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Heating fermenation chamber

I just moved to a new place and brewing has been relocated to the basement. Having the beer too cold was never an issue but after my first batch I realized I’ll need a duel stage controller. What’s are you guys doing for heating? I was looking at the infrared retitle bulbs because that seems safest and meant closest to the application I’ll be doing but wasn’t sure what wattage I’d need. I have a small freezer that fits one fermenter.

I use a heating pad from CVS. Cost me under $10 and works great. Just make sure you buy the kind that doesn’t have an auto-off feature. Some of them will turn off after a certain amount of time as a “safety feature”.

I have a 60 watt light bulb in a paint can. Dirt cheap and works perfect.

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I use an infrared reptile heater bulb.

How many watts?

How many watts?[/quote]

  1. MORE than enough for a 14.8 cu. ft. chest freezer.

I use a arthritis heating pad from CVS for a 7.1 cu ft. In a recent thread someone mentioned that a seedling heating pad works the same but doesn’t have the pesky auto-shutoff that my heating pad does.

I’ve got the fermwrap keeping my lacto fermentation at 94F currently. It’s set for 100F so it’s maxed out.

Inside a 7.1 cf chest freezer.

That was me!

It works in a smaller freezer (mine is a 14 something or other so a little large). If it’s exceptionally cold wherever your ferm chamber is, the seedling pad likely won’t work so well. A couple of weeks ago, getting my chamber ready for brew day, I tried to get it warm in there with the pad. I wanted to hit ~61 but couldn’t get the thing over 53 degrees. The pad was on, I felt it and it was warm, but the temp is my garage was in the low 30’s upper 20’s. I think the combo of the cold air outside and the large space to heat in the freezer was too much for the pad. The good thing is that it won’t auto shut-off on you though!

Since then, I’ve gone to one of those cheap little ceramic space heating fans. It’s small and heats the chamber up in no time at all. I plugged it in and set it and the temp went from low 50’s to mid 60’s in a few minutes. I keep it angled so it doesn’t blow warm air directly on the carboy. I also keep my temp probe taped to the opposite side of the carboy and covered with some bubble wrap. Temp probe reading is exactly the same as the sticker on the carboy, so I think it’s working nicely.

Somewhere on the BeerSmith forum Tom Hampton described his fermentation chamber. It’s amazing! But, I couldn’t find it to post a link. Sorry.

As I recall, he cools the whole chamber (photos look like it’s about a 6’ x 10’ room) to somewhere in the lager fermentation range, then if he needs a fermenter at a higher temp he wraps a heating pad or brew belt (?) around the fermenter and controls it with a second STC-1000 controller.

The point is that he gets double duty out of the chamber for the additional price of a heating pad and an STC-1000. If you’re using a freezer for lagering at 32F or serving at 40F you might need to insulate any fermenter you’re trying to push up to 65F, but you’re not limited to one temp for everything in the chamber.

Here’s the link to Tom’s fermentation chamber description, photos, and diagrams: http://www.beersmith.com/forum/index.ph … 730.0.html

I got a few things wrong in my previous post: the room is smaller than I thought, he’s holding it at lager fermentation temps (9C/48F).

The primary point is that he cools the room to one temp, then heats individual fermenters to the desired temp for each of the individual beers. He’s using multiple STC-1000s. At $30 for each STC-1000 (including the wiring, and enclosure) this is still not an expensive system. It would be simple to use two controllers to chill a freezer to ferment a lager at about 50F and warm another fermenter to ferment an ale. The lager fermentation temp (about 50F) is a good serving temp for most beers.

It remains to be seen if you could insulate fermenters sufficiently to lager at 35F while still fermenting a lager at 50F and ferment an ale at 60 - 65F.

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