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Ferment in chest freezer

I am a fairly new homebrewer. I decided my brews would improve with better temp control of fermentation. I have a chest freezer in a very cold unheated garage. I have the A419 control. I needed to heat my freezer so I have lowered a 25w lamp on a work light and having trouble getting above 53f. has anyone had similar problem? I suppose a 40 w might be a better choice or brew my first lager is in order.

I personally use a heating blanket from CVS but my ambient (outside of the chamber) is low 60’s in the winter so I only ever need to raise the temp a few degrees. Unless your are fermenting in an opaque bucket I would suggest trying to avoid excess exposure to light.

i have it lowered nearly to the bottom and plan on some kind of light shield to minimize light. Now I am just “practicing” temp control. thanks for input

I use a little seedling heating pad I bought off Amazon for next to nothing.

I haven’t tried to get the temp high though, since my garage rarely gets so low that it needs to heat the inside. I’ve also not been brewing too long and haven’t brewed in a while.

From what I have read you can use a paint can to shield the light and it will give off good heat.

i have paint cans…good tip, thanks

Ceramic heaters work well for this as well. Here’s the paint can project:

http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/Ferm ... Can-Heater

cool…problem solved. thanks

I use a 100w reptile tank heater bulb. Lots of heat, no light. Perfect.

I use a 100w reptile tank heater bulb. Lots of heat, no light. Perfect.[/quote]

I would warn though…before I bought a heating pad I used a 100w lightbulb (with a tshirt over the carboy to protect from light) and it started melting the top of my chest freezer. The bulb was about 6 inches from top and still did some damage.

Mine sits on the floor of the freezer, so no problem…I hope! Took my freezer from 33 to 56 in about an hour yesterday.

i suppose the variables are difficult to reconcile. I have a 15 cf and temp in garage is 39f. I rigged up a paint can as a visor and a 40w lamp just now… will monitor in the a.m. as it is supposed to be 4f tonight. i put my gopro in and it’s dark in there. I guess I could wait till spring to brew@#$%@&

[quote=“Templar”]I use a little seedling heating pad I bought off Amazon for next to nothing.
[/quote]
Brilliant!!

I have an arthritis heating pad from CVS, they’re in the same price range, but tend to have “smart” controls like a 2-hour time limit which can be a slight obstacle. If I ever need to replace it I’ll go seedling heater.

There are also heating pads for reptile aquariums, they seem pretty identical except for the price markup. Call the same thing a “brew mat” and they’ll add a few more dollars.

[quote=“JMcK”][quote=“Templar”]I use a little seedling heating pad I bought off Amazon for next to nothing.
[/quote]
Brilliant!!

I have an arthritis heating pad from CVS, they’re in the same price range, but tend to have “smart” controls like a 2-hour time limit which can be a slight obstacle. If I ever need to replace it I’ll go seedling heater.

There are also heating pads for reptile aquariums, they seem pretty identical except for the price markup. Call the same thing a “brew mat” and they’ll add a few more dollars.[/quote]

I wanted to post an update to this. Since I just recently brewed after a little break, I tested out my seedling pad in my empty chest freezer. It actually didn’t work too well. The temp inside started at about 31 degrees. It rose to 52 but wouldn’t go any higher after almost 2 days. It was really cold outside and my garage was freezing too… I decided to use one of those tiny little space heaters with the fan and the ceramic heating element inside. In almost no time, temp was stable at 61.

Maybe it’s because the freezer is too big for the small pad. My freezer is pretty large (I went big because I want to make it a keezer one day).

The 40 w lamp in a 1 gallon paint can has done the trick for me. the work lamp has a metal dome. nearly the same size as can opening so light is not a problem. Got it to maintain 72 when garage was appx. 31. I am ready to brew I believe

[quote=“Templar”]
Maybe it’s because the freezer is too big for the small pad. My freezer is pretty large (I went big because I want to make it a keezer one day).[/quote]
Yup, It’s all about the volume and the temperature differential; I had the opposite experience. My basement is mid-50s at the coldest. My little ceramic at the lowest setting had my 5.1cu ft freezer over 70 in under a minute. Too much heat by far for my situation. That’s why I went to CVS for the pad. No one size fits all solution here.

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