overkill on the Wattage - it's only a 2-3 gallon bath but I want heat fast)
$15 Thermowell from Stainless Steel Brewing
$39 EPDM Pond Liner from Lowes
$0 A bunch of water out of your garden hose

$170 - Total
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:08 PM   #19
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How is the brew belt less effective? Because it is less powerful? What about reptile heat wrap? You can buy it by the foot online and wrap the carboy, put it under the carboy, etc.

This winter, I used a plant heating mat under the carboy. In the basement, the carboy would probably settle to about 55 or less on its own. I set the mat to cycle on and off every half hour, and put the carboy half on/half off the mat. Kept it right about 64-66 that way. As it warms up, I will need to cycle it on less.

I have a chamber halfway built so that I can keep the temp down in the summer. But I expect the heating mat to work even better in the chamber.

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