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Old 01-19-2012, 02:29 PM   #1
Dec 2011
Bristow, VA
Posts: 154
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Hello all. I've just bought my first brewing equipment setup and am ready to get going but from all I've read temperature control seems to be a major point in making a good beer great. I've been looking at the Ranco two stage temperature control setups but can't bring myself to drop the $200 it is going to take for that box and a brew heater to control my setup (yet). So I pose the question, how do you keep your brew fermenting at the optimal temperature?

If anyone is willing to drop suggestions I have the following options:

Spare Refrigerator (in garage)
Room with ambient around 70 F
Room with ambient around 60 F
Room with ambient around 55 F

Thanks for any help in advance.

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Old 01-19-2012, 02:33 PM   #2
Brulosopher's Avatar
Jun 2011
Fresno, CA
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Got my analog temp regulator for about $35 from and it works great!

I would just keep your wort in the 60F room
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:35 PM   #3
Jan 2012
New Haven, CT
Posts: 152

You can research swamp cooler on here, which is basically a method of increasing thermal mass to make temperature changes more gradual.

If you have a spare fridge though I would buy a cheap thermostat control (on ebay- search keggerator thermostat) and use the fridge as a climate controlled box. So basically say you wanted 65F. You set the thermostat and it automatically turns the fridge on and off to maintain 65F.

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Old 01-19-2012, 03:38 PM   #4
Jun 2011
Falling Waters, West Virginia
Posts: 533
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I use a water bath and add frozen water bottles as needed. Typically only need 1-2 bottles twice a day to keep temps in the lower 60's. Was using my spare bathub but have now moved to the plastic totes with rope handles you see at Target, WalMart etc. Works extremely well and is much cheaper than buying a spare fridge/chest freezer and temp controller. I can hold temps within +-2 degrees with this method.

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Old 01-19-2012, 03:48 PM   #5
Nov 2011
Posts: 3,952
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Check out the ebay temp controller build:

Here's the gist of it: You buy an STC-1000 off of ebay for $25. It has a temp probe that controls two circuits, one for heating and one for cooling. You connect each circuit to an outlet - plug a fridge into the cooling one, plug a heat source (e.g. lightbulb) into the other. Tape the probe to your fermenter - if the temp gets too cold, the heat circuit flips and turns on the heat. Too warm & the fridge kicks on. Super easy, very cheap.

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Old 01-19-2012, 04:00 PM   #6
Apr 2011
Raleigh, NC
Posts: 144
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Having a spare fridge makes this a no-brainer. You are a lucky summ-b, let me tell you.

Grab a temperature controller like the folks above said and you're golden.

We have one for our all-grain setup at my friend's house, and it beats the pants off my swamp cooler setup at home.

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Old 01-19-2012, 04:21 PM   #7
Jan 2012
Calgary, AB
Posts: 102

I am about to start myself and my plan is to use an oil filled room heater (don't use much anyway) with a set temperature mode in a basement closet. I made a room temperature to be 15C by closing the ventilation and the heater kept 18-19C in a closet when I tested it set to be 18C. The downside is that 15-16 C (59-61F) is the lowest I can get. Think it would work for ales? From what I read my primary fermenter will be ~ 5F higher than an ambient temperature - may be on a higher side of the range

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Old 01-19-2012, 04:29 PM   #8
rexbanner's Avatar
Nov 2008
Posts: 1,382
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Can't believe no one has said have rooms with perfect ambient temps. Why even bother? Use the ~60 degree one.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:30 PM   #9
BamaRooster's Avatar
Oct 2011
Glade Spring, Virginia
Posts: 509
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I use my basement floor. It has a constant ambient temp of 60 degrees. I find that this time of year, when I have the 60 degree ambient temp, my ales ferment out at 66 degrees. Once fermentation slows, 2-5 days, I move the fermenter upstairs with an ambient temp of 68 and they finish the process at 68-70 degrees. This process works well for me and has been producing great beer. A temperature control environment would be better and is where I want to be, but SWMBO has other plans for the money in my pocket.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:43 PM   #10
Duckfoot's Avatar
Jul 2008
Dürty Soüth, GA
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Side by side fridge with the center cut out... Love controller replaced the original thermostat... Can set temp and then crash cool it when it is ready...
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