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Old 11-01-2009, 09:58 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Temp Control

So I did a search and couldn't come up with much of anything specific to what I am thinking of doing.

I brew and ferment in my garage, and that means that for the majority of the year the ambient temp is rarely above 70 degrees from now till about late May. So my problem the majority of the time is keeping by fermenting beer warm rather than keeping it cool. On top of this the majority of what I brew is ales.

Being a cheap bastard, and not wanting to take up too much valuable real estate for a fridge for fermenting I am thinking of this:

Submerse my fermeting beer in a large tub filled with water and using an aquarium pump and aquarium heater to maintain temp of the surrounding water. The pump would circulate the water enough to keep the temp even, and the heater would cycle on and off to hold the temp at the set point.

Does this sound reasonable? Anyone else out there try this?

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Old 11-01-2009, 10:11 PM   #2
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I do something similar, but not in my garage. My house is COLD in the winter. I don't use a pump, but I put my fermenter into a cooler, with a water bath. I add an aquarium heater and a floating thermometer. By doing that, I can keep my fermenter at a nice 66-68 degrees.

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Old 11-01-2009, 10:44 PM   #3
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Are you in Snohomish, Washinton? If so and your garage is attached to the house, your'e golden. I have done that in that climate and it works.

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Old 11-02-2009, 05:19 AM   #4
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Just get a fermwrap heater, or something similar. They're much easier to use and you don't have to worry about standing water/bugs/evaporation/etc
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:32 AM   #5
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You shouldn't need the pump, just a waste of energy. The heat will create a nice slow convection current in the water. The only thing you really have to worry about is not to fill the water higher than the beer inside the fermenter as that will make the fermenter float which can be bad.
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:49 AM   #6
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The tub & submersible aquarium heater method works very well. It helps to use a piece of fioam insulation under the tub. The floor, especially concrete, will act like a huge heat sink. Rigid foam insulation, a piece of carpet or even some plywood or 2 x 4's will help reduce the energy consumption. A cooler instead of a tube would be even better. I've never had any issues with standing water, bugs or evaporation when doing it this way. I have since moved to using a refrigerator for a chamber. I heat/cool or neither depending on the time of year.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:38 AM   #7
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I use an aquarium heater and it works great. I also have a $5 pump from Harbor Freight that keeps things circulating. I have noticed a difference between using and not using the pump. Use a splash of bleach to keep things April fresh.

I'd be careful about your temps, though. Your fermenting wort will bring up the temp 5-10F, so you could be looking at 75-80F wort temp, which is way too hot. I think you may need to consider fermentation chilling, not warming. My heating system works great, but my ambient temp is below 60F for most of the year. Also, the heat generation of fermentation is very nonlinear, i.e. cooler fermentation adds less heat, warmer fermentation adds more heat. For chilling, I use the "son of fermentation chiller" and it works really well (with my extra mod of a remote thermistor).

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