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Old 01-01-2013, 09:34 PM   #1
Dave37
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Sep 2012
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Ey guys and gals. Happy new year to everyone. It's getting cold in my basement and I do not have any heat control down there. I have been looking for a way to increase my fermentation temps if I feel like brewing an ale or two through the winter. I have a chest freezer and Johnson temp controller to keep things cold when I need but am trying to get a consensus of a good way to keep things warm and toasty for hotter fermenting beers, maybe a diacetyl rest or whatever else.

Any way any recommendations or things to stay clear of would be great. So far my thoughts are getting a brew belt or the ferm wrap heater from Midwest. Or to buy a cheap 20$ space heater and use it in tandem with my temp controller. Any thoughts or reviews on any of the products or the space heater idea?

Thanks in advance. Happy new year

Dave

 
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
LAbrewer
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Nov 2012
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I bought a plug in temp controller for like $20 or $30 on amazon. use it with a heater for a safer setup than the thermstat on the heater. another option is a trash can and a fish aquarium heater. They're like $10 or so. I don't trust them though. I'm just paranoid that the beer will start boiling or something.

 
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:26 PM   #3
Golddiggie
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Some Reflectix wrapped around the fermentation vessel will go a long way. You can easily wrap more than a few buckets/carboys from a single roll (go with the 16" tall one). IF you need to add some heat, then I would just use a heating pad with a timer. I've found that 2 hours on either of the lowest two settings will give you a couple of degree increase (F) which can be all you need. Monitor the fermenting beer temps and just apply as needed. Since I have thermowells for my fermenting vessels, it's easy for me to keep track.

Example:
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:33 PM   #4
k47k
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Mar 2010
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My basement is about 64 degrees right now.

I have a freezer with temp controller. i start my beer out cool (60-62) and ramp up towards the end. i ramp up by turning off the temp controller which will get me to ambient temp or a little more (64-66). i then turn the controler to 70-72 and fill a growler with hot tap water and stick it in the freezer.

this will maintain a higher temp (~70) for 12 hours or so, enough time for me to do stuff during the day and get back to add a fresh growler with hot tap water.

 
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:58 PM   #5
Dave37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k47k
My basement is about 64 degrees right now.

I have a freezer with temp controller. i start my beer out cool (60-62) and ramp up towards the end. i ramp up by turning off the temp controller which will get me to ambient temp or a little more (64-66). i then turn the controler to 70-72 and fill a growler with hot tap water and stick it in the freezer.

this will maintain a higher temp (~70) for 12 hours or so, enough time for me to do stuff during the day and get back to add a fresh growler with hot tap water.
Wow this seems like a great idea. I had no idea a growler of hot water could increase the ambient temp in the freezer that many degrees. My plan had settled down to getting one of those super mini personal space heaters for 18$ on amazon put it in my freezer and while keeping my probe and controller in place just plug the heater into it and unplug the freezer. I will try out the growler and see how it works in my freezer first. Thanks guys I appreciate all of the options and it shows me how there is no single way to do things in this hobby. Whatever works and gets the job done is the right way.

Thanks again guys. Happy new year.

Dave

 
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:23 PM   #6
k47k
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave37 View Post
Wow this seems like a great idea. I had no idea a growler of hot water could increase the ambient temp in the freezer that many degrees.
Dave
I guess it all depends on your batch size and how hot your tap water is. could always add more or less growlers to get the desired result.

 
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:24 AM   #7
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Is your controller a dual one? If so, plug the freezer in the cold outlet and a lamp or any other heat source in the heat outlet.

If not and you've already got a spare fridge or freezer, these are inexpensive and pretty easy to put together -



It's an STC-1000 controller which you can get on either Amazon http://www.amazon.com/All-purpose-Te...f=pd_sbs_hg_10 or ebay for less than $25.

There's an excellent video on YouTube about how to wire it here -
as well as several threads around here that are very helpful.

You set the fridge or freezer on it's coldest setting and plug it into the cold outlet. I'm using a lamp with a 95 watt bulb (covered in foil to keep it dark inside) for the heat side of things. I had a leftover chest freezer in the garage, so that's what mine got hooked up to. The temp stays within +/- 0.5C of whatever I set on the controller.

 
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:28 AM   #8
theveganbrewer
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If you do have a dual controller, I cannot recommend the paint can heater enough. Has served me valiantly over the past two years as a heat source.
Here's the link: http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theveganbrewer View Post
If you do have a dual controller, I cannot recommend the paint can heater enough. Has served me valiantly over the past two years as a heat source.
Here's the link: http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html
That is choice!

I know now what my next DIY brewing equipment is going to be. Thanks.

 
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