Temperature Control

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12ozTees

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Fairly new to the game and have a question about temperature control during fermentation.

Currently ferment in a mud room just off of the kitchen. Room is full of windows and my current set-up has my primary fermenter sitting 10 inches from the westward facing window. In all honesty, I am thankful for the space that the girlfriend gives me to store the stuff, so moving it, at least at this point, is not an option. The room is drafty and has a dog door in it, so there is constant air moving in and out of the room and I would guess that the temperature in the room might fluctuate a full 10 degrees from the cool nights to the warmer afternoons.

I have brewed a very good IPA and an American Wheat (for the girlfriend). Both beers were fermented in this position, with a heavy towel wrapped around the bucket.

My question is this: with the fluctuation in temperature that is seen near this window, should I be looking into some sort of temperature control for the fermenter? If so, what would you recommend that wont cost me a fortune?
 

EdWort

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I see a Son of Fermentation Chiller in your future. Seriously, it is a great and cheap way to proper temps.

 
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jafo28

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Totally agree with EdWort. I made one of these last summer and was able to hold 68ºF in my garage that was hovering in the mid 90's. I changed the ice prior to leaving for work in the morning and then in the evening. It works well on a budget.
 

724b

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I agree that a fermentation chamber of some sort is the way to go.

While you're in the process of getting that setup, you could put your fermenter in a tub of water. The additional mass would make the temp more constant.
 

aggiejay06

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Wow...that looks fantastic. I've been worried about brewing in the summer...anyone remember about how much it costs to build one of these?
 

Homercidal

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Someone on here had an idea to build a system with two coolers, one to place the fermenter in, and one to hold ice water. A temp controller with a pump would circulate water from the ice cooler, to the fermenter cooler as needed to keep temp. Sounds like an awesome setup if it can be done. I have not seen it actually used yet though.
 

fixitoscar

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The biggest thing is to keep those temp swings to a minimum.
If you aren't mechaniclly inclined and can't build a chamber. You can go out and buy a big ice chest that will hold your fermentor.
Put your carboy or bucket in the ice chest and fill it with water. Then wrap your bucket with the wet towell having the bottom of the towell in the water. The extra mass of the water will keep the temp much more stable.
 

NorCalAngler

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I've handled it with the big water bath with great success. I have used a big rope bucket as well as the utility sink in my mud room and held temperatures within 2 degree swings when the daily swing was closer to 10 degrees. I also found three frozen 16oz water bottles in the water bath can drop temps fairly drastically so be careful you don't over do it.
 

stanley1271

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Any of you guys know if these can be rigged to heat rather than cool?
Yes you can heat in them as well. Simplest version I have heard of is using a heating pad wrapped around or placed under the carboy/bucket. The insulation should help to maintain the heat as well as it keeps in the cool.
 

mikeysab

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I just bought a mini fridge off craigslist for 40 bucks. I already had the 2 inch insulation and ordered an aquarium temp controller from ebay. Gonna follow the plans in the DIY section for fermentation chamber. Nice little project before summer hits
 

BryceL

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The Son of a fermentation chamber will run about $70. I'm building one as I speak. Gotta run to Home Depot today or tomorrow to get the rest of the parts I need. I don't have a good electronics shop near me so I had to order the fan online. Bummer that shipping is just about as expensive as the fan. I think if you really shop around you could get the price down a bit, but I'm pretty lazy.
 

Frank99

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I'm pretty handy, but lazy, so I scored a chest freezer of CL and use this with a dual Ranco controller with a William's fermentation heat pad (adheres to the side wall = ZERO space taken up by pad!) . Controlling the fermentation temps was the single best thing that improved not only the quality of my beer but the consistency of results. If you're only fermenting 1 or 2 batches at a time you can get away with a small freezer for about $50. No mods needed -just feed the 2 wires under the lid and secure with duct tape. Done! Duh, WINNING !!!
 
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