Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Fermentation control
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:03 PM   #1
elleric
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Default Fermentation control

Hi, up to this point I have been making ale just leaving my carboy in the basement to ferment. The results have been mostly good. But now I am hoping to move into some lower temps for fermentation. (my basement goes between 65 and 75.)

I was wondering what people used for controlling the wort temp during fermentation at lower temps.

I looked into a small dorm type refrigerator but they lacked the temp setting control or the size for more than a small container. Is there a model that would work?

Thanks!


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Old 10-04-2011, 05:30 PM   #2
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You need to get a temp controller like this: http://morebeer.com/view_product/166...roller_-_Wired

Then you can use a chest freezer, dorm fridge, or whatever you want.


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Old 10-05-2011, 03:38 AM   #3
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if you want something a little more economical you could try using a keg bucket or garbage can filled with water and swap out ice bottles and add a fan if needed.
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Old 10-05-2011, 05:24 AM   #4
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I pitch cool in the mid sixties and let it free rise to the low to mid seventies until it starts to naturally fall when I turn on the fermwrap to keep it there and ramp a few more degrees. This is for Belgians of course though.
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Old 10-05-2011, 07:34 AM   #5
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How low are you wanting to keep the fermentation temps? I've found that a bare concrete basement floor can conduct a lot of heat away. Depending on the season you can get down to lagering temps just by setting a glass carboy on a concrete basement floor.

In experiments with a growler full of water I see a 10 degree or more difference between sitting on the basement floor and sitting on a wooden shelf 3 feet directly above.

If you're just looking for more precision, then of course the answer is a fridge of some sort and a temperature controller.
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:23 AM   #6
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Do you have a budget for this?
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Old 10-05-2011, 11:11 AM   #7
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To second what folks above have said, buying a pre-made temperature controller and a fridge/freezer/etc will definitely get the job done. You're going to need some kind of an external temperature controller, since very few fridges or freezers are going to have built in settings to maintain anything much higher than 30'sF.

However, if you're a little handy and enjoy tinkering, do some searches on this site for the ebay temperature controller - I built mine for around $50, which is a LOT cheaper than I could find a pre-made 2 stage (heating and cooling) temperature controller. Also, search for threads on fermentation chambers - like mine </shameless plug>. They can be as simple as an extension of a dorm fridge built from rigid styrofoam insulation or small rooms with modified air conditioning units attached. Mine falls somewhere between those two extremes, and is currently happily fermenting away 10 gallons of a bock at 10C (about 50F).
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:23 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the responses.

To answer a few questions: I dont have a budget for this really. I'd rather not spend 1000 dollars but if I can get something perfect for a few hundred I can drone out the wife's " I can't believe you spent xxx on that" while marveling at it running. If I can get something that does the job adequately for 50, all the better.

The basement floor option is out really. My basement is almost all finished and the only space that remains bare concrete is the small patch where the washer, dryer, heat and hot-water are... Very inconsistent temp there.

As for seasons I live in new England so what the temp will be outside on any given day is anyone's guess. I'd like to be able to brew whatever comes to mind regardless of the out door conditions.

Based on the posts I'm thinking the external temp controller is decent but it leaves me with the continuing issue of space in the refrigerator. I've looked at a few of the larger mini fridges and they all seem to have an internal shape that would make it impossible to hold a carboy. Does anyone have a recommendation regarding the actual fridge. Will it have to be a full sized? Maybe a chest style freezer would work?

Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2011, 02:47 PM   #9
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Chest freezers definitely work, or check out the link in my post above for another idea involving a dorm fridge and an insulated plywood box.
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Old 10-06-2011, 03:42 PM   #10
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I've been reading your thread in small pieces. There is a lot of content to get through!


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