What is the approximate temperature of 5 gals of fluid vs ambient temperature? Fluids tend to stay slightly cooler, don't they? I'm in the northwest and it's been 40-50 outside which might translate a little through the floorboards(?), but on the other hand the fermentation process generates heat, right?
I need to learn a good method for regulation in a home setting because I think my first brew (albeit a mediocre can kit) might have cooked a little for the first few days and I don't want to be digging into my fermenter with a thermometer too much. I initially kept a pint glass of water containing a thermometer on top of the fermenter but found the readings to be vastly different [from the wort] by 5 to 8 degrees.
The fermentation process does indeed generate heat.
To regulate the fermentation temp, you can either use the wet t-shirt swampcooler trick or use an icewater bath. I personally use the latter process and swap out frozen water bottles twice a day. I'm able to maintain 66-68deg temps.
You can't see the frozen water bottles in this pic, but you get the idea.
__________________ Primary 1: pale ale Primary 2: blondie