Fridge & Fermenting Temp Control - Quick Question

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

brumer0

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
113
Reaction score
4
Location
North Carolina
Howdy,

Quick question for those of you who have a fridge for fermenting. I have a fridge and a stainless conical fermenter that I am going to marry up. I am looking at buying the 'Johnson Digital Temperature Controller' so I can control the cooling & heating. Right now in NC it is no warmer than 60 degrees, so I will need a heater for my fridge. Ive seen heat lamps used, but am looking for other ideas.

Could I tape the Temperature Controller thermometer on the stainless conical, and get a good reading of the beer temp, or do I need a thermowell?

Could I use a brew belt to warm the beer in the fridge (I have one), or is there another cheap way of doing this?

Thanks everybody!
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
84
Reaction score
0
Location
London
I have one of those temperature controllers, and use the fridge for cooling and an immersion heater for heating. The relay switches between the two, and I house my fermenter (glass carboy) in the fridge with the temperature sensor taped to the side of the side of the carboy and then covered with insulation so the only temperature it reads is the carboy glass it is touching after than the air in the fridge etc. I find this works ok, but you can get sensors for the Johnsson controller which are waterproof. You stick it right not your batch and that is the bat I guess.
 
OP
brumer0

brumer0

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
113
Reaction score
4
Location
North Carolina
Thanks for the comment Murray!

I probably wont deal with the immersion heater right now. I saw a previous post about using a hair dryer for heating, and this morning I got a breeze of my wife's hair dryer -boy that thing can be hot! Whats better for the brewing application, hair dryer or heat lamp?

Thanks again!
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
84
Reaction score
0
Location
London
This is awesome! I am chucking out my immersion heater and moving to this.
 

Piratwolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
2,118
Reaction score
133
Location
Va Beach
Sorry to bring this back, and probably to do so with what may be a stupid question... but here it goes:

Why not get an aquarium heater and just stick the tube of the heater into my carboy so it warms up the beer from within? The one I have is slim enough to fit, but also pretty well covers the glass carboy opening. Seems like that's more directly effective than putting the heater into a pool of water around the carboy itself. If I sanitize the tube thoroughly with StarSan, that shouldn't be a problem.

I feel like there might be huge obvious problems with this theory, but I can't pin 'em down. Help?
 
OP
brumer0

brumer0

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
113
Reaction score
4
Location
North Carolina
The biggest negative thing I am concerned about, with any heater solution, is how hot the beer gets that is closest to the heater. So in the aquarium heater idea (if I remember back about 15 years to when I had fish) the heater its self gets quite warm if not HOT. This would likely affect the beer that is touching the heater. Likewise, the beer that is touching the outside of the fermenter would be affected by a heat lamp or other heating device. Thus, a slow temperature change such as the light bulb in a paint can, or possibly even a hair dryer, would be the best solution.

I still haven't pulled the trigger on a specific heat source, but I am leaning towards a heat lamp due to ease of use and installation.
 

Sinalikesbeer

Member
Joined
Nov 11, 2008
Messages
19
Reaction score
0
Location
Cape Coral
Not sure if you decided on a method, but this is what I did for my heating temp control.
I connected a small 1500 watt fan heater to my Electrical Johnson control that is attached to my fermentation chamber (a True model Pepsi Fridge). I set the controller to heating mode and to cut-out at my set temp (this involves moving the pins inside the face of the controller, real easy)

The fan circulates the hot air throughout the fridge, cuts off right at my set point. Works like a charm.

I set the probe of the temp control right against my carboy, covered it with insulated bubble wrap and taped it down.

Here is the link to show you how to set the pins of the Johnson controller to heat mode:
http://www.beveragefactory.com/images/guides/A419ABG-3C.pdf

Hope this helps.

photo 2.JPG


photo 3.jpg


photo 1.JPG
 

prrriiide

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
672
Reaction score
29
Location
Smokin cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
I'm thinking about getting one of these and wiring an outlet in place of my light fixture in my ferm cabinet...maybe even cut the plug and hard-wire it straight into my e-bay controller.

The pic is darned near actual size: 3.8 x 4.3 x 6.1 inches ; 1.6 pounds and only 200w power usage. Should be more than enough for a 3'd x 4'w x 4'h box.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lasko-Products-My-Heat-Personal-Heater/16503222

 

TopherM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2011
Messages
3,973
Reaction score
458
Location
St. Petersburg
Right now in NC it is no warmer than 60 degrees
It is 60 degrees in your house? I keep my house at 74 this time of year, so my fermentation chamber still has to cool down to 64 for an average ale fermentation, and no heater is required. If you DO keep your house at 60, why not just turn on the heat up to 64 in your house and ferment in a closet?
 

Okie12beer

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
24
Reaction score
0
Location
Tulsa
prrriiide said:
I'm thinking about getting one of these and wiring an outlet in place of my light fixture in my ferm cabinet...maybe even cut the plug and hard-wire it straight into my e-bay controller.

The pic is darned near actual size: 3.8 x 4.3 x 6.1 inches ; 1.6 pounds and only 200w power usage. Should be more than enough for a 3'd x 4'w x 4'h box.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Lasko-Products-My-Heat-Personal-Heater/16503222
I just put one of these in my freezer. It was $11 at Walmart. I unplugged the freezer from the temp controller, changed it to heat mode and plugged this in. I was doing some lagers but it is time to warm up for ale now. It is small, cheap, and slow to change the temp so there are not hot spots. It seems to work great.
 

prrriiide

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2009
Messages
672
Reaction score
29
Location
Smokin cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo
I just put one of these in my freezer. It was $11 at Walmart. I unplugged the freezer from the temp controller, changed it to heat mode and plugged this in. I was doing some lagers but it is time to warm up for ale now. It is small, cheap, and slow to change the temp so there are not hot spots. It seems to work great.
Ya, I picked one up for $11 @ WalrusWorld today. It's making a difference in the ferm box, for sure! I was using a 100w light bulb, so I bought a screw-base outlet adapter for 2 more bux and plugged it right in. E-bay controller took it from there.
 

Murray

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
84
Reaction score
0
Location
London
Yeah I have found the immersion heater is actuallly fine. It does get hot, but you get convection and so the beer around it circulates a bit. Also, with a small heater in a large bosy of beer, you get a kind've gradual temperature profile. The thing I like about the immersion heater is it is dead easy to use. Just stick it in the top of your fermenter and dangle it into your beer.
 

Piratwolf

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
2,118
Reaction score
133
Location
Va Beach
@Murray~

I was thinking there'd be a convection effect as the beer warms up. I'll have to try this out myself. Cheers for the response!
 
OP
brumer0

brumer0

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
113
Reaction score
4
Location
North Carolina
I still havent brewed using the fridge and new set up. I am planning on brewing on Monday, no matter what. Ive been forcing myself to get done with my RIMS.

I definitely like the walmart heater better than a heat lamp or hair dryer. Will pick one up on the way home tomorrow. However, that brewers heater is pretty freakin' sweet. I can see myself adding that at a later date bc I need a solution by Monday...
 
Top