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Old 01-25-2009, 12:46 PM   #1
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Default Using Heated Kennel pad to keep fermenter warm

Hello all, great forum... my first post!

I'm making a hobo wine (cran apple) to start playing with yeast/fermentation and my house is around 65d throughout the winter.. I have the fermenter sitting on a heated kennel pad on a towel. I'm curious if anyone else has leveraged something like this to get the temp up on fermentation. I've seen the aquarium heater, water approach, but that seems messy...

Appreciate any thoughts on the heater pad....thx


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Old 01-25-2009, 01:47 PM   #2
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Bear in mind that fermentation is an exothermic process. In other words, if your house is 65, the actual temp of your brew could very well be 70+. What fermentation temps are you shooting for?

That said, a pad heater is somewhat undesirable, in the sense that whatever part of your brew is in contact with the heater is going to be much hotter than the rest. The water/aquarium heater concept is great, because it provides an even and well distributed warmth, without hot spots. It's messy, but oftentimes sacrifices have to be made when you want ideal conditions.


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Old 01-25-2009, 01:55 PM   #3
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Ah, makes sense, heater pad was my best shot with what I have. The current temp is 66 and heater pad over towels is show touch point temp ~ 78.. I was hoping to gently get the temp up to around 72. My yeasties aren't starting as desired, I'm hoping to using this to rule out some variables and get this ferment going... thank you for the reply
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:21 PM   #4
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Also, heating pads get way hotter than ideal fermenting temps. I don't know about kennel pads, but regular heating pads operate in the 170-190 degree range, which could cause some problems if left on your brew for too long. The beauty of the aquarium heater method is that you can nail your target temp and keep it consistent.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:38 PM   #5
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This pad is supposed to get a consistent temp of 102... so far the temp on the carboy is slowly climbing.. wouldn't natural convection keep a rather consistent temp?
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:44 PM   #6
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Kennel pads will certainly warm your fermenter, but as you've noted, they operate at a fixed and very high (relative to fermentation requirements) temperature.

And if it hasn't been two-three days since you pitched, don't expect any action.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:23 AM   #7
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Just about any variety of yeast can ferment well in 65-66 degree temps. My advice? That heater is going to do waaaay more harm than good -- and be potentially dangerous to boot. As mentioned, if you're shooting for 72*F actual temp within the fermenter, the yeast will do that themselves, because fermentation is exothermic (in other words, an actively fermenting culture will always be a few degrees warmer than the surrounding air, unless steps are taken to actively cool the fermenter).

What strain of yeast are you using, and from what company?

Something that caught my eye: You mention you're doing a cran-apple wine. The first thing that struck me, is that cranberries are a natural fungicide. In other words, there's a strong chance the cranberry is inhibiting the yeast. Secondly, what juice did you use? Did you verify it was free of preservatives?
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:14 AM   #8
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OK, so I've got my wine going great now! As far as the kennel pad, I have to say it really didn't do much of anything, I was able to get temp up in about 3hrs but not really useful and I think consensus is that there is more bad than good to come out of it.

I am using oceanspray cranberry and members mark apple from sams club. Both only claim to have juice and vitamin c. I am using yeast strain ec-118, lalvin brand. I really think the big issue was that I took the juice from the car and almost immediately poured in the carboy (it's 30d outside)... probably pitched at 50d....stupid...


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