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Temperature control

I have been brewing for a little while now and make pretty good beer. The only thing I dont have down pat is fermentation temperature. I use a swamp cooler in warm weather and bring the beer inside where the temp is around 60 all the time for cold weather. I brew only Ales so far so this works out. However, I’d like to be controlling my temp as precisely as possible and got to wondering what kind of set ups people on this forum have.

So basically if anyone would like to share how they control fermentation for me to model after, Id be grateful.

Get a mini fridge, like for a dorm room or a chest freezer. Buy a Johnson temperature controller and you’re good to go. I bought a used mini fridge off of craigs list, but new they aren’t very expensive. Just make sure it’s one that does NOT have a freezer, because that restricts your space. I also had to remove the plastic panel from the inside of the door to get my fermentor to fit, but it wasn’t difficult.

Fridge $50
Johnson temp control $75

Properly controlled temps $125!

This will also allow you to lager! And none of that faux lager stuff. Actual cold fermented, cold conditioned lager. You won’t be disappointed.

1 Like

Fermentation Box with a RANCO Controller and a 5250 BTU AC unit. Cheers!!!

[quote=“hamiltont”]Fermentation Box with a RANCO Controller and a 5250 BTU AC unit. Cheers!!!

[/quote]

Awesome! Much higher price range than what I have going and I assume a lot more than the OP was looking for… but again AWESOME!

Great! I have been looking for a fridge on craigslist but there arent any without a freezer in my area right now. Ill keep looking. THats definitely the best option for me right now with the space and money I have.

Yeah, finding one without the freezer is key. You’ll already lose some space from the hump in the back/bottom of the fridge. The guts of the fridge are in there.

I can fit a 6.5gallon bucket or a 6gallon better bottle in my fridge with plenty of room for the airlock or a blowoff hose. But I can only fit one. Wish I could fit 2 :frowning:

I have a small 7 cuft chest freezer with controller, lets me ferment a lager in bucket/carboy at the same time I’m serving two ales from keg at 50F. Plus theres room for bottled beer on the compressor hump at one end.

I don’t have a pic of mine but here it is basically,
Took a 10 gal round cooler, remove the entire valve,
drill a hole in the lid for the neck of the carboy to stick out.
Drill another 1/2" hole, 1/2" away from the neck hole.
Put brew hauler on 6.5 glass, drop into cooler, put lid on.
Place 10 gal cooler on top of 28 qt cooler so that water running out of valveless hole falls into 28 qt cooler.
Little pump with 3/8 tubing goes into 28 qt cooler, other end goes to 1/2" hole in lid.
A419 with thermowell switches pump and pumps whatever temp water I put in the 28 qt.

Also plan on garage lagering with this, I can fit a 6 glass and heating pad in it. 6.5 and pad won’t.

I’m getting a fridge up and running now, but eventually want to get a chest freezer so i can do more brews at once. Current fridge is only going to allow two at once. 3 and a keg would be nice.

Anyone use a wine cooler for a fermintation chamber? I was thinkin one could pick one up at a reasonable price on CL…just a thought I have been considering. :idea:

Just get a regular fridge on Craiglist w/freezer. I have one with a heating pad and two stage Ranco. Always within a degree of my chosen ferment temp.

Less expensive digital controller.

viewtopic.php?p=943223#p943223

[quote=“Nighthawk”]Less expensive digital controller.

viewtopic.php?p=943223#p943223[/quote]

Yup…that’s the way to go… :cheers:

Mine is similar to Hamiltont’s setup. I use the room under the basement stairs. I put a 5000 BTU window AC unit ($99) in it and then took the temp conrol probe out and strapped it to a night light bulb. Plugged that into a Johnson temp controller ($58) and use the controller to dial in the temp. I can hold anything between 34F and 68F. I keep a pipeline of about 90 gallons in there fermenting plus all of my cellared beer.

I’ve got a craigslist full size fridge with freezer controlled by the “less expensive digital controller” I like it because it auto-cycles between heating and cooling modes, which is a necessity when since I keep the fridge out in the garage. To heat I use a light bulb.

I just want to say, you guys are amazing. Those setups are so cool.

MullerBrau: can you clarify the night light bulb’s purpose in your setup?

Awesome setup. Envious…very envious!

[quote=“TeamTuna06”]MullerBrau: can you clarify the night light bulb’s purpose in your setup?

Awesome setup. Envious…very envious![/quote]The night light bulb merely generates a bit of heat (when turned on by the Johnson temp controller) which warms up the temp probe wire fom the AC unit. I pulled the probe out of the airflow and slipped it outside of the AC screen (faceplate). Without the light bulb, the AC unit will go no lower that its lowest set point of 62F.

Does that make sense? Maybe I should put a demo video on yotube???

EDIT: Look at the last two pictures on page one and see the temp probe attached to the light bulb. Also note the temperature that the AC unit thinks it is in the room. That should help.

[quote=“MullerBrau”][quote=“TeamTuna06”]MullerBrau: can you clarify the night light bulb’s purpose in your setup?

Awesome setup. Envious…very envious![/quote]The night light bulb merely generates a bit of heat (when turned on by the Johnson temp controller) which warms up the temp probe wire fom the AC unit. I pulled the probe out of the airflow and slipped it outside of the AC screen (faceplate). Without the light bulb, the AC unit will go no lower that its lowest set point of 62F.

Does that make sense? Maybe I should put a demo video on yotube???

EDIT: Look at the last two pictures on page one and see the temp probe attached to the light bulb. Also note the temperature that the AC unit thinks it is in the room. That should help.[/quote]

I thought I should add just a bit more. The reason Greg is doing it this way is because he is using a digital/remote Air Conditioner. Because of that he needs to have it powered on all the time and uses the temp controller to manage the light bulb. Hence, when the temp hits it’s upper limit in the room the bulb comes on, heats up the Air Conditioner sensor and causes it to run. Genius!!! With my application I used a analog/manual Air Conditioner so the settings remain static even after power loss so I use the temp controller to power the Air Conditioner on and off. I rerouted the Air Conditioner’s sensor that shuts it off @ 62F to the outside of the unit so it’s sensing the temp outside the Fermentation Box rather than inside. Without doing this it would shut off at 62F. By rerouting it I’m able to go much lower. I tested it at 32F and it worked fine. Haven’t tried any lower because, well, I don’t need it any lower. I hope this helps some. Cheers, and Happy Brewing!!!

Well said; thanks Hamiltont. I wondered how you were getting around that 62F issue and now I know. Thanks.

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