I have seen many threads on temperature control here but I am wondering what you all would recommend for my current setup. Let me explain what I have, what I am planning to do, and then see what method of control you think would be best.
I have a room that is pretty much dedicated to fermentation. Technically it is my office but I rarely use it for that. It has its own AC which can keep the ambient temperature in the room at about 60F. It was great for fermenting my first ale. I have also just placed a tall, skinny refrigerator in there that can hold three fermenters. This refrigerator can get down to 40F. I plan to use two of the fridge spaces for lagering and one space for cold crashing my ales.
I would like to start tailoring the temperatures to the specific beer styles and yeasts that I am using. This means I need a way to vary the temperatures among my ales as well as the temperatures among my lagers in the fridge.
My current plan is to purchase a few carboy heaters like this one:
Link with description
I don’t use carboys, only buckets and these can be used with plastic buckets. I would place the heaters on all my fermenters so they could each ferment at their own temperatures.
So how do I control how much they are heated up? The description says you can control it by how much of the mesh you put in contact with the fermenter. That isn’t precise enough for my tastes. What I would prefer is a way to hook a thermometer up to the fermenter that tells the power supply to the heater when to turn on and off. What is the best way to do that with buckets that will work both in and out of a fridge? I realize doing it for each of my future fermenters may be pricey but I won’t do it all at once. Thanks!