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View Poll Results: What you do use to control your fermentation temperature?
Nothing, I rely on the ambient air or my house's AC 41 18.81%
Swamp cooler or other water bath type setup 57 26.15%
Converted fridge or freezer 88 40.37%
Separate climate controlled room or fermentation chamber 22 10.09%
Other 10 4.59%
Voters: 218. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-20-2010, 05:16 PM   #11
Nov 2009
Alternate Universe
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I can currently brew enough ales during the cooler months to get away with 'ambient'.

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Old 08-20-2010, 07:42 PM   #12
iijakii's Avatar
Jun 2010
Portland-ish, OR
Posts: 6,047
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I live in Texas, so I have no basement and my ambient is pretty hot when I am at work and want to keep the AC off.

I have a square beverage cooler I fill with water and frozen water bottles. I can keep it at a respectable low-mid 60s with just that.

I actually bought a Ranco controller 4 months or so ago, but I have been to cheap to buy a chest freezer.

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Old 08-20-2010, 09:11 PM   #13
Aug 2010
Maryland, Maryland
Posts: 120

I converted a 5-day cooler into a fermentation chiller.

battery-powered thermostat + PC fan + frozen water bottles. I can get down to the 50s empty, but haven't tested temps with actual fermentation in progress.

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Old 08-20-2010, 11:11 PM   #14
Oct 2009
Posts: 477
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water bath w/aquarium heater. I have a cold room in the basement that can even manage lager fermentation temps in the winter. (for the actual lagering, I use a deep freeze on temp control).

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Old 08-21-2010, 01:18 AM   #15
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May 2009
SW Michigan
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I couldn't decide between ambient house temp or separate climate controlled room. Technically, the temp is only controlled by the ambient temp, but it's actually a separate insulated room in the basement used almost exclusively for brewing so it's climate controlled separate from the rest of the house.

I lucked out when we were shopping for houses last year and found one with a separate closed off room in the basement that was almost fully insulated. All I had to do was run a short piece of heating duct and a vent so that I could control the temps in that room to a finer degree.


plus this:

Equals about 64 degrees year round, whether it's 95 or -20 degrees outside. I can get the room as cool as 55 and as warm as 70, but I usually just leave it right in the sweet spot most of the time.

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Old 08-22-2010, 11:27 PM   #16
neovox's Avatar
Feb 2010
Posts: 853
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Quite a few more folks than I would have guessed are using ambient house temperature. That's what I'm using at present, and mid-Fall through mid-Spring it works out just fine for me. As much as I'm diggin' on the summer weather right now, this month has really tried my patients trying to keep my fermentation temps down where they should be.

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Old 08-30-2010, 04:08 AM   #17
dogtailale's Avatar
Jul 2010
puget sound
Posts: 203

I use a old refer, ranco 2 stage temp control and a brewers heat pad.

This is my first time using it I am overly pleased All i can say is thats 150 bucks I should have spent a long time ago.

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Old 08-30-2010, 04:20 AM   #18
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Aug 2010
Lemon Grove, CA, CA
Posts: 1,361
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I haven't been brewing all that long and have, so far, relied on ambient temps in a closet in the middle of my home. However I don't use AC or a heater so the temperature range is pretty wide during a brew... specially in summer/winter.

I didn't realize how much of a difference it can make until I started learning more about brewing and the arguments pretty much nailed the problems I was having with my batches. They came out good enough but could be better.

I'm thinking of a CL freezer conversion for conditioning kegs and fermenting as my next addition but that won't be happening for a while unless I see a huge deal.

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Old 08-30-2010, 04:32 AM   #19
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Jun 2010
Tampa, Fl
Posts: 944
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Just built a Styrofoam/plywood, chiller box. I have yet to use it for a full fermentation, but I finished off a Steam beer in it and I was able to keep the temps at 65 using about 1 gallon of frozen water for a full day, and I'm sure it could go lower. It has the standard computer fan and home thermostat.

Some con's to this method:
-changing the water bottles daily is necessary and can become a PITA
-the fan is loud and turns on and off about every 5 minutes, and runs for about a minute or less. You can't put this near any bedroom because it would keep you up all night.

-When space for a small fridge or freezer is not an option (my case) this is a good solution.
-the energy costs are minimal. I am using the power source from an old internet router to power my fan, so In essence it uses the power of a router. Much better effeciency than an old, inefficient Craigslist fridge.
-Cheap! Total financial cost is at most 60-70 bucks if you get all the supplies new. It will cost you time to build though, so factor that in.

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Old 08-30-2010, 07:22 AM   #20
Jun 2010
Posts: 105

I store everything in my basement, it's about 67 degrees down there, depending on the day. Seems to work fine.

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