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Best Fermentation Temp Control?

I need to control my fermentaion temp. I was wondering, out of all the ways I have seen, what is the easiest? I’m assuming a fridge or a freezer with a temp controler. Am I missing anything else? Also, what would be the best way to set the temp to the actual beer and not just the ambient temp?

I think “easiest” depends on your situation, but I’ve used swamp coolers (and still do on occasion when production is high and room is tight), refrigerators, and chest freezers and then I built a walk-in where I do all fermentation now. Same principle as the refrigerator though - I use a digital temp controller to run an AC unit and the temp probe is set against the side of a fermenter and then covered with bubblewrap and taped down.

You’re right, a fridge or freezer with a Ranco digital temp controller is by far the easiest way to control ferm temps. If you do some searching on Craigslist you can usually find a fridge for pretty cheap. I got mine for $40. The controllers are about $50 unwired from here

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Thermowells will allow you to monitor the actual ferm temp of the beer. I can’t find one on Northerbrewer, but I did find one here
http://morebeer.com/view_product/16672//Stopper_Thermowell
. Although, I find taping the probe to the outside of the carboy with a little foam insulation over it is a fine, and less expensive, alternative to the thermowell.

Good luck!

my 14 gallon heated/cooled conical works real good. 8)

[quote=“blizzardofoz63”]I find taping the probe to the outside of the carboy with a little foam insulation over it is a fine, and less expensive, alternative to the thermowell.[/quote]I’ve checked the internal fermenter temp (taken right at the middle of the bucket, six inches deep) versus the external taped-on probe a couple of times and they are consistently within 1F of each other.

I control my fermenting temps with a $99 AC unit and a temp controller. It controls the temp of everything in my fermentation room. I set the temp on the controller which controls a small night light bulb. Attached to the light bulb is the temp probe from the AC unit. It works great.

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[quote=“MullerBrau”]I control my fermenting temps with a $99 AC unit and a temp controller. It controls the temp of everything in my fermentation room. I set the temp on the controller which controls a small night light bulb. Attached to the light bulb is the temp probe from the AC unit. It works great.

[/quote]

So is there a door to your fermentation room? Is the back of your window AC outside or where does the condensation go?

Never mind about the door. I see it. What is the night light for?

[quote=“chad041”]What is the night light for?[/quote]I use a similar setup in my walk-in, but I have the temp probe taped to the outside of a metal worklight with a 40W bulb that stays on all the time. What we’re doing is tricking the AC unit into thinking that it’s much warmer so that it will keep running until the beer reaches the right temp - if you don’t do this, it’ll cut off the compressor when the ambient temp reaches 60-65F depending on the AC.

[quote=“MullerBrau”]I control my fermenting temps with a $99 AC unit and a temp controller. It controls the temp of everything in my fermentation room. I set the temp on the controller which controls a small night light bulb. Attached to the light bulb is the temp probe from the AC unit. It works great.

[/quote]

I have a small room under my stairs that I plan on turning into a fermentation chamber. I’m just waiting to clear the people out (thanks, Wes). Does the lack of insulation have an effect on your temps and how your AC unit performs.?

The other side of the AC unit goes into my office. There is no condensation, just a little warm air which goes unnoticed.

The room has no insulation but that does not seem to be much of a factor as I only use the AC to hold at 58-60 for the first few days of active fermentation. After that, I hold it at 68 degrees which requires only 1-2 cycles per day. My basement stays at 70-72 year round.

I use a dorm fridge with a small slit cut in the door seal to fit the Johnson digital temp probe cable into so the seal still closes perfectly. I then make a pocket of bubble wrap by taping layers of it to the bucket surrounding the bubble wrap, but I leave the top untaped, to allow the probe to be pushed in or pulled out of the pocket - its pretty much the same as a kangaroo pouch for the probe.

I set the temp to 1 degree plus what I want the beer to ferment at (I’ll set 68 to ferment at 67). Works great and is dead simple.

I picked up this on craigslist yesterday for $100 and looking at the same controller as the link in post 3. There are a bunch of them on ebay right now for $46 and free shipping.
This fits a 6.5 carboy and (with a modified top) 2 cases for bottle conditioning.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/270629998461?ss ... 1423.l2649

Less expensive controller. I have one and it works great.

How much’d that puppy set you back?

My normal temperature control is january. :slight_smile: Otherwise I change what yeast I use depending on the weather. My brew room varies from low 70s in the summer to low 60s in winter.

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