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Old 11-05-2007, 07:07 PM   #1
Ernie Diamond
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Oct 2007
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My local homebrew supplier sold me a "Brew Belt" to try and get my fermenter (and yeasts) into the optimal 75-80 degree range.

I'm not seeing a lot of activity after 36 hours. Does anyone out there have any experience with this thing? Everytime I feel it, it is cool. I had high hopes of a sudden rush of activity after plugging this thing in but my hopes have been dashed somewhat.

Short of heating the small room that I am storing my carboys in, does anyone have any good ideas as to how to bring the heat up to get the yeasts in the proper temperature range? Electric blanket? Hot water bottle? Heating pad?

Thanks.

 
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:11 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernie Diamond
My local homebrew supplier sold me a "Brew Belt" to try and get my fermenter (and yeasts) into the optimal 75-80 degree range.

I'm not seeing a lot of activity after 36 hours. Does anyone out there have any experience with this thing? Everytime I feel it, it is cool. I had high hopes of a sudden rush of activity after plugging this thing in but my hopes have been dashed somewhat.

Short of heating the small room that I am storing my carboys in, does anyone have any good ideas as to how to bring the heat up to get the yeasts in the proper temperature range? Electric blanket? Hot water bottle? Heating pad?

Thanks.
Not an answer to your question, but are you sure 75-80 is the optimal range. Seems very high to me. My ale yeasts typically like temps in the mid 60's.

 
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:12 PM   #3
Whiskey
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I thought the brew belts just keep that carboy at like 75 degrees range to keep your wort warm warm in a cold room? As far touching it, 75 F does feel pretty cool.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:12 PM   #4
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Well, it depends on what you're fermenting but 75-80 degrees is generally way, way too hot for anything. Wine, maybe, if it's a heat tolerant yeast.

Just as an example, if you're making an ale, using Nottingham yeast, the optimum temperature is 57-70 degrees.

Do you have a fermometer? One of those adhesive strips that stick on the carboy or bucket? It's like an aquarium strip thermometer. That will better tell you the temperature of the fermenting liquid inside, rather going by ambient air temperature or by feel. Most people like fermenting in the winter, because it's a little easier to keep the temperatures down, so we don't often have the opposite problem. My house is cold, so I use cool fermenting ale yeasts and generally ferment at 60-62 degrees.

I've never used an electric blanket or anything but I have seen some people use a fermentation box or an old fridge with a light bulb for a heating element.
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:22 PM   #5
mr x
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I have used a heating pad wrapped around the carboy with bungees to keep the temp in an acceptable range. What do you mean by not a lot of activity?
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:33 PM   #6
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In the dead of winter when my brewery is cold, I'll use the heating pad. Or even when it's not that cold, I'll use it to bring the fermentation temps up towards the end of fermentation so that it finishes out alright (the ester production has already taken place at that point, so there's no worries there). A brew belt seems kinda..wasteful. A heating pad and an old belt do the same thing but for less $$. But yeah, unless you're making a saison (or a wheat, depending on how much ester character you want), you want to keep your temps below 70, not above.
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.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:33 PM   #7
Ernie Diamond
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I have a Belgian Dubbel in there now and the optimal temp is somewhere areound 75. In addition, I have two ciders that I just started and those are meant to be a little higher as well. Ambient temp in my basement is probably 62 right now.

 
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:47 PM   #8
mr x
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But what are you seeing when you say little activity and what kind of yeast did you use? Do you have a hydrometer?
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:49 PM   #9
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The only time you would ever want to ferment north of 75° is with some Belgian ales, and even then, you're better off starting out cool and raising the temp gradually, after the bulk of fermentation is done. High temps = fusel alcohols = massive headaches and "hot," solventy taste. Frankly, anyone who told you that optimal fermentation temperatures are up to 80° doesn't know jack about making beer.

Off the soapbox.....

EDIT: I see it IS for a Belgian, so I'll back off my statement a little - but still, you're better off starting cool, raising it to the higher temps near the end to get your attenuation up without getting too many "hot" alcohols.

I'm not sure - are brewbelts even designed to get that warm? It's such a limited number of beers that woule want to be fermented that warm...
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Old 11-05-2007, 07:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernie Diamond
I have a Belgian Dubbel in there now and the optimal temp is somewhere areound 75. In addition, I have two ciders that I just started and those are meant to be a little higher as well. Ambient temp in my basement is probably 62 right now.
What yeast are you using for the dubbel?
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MOSS HOLLOW BREWING CO.
Aristocratic Ales, Lascivious Lagers


.planned:
•Scottish 80/- •Sweet Stout •Roggenbier
.primary | bright:
98: Moss Hollow Soured '09 72: Oude Kriek 99: B-Weisse 102: Brett'd BDSA 104: Feat of Strength Helles Bock 105: Merkin Brown
.on tap | kegged:
XX: Moss Hollow Springs Sparkling Water 95: Gott Mit Uns German Pils 91b: Brown Willie's Oaked Abbey Ale 103: Merkin Stout
98: Yorkshire Special 100: Maple Porter 89: Cidre Saison 101: Steffiweizen '09 (#3)

 
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