Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Temp controlled heating

i plan to ferment both ales and lagers in my basement this year. as the ambient temp will likely be in the upper 40s to low 50s, i am planning on obtaining a heating mechanism of some type. because i wont be conducting fermentation inside of a refrigerator/chamber of any type what do you think i should be using as a heating source? i have research some and seen a multitude of options including a heating belt, reptile wrap, a electric blanket, and an actual heating pad (the brew pad that you place the carboy on top of).

i have a johnson digital temp controller that i will be using with this. that said, what have you all found to be the best option of those above?

I am just using an incandescent bulb in a cheap fixture…seems to work well.

It is my understanding that the light from an incandescent doesn’t contain enough UV rays to effect the beer.

are you using it inside of some sort of chamber though (refrig, box, etc?)

I think you need to consider the chamber. It will be a battle to maintain any consistant temp with out. Something as simple as some 1.5-2 in pink foam board insulation taped together. 1 4x8 sheet make a box big enough for 2 carboys.

From there, a ceramic space heater works great.

http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HZ-315-Quick-Ceramic-Heater/dp/B0006I9WHS

I agree, even a large cardboard box would work.

Sorry, I didn’t pick up that you didn’t have a chamber…my reading skills are lacking today, obviously… :oops:

I am using a $75 CL chest freezer…

Before I got the freezer, I had decent luck with a large cooler half full of water and an aquarium heater…but I was only trying to bring it up about 5º

I have a old refrigerator in my garage that doesn’t work that I use. I put a small lamp inside with the fermentor, I use eather a 15w or 45w bulb if it is real cold in my garage. That system works great for me in the winter. I also cover the fermentor with a old shirt or somthing like that. If it starts to get to warm inside of the fridge I prop the door open a little.

Good Luck,
jazzman

[quote=“Nighthawk”]I think you need to consider the chamber. It will be a battle to maintain any consistant temp with out. Something as simple as some 1.5-2 in pink foam board insulation taped together. 1 4x8 sheet make a box big enough for 2 carboys.

From there, a ceramic space heater works great.

http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HZ-315-Quick-Ceramic-Heater/dp/B0006I9WHS
[/quote]

This is the route that I think I am going to go with. I really would love to have the double temp controller. have the chest freezer in one and the ceramic heater inside as well. Then I would have totally controller with temperature raising and falling.

[quote=“jazzman”]I have a old refrigerator in my garage that doesn’t work that I use. I put a small lamp inside with the fermentor, I use eather a 15w or 45w bulb if it is real cold in my garage. That system works great for me in the winter. I also cover the fermentor with a old shirt or somthing like that. If it starts to get to warm inside of the fridge I prop the door open a little.

Good Luck,
jazzman[/quote]

Do you have this on any type of temp controller?

560sdl,
No, I don’t have a controller on this refrigerator, in fact there isn’t any electricity going to it. I just have that small lamp plugged into a ext. cord and use the different size bulbs to make heat inside of it. In the warmer weather I use frozen Eco Gel ice refrigerant packs to keep it cool. I have a couple small buckets I put the frozen ice pack in and when they thaw out I put them in a freezer setting next to the old refrigerator to refreeze them. In the real hot weather it don’t work to good, but for brewing in the cold weather it works great using the lamp. I have fermenited a lot of beer in that old thing over the years. My wife wanted to get rid of it when we moved to the country and I said no way that is going with use, that thing is like a old brewing buddy.

Hope this helps,
jazzman

I found a water bed heater at a yard sale that would go as low as 60F and has its own thermostat. Most of the new ones only go down to 70F.

Baratone Brewer,
That water bed heater is a good idea. I have got one of them around here somewere packed away in a box. I never thought about using that bed heater that way. My wife and I sleep on a water bed for about 20 years, I loved that old bed. When the last mattress went bad we moved the frame to another bedroom and put a regular queen size mattress on it and we bought another bed. When we moved down here I kept that heater for some reason. I’m going to have to look for it and check the thermostat out. That is a better idea that the lamp. Thanks for the idea.

Cheers, jazzman

I have used a reverse swamp cooler. It was for a Berliner Weisse. I placed the fermenter in a big sink of water and raised the temperature to 110F with a bucket heater and controlled it with a thermostat.

I use a temp controller, thermowell to hold the probe, and Fermwrap heater taped inside my fridge temp chamber, and like it very well. If temp gets too warm once exothermic heat is created from fermenting beer, I prop the door open a bit in the cool basement, or use a dual stage temp controller if I won’t be around to monitor temps.

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/elec ... eater.html

It sounds like I am doing something along the same lines as everyone else. I have a chest freezer with temp contolled cooling. I just dangle a shop light into the freezer to heat and then I use the temp controller to maintain the internal temps where I want them. I will probably do some lagers this winter, because it seems like it would be less of a strain on the freezer to keep temps around 50 and then 33, instead of 66.

So you continue to have your temp controller on the cooling cycle but put a light inside as a heater?

I am trying to figure this out as I have a glass door refrigerator in the garage and need to come up with something once things get cold. I too and thinking of moving to lagers for a while till I get this figured out.

This is the first time I have ever tried it. My garage is in the upper 50s right now, but not consistent during the day. Instead of changing the settings on my Johnson controller to heat, I leave it set to cool at 65 and then drop the light in there and the temp controller will control the temps that way.

If I just put the light in there, then I would probably be in the upper 70s or 80s. I don’t know what watt the lightbulb is that is in there, but it puts off a pretty good amount of heat. Everything seems to be working pretty well so far.

[quote=“Taboot”]This is the first time I have ever tried it. My garage is in the upper 50s right now, but not consistent during the day. Instead of changing the settings on my Johnson controller to heat, I leave it set to cool at 65 and then drop the light in there and the temp controller will control the temps that way.

If I just put the light in there, then I would probably be in the upper 70s or 80s. I don’t know what watt the lightbulb is that is in there, but it puts off a pretty good amount of heat. Everything seems to be working pretty well so far.[/quote]

That is genuis. I didn’t think about that. Just keep a cermaic heater on all the time and have the freezer keep it from getting too hot.

I can’t claim the credit for the idea. I read about it at some point on a forum and I managed to remember it while I was brewing this past weekend and couldn’t figure out how I was going to maintain temps.

I should probably also say that I ferment in buckets, so they aren’t light permeable, so if you are using carboys, then just cover it with a towel or t-shirt.

I’ve had to figure the same thing out recently. This summer, the ambient temps at the cabin stayed nailed at 68, which was a dream. Now that temps are dropping at altitude, I can only rely on 55. Not perfect for ales.

Great for Lagering, though!

Anyway, I’ve had a good amount of luck with using aquarium heaters in a water-filled bin holding the carboys. Heaters were around 30 bucks apeice (in Tahoe - probably cheaper online). Temps are pretty stable at 68-70.

I was actually a bit shocked that this worked so well. Not sure why, honestly. If it didn’t work, fish would be dropping dead left and right.

Regardless, affordable, and and effective.

FT

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com