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Old 12-09-2011, 06:09 PM   #1
Aug 2011
Hartford, WI
Posts: 37

Hi fellow brewers.

I am still fairly new at this, one batch finished, a second batch conditioning in the bottles and a third batch sitting in the secondary fermenter.

I have a temperature problem in the winter, my basement gets very cold and a good part of my house gets quite cold. I am an expatriated yooper, so the cold temps were no problem for me until the long winter came after I started brewing.

My home does have some warm spots, but that necessitates moving the beer around and up and down stairs for fermentation and carbonation. In the addition to having to lug the brew pales and carboys around, this situation also has the disadvantage of causing my brew to get churned up at just at the wrong times like just before transfer to the secondary fermenter or just before bottling.

I hope to put the entire operation in the basement, but that will be a project requiring a fair amount of cash and time.

Any ideas on how to circumvent this problem, other then waiting for the spring?


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Old 12-09-2011, 06:12 PM   #2
hopsalot's Avatar
Sep 2007
Corpus, Texas
Posts: 1,553
Liked 18 Times on 17 Posts

Brew belt and blankets

Brew Belt : Northern Brewer
In Illa Brettanomyces Nos Fides

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Old 12-09-2011, 06:20 PM   #3
Polboy's Avatar
Jun 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 917
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my question is how cold is cold?

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Old 12-09-2011, 06:27 PM   #4
Jul 2011
Ramsey & Akeley, Mn
Posts: 2,975
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At the point you're at a fermenation chamber may not be the best bet for you. But if you're serious about the hobby and are in for the long haul it might be an excellent option. You need to find a mini fridge thats large enough to accommodate a primary fermentor. Often you can get these cheap (or free in my case). That will obviously cool. Something like a seed germination mat will heat (I had one already). You then need a two stage digital controller allowing it to control cooling or heating (I have a A419 from Johnson controls, $80).

Now you can ferment at whatever temp you want. Lagers in the summer. Ales in winter. No restrictions, just some $$.

Brew belt will work too, but I wanted to be able to brew in the summer which I could not this past year.
Primary #1: Umlaut my Kölsch VII #2: Empty
Secondary #1
: Empty #2: Empty #3: Cab MerMarqeNac Wine
: Mugged a Monk Paters
: Dark Belgian Strong, Black Raspberry Rhubarb wine, RIS, Carmel Apple Cider, Big 50 Barleywine, Framboise Lambic, Barolo Wine, Berry Rhubarb Wine, Black Currant wine
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:39 PM   #5
BrewerinBR's Avatar
Feb 2011
Big Rapids, Michigan
Posts: 1,360
Liked 141 Times on 107 Posts

My house is cold as well, unless you are close to one of the wood stoves. I use the basement fermenter for lager (48f) this time of year, and the bathroom closet for ales. The bathroom closet is right behind the furnace room (propane runs at night) so it stays fairly constant... about 60 to 63F a little low and slow so I leave them for 28 days at least.
So beyond the brew belt and blankets, find the most place with the most consistent temperature and leave them there.
Good Luck
I seek not a hobby to fill my time; I seek a passion to fill my life!

Basement Brew Room Build:

"Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world." -Theodore Roosevelt

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Old 12-09-2011, 06:54 PM   #6
Jan 2008
Albany, NY
Posts: 10

Like Hopsalot said, a brew belt would be your cheapest and quickest option.
Brew Belt : Northern Brewer
Barry McOkner

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Old 12-09-2011, 06:56 PM   #7
1MadScientist's Avatar
Apr 2011
Panhandle of Florida, USA
Posts: 646
Liked 42 Times on 35 Posts

I think any used chest or upright freezer, unpluged as a chamber, a heating pad and a temp controller.


You can get heating pads a pet stores too, I understand.
In Cat Beers - I've Only Had One / Closed-system pressurized fermentation technique

Brewing with MS;

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Old 12-09-2011, 07:05 PM   #8

Originally Posted by cciszew View Post
my question is how cold is cold?
This is the key question.

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Old 12-09-2011, 07:06 PM   #9
stratslinger's Avatar
Dec 2010
Terryville, CT
Posts: 2,547
Liked 222 Times on 185 Posts

a short, yet shameless plug of one of my own threads

Particularly if you're a bit handy and like building things, a fermentation chamber can definitely be a fun little project that can, as solbes pointed out, let you ferment at any temperature year round...

I just finally added a heating element to mine, and couldn't be happier with the results thus far for both heating and cooling fermenters!

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Old 12-09-2011, 07:56 PM   #10
Nov 2011
Posts: 3,952
Liked 557 Times on 392 Posts

Originally Posted by Pappers_ View Post
This is the key question.
+1 If you're in the low 60's, you're good to go for most ale yeasts. Personally, I wouldn't add heat till you drop to the 50's.

Rich711 Likes This 
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