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Higher Fermentation Temp Needed

My basement is a little too cool to ferment at ale temps when winter rolls around, generally hovering around 55F. I’m trying to figure out what to do about raising the temps of beer that I’m fermenting.

I’m thinking my two options are a fermentation heater or brew belt with a temp controller or making a small chamber heated with a lizard bulb or heating pad…probably in conjunction with the same temp controller.

Anyone have any opinions on those two options or lessons learned?

I would build a box from pink foam board and use a ceramic heater
http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11967764
. 1/2 sheet should make a box for 1 carboy/pail. I have a box made from a full sheet that will hold 2 carboys.

here is post on a inexpensive ebay controller.

viewtopic.php?p=943223#p943649

Heating pad and a heavy coat works surprisingly well.
Sometimes it helps just to get your fermenter off the cold floor.

[quote=“BradleyRd.Brewer”]My basement is a little too cool to ferment at ale temps when winter rolls around, generally hovering around 55F. I’m trying to figure out what to do about raising the temps of beer that I’m fermenting.

I’m thinking my two options are a fermentation heater or brew belt with a temp controller or making a small chamber heated with a lizard bulb or heating pad…probably in conjunction with the same temp controller.

Anyone have any opinions on those two options or lessons learned?[/quote]

There are some ale yeasts that will work down to 55 or so and some lager yeasts would work depending on what you are brewing.
I always try to find the easiest answer to any problem. My brew room is not quite that cool, but I used a different yeast than usual on my last batch because of the temperature and it worked out well.

Some of the scottish ale yeasts work just fine at 55, I usually make a couple of those in the fall when my garage is around that temp, then lagers in the winter. there are a few beers you can make (Biere de Mars?) with lager yeast at 55 or so as well.

I guess I didn’t realize that Scottish ales could go that low.

I’ve got a temp controlled freezer for lagering, so I’m good to go there. It just happens to be in a lagering stage right now, so I guess I could do a primary at 55F, but I’m considering a couple of ales right now.

much easier-- put the fermenter in a water bath, either in a cooler or just a rubbermaid. Stick a 50W fishtank heater (under $20) and set it to the exact temp you want. I can’t imagine there is an easier, more effective, or more economical solution, unless you need to do this for many fermenters or have a conical.

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