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Stop gap measures awaiting Northern Brewer

I ordered Northern Brewer’s “Firm Wrap” for my refridgerator. The weather here in the PNW turned unseasonably cool last week. The shipment is due here by next Friday. I had to improvise for my 10 gal. batch of Ranger Clone IPA.

Necessity being the mother of invention, I grabbed my Hoffbrau Haus Growler, filled it with water, and plunged an aquarium heater into it. First setting of 78 deg. F. got the fridge box up to 60-61F. I need 65F so I unplugged it, waited a half hour, and then pulled it out of the growler, and ratcheted up the temp. to the low 80’s F. I think I can keep the Fridge box on the mark with this satellite lash up. There is no direct contact with my wort, but the growler’s walls are warm to the touch. And there’s no light to interfere with the wort.

There was no way I was going to order any pads to go underneath this old 13 gal. carboy. With about twelve gallons inside, its much too heavy to just lift it off the plywood platform I built in my 15 C.F. Fridge, and set down a heating pad. The Firm Wrap isn’t on the online catalog, but they still stock it. It doesn’t have any timer, but I can wire it to my Digital External Johnson Controller that I bought to run the Fridge, itself.

When I get the Firm Wrap taped to the carboy, and wired into the controller, I’ll pass off the 50 Watt aquarium heater to my daughter, for her aquarium. Its not in any wort or chem solution. The growler is just filled with tap water. Fortunately, there’s a pet supply store next door to our Radio Shack, here. Radio Shack didn’t have anything, but sent me next door to buy some kind of pet warming device. I had the brown glass growler, and the 50 Watt submersible heater was $20 plus some tax. This model has a rubber guard on the bottom, so I just slipped it down into the water filled brown glass jug.

I think that this temporary solution of using two disconnected water vessels to maintain a constant temperature in my Fridge box, as the wort ferments in the larger one, is unique, to my knowledge. These little submersible heaters have very precise thermometer controllers. For a two liter Hoffbrau Haus style growler, a 50 Watt number was recommended by the Pet Store clerk.

[quote=“carpooler”]I ordered Northern Brewer’s “Firm Wrap” for my refridgerator. The weather here in the PNW turned unseasonably cool last week. The shipment is due here by next Friday. I had to improvise for my 10 gal. batch of Ranger Clone IPA.

Necessity being the mother of invention, I grabbed my Hoffbrau Haus Growler, filled it with water, and plunged an aquarium heater into it. First setting of 78 deg. F. got the fridge box up to 60-61F. I need 65F so I unplugged it, waited a half hour, and then pulled it out of the growler, and ratcheted up the temp. to the low 80’s F. I think I can keep the Fridge box on the mark with this satellite lash up. There is no direct contact with my wort, but the growler’s walls are warm to the touch. And there’s no light to interfere with the wort.

There was no way I was going to order any pads to go underneath this old 13 gal. carboy. With about twelve gallons inside, its much too heavy to just lift it off the plywood platform I built in my 15 C.F. Fridge, and set down a heating pad. The Firm Wrap isn’t on the online catalog, but they still stock it. It doesn’t have any timer, but I can wire it to my Digital External Johnson Controller that I bought to run the Fridge, itself.

When I get the Firm Wrap taped to the carboy, and wired into the controller, I’ll pass off the 50 Watt aquarium heater to my daughter, for her aquarium. Its not in any wort or chem solution. The growler is just filled with tap water. Fortunately, there’s a pet supply store next door to our Radio Shack, here. Radio Shack didn’t have anything, but sent me next door to buy some kind of pet warming device. I had the brown glass growler, and the 50 Watt submersible heater was $20 plus some tax. This model has a rubber guard on the bottom, so I just slipped it down into the water filled brown glass jug.

I think that this temporary solution of using two disconnected water vessels to maintain a constant temperature in my Fridge box, as the wort ferments in the larger one, is unique, to my knowledge. These little submersible heaters have very precise thermometer controllers. For a two liter Hoffbrau Haus style growler, a 50 Watt number was recommended by the Pet Store clerk.[/quote]

I’m using a “pet warming device” just like firm wrap and a temp controller. It’s Heat Tape and people put them under 1/2 of aquariums to create a warm reptile zone. You can cut it to the length you want and I just put it against one side in my 7.2 cf freezer and let the carboy/co2 tank support it. http://www.reptilebasics.com/heat-tape

I thought I saw on a BrewingTV episode for Saisons that they put the carboy into a bigger bucket with water in it (like a water bath/water jacket), and used an aquarium heater (with its thermostat) in the water bath to regulate up the temp. Seemed like at the time the temp in the house was in the low 60’s, and they got the beer way up into the 80’s that way. Might be worth tracking down that episode.

It took two men and a boy to get that wort filled 13 gallon Carboy into the fridge, in the first place. Taking it up or out to put a heater under it isn’t going to happen. I did get a UPS delivery with the firm wrap, late today.

But the point I was making is that in an insulated fridge box, with the refer unit turned off, a sympathetic, satellite growler of only 2 liters of water, can be heated up to keep everything up to my twelve gallons of wort in my big heavy carboy, within two degrees of the ideal 65 F… As my fermentation picked up, that also added some heat into this closed system. Our mid day temps are only reaching the low sixties F. Nightly temps are dropping into the mid 50’s F, or maybe a bit lower, in the wee hours.

Tomorrow when it warms up in the afternoon, I’ll instal my “Firm Wrap” around my Carboy, and wire it into my Johnson Digital controller. Northern Brewer techs say that it will only go half way around this big bad boy. But that with the timer on, it will transfer plenty of heat into the wort, to finish off my fermentation cycle.

I wimped out. I looked carefully at my three thermometers inside of my Fridge, including the strip one on the side of my 13 gal. Carboy. I found that my stop gap satellite 2 L. Hoffbrau House styled Growler, with the 50 watt aquarium heating unit, submerged in tap water was holding things so close to my 65 F. target , that the firm wrap is going to wait until after this batch ferments out. Part of this is because the firm wrap is using 110v AC juice.

I’ll take my time and get it applied exactly correct. This seems to be pretty close to the two nails, through a board, hooked up to line voltage which we used to cook hot dogs with. I would have been more happy with a five or ten volt resistor grid. A firm wrap mod similar to my Ford’s rear window defroster would seem to be safer.

I don’t have to touch the aquarium heater, while its inside of the water filled growler. In fact, you must unplug it for 15 minutes before removing it from the water to adjust the twist cap control at the top.

Even then, you merely pull it out by its insulated line cord.

I like my $30 ceramic space heater from a local store hooked to a temp controller. While not in the brewery it does duty in the bathroom in the mornings.

Of course, you can always have 2 of them.

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