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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: roguejim on October 27, 2015, 12:57:49 pm

Title: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: roguejim on October 27, 2015, 12:57:49 pm
Day-afternoon temps have been in mid-60s; night temps in mid-40s.  Shop is uninsulated, and currently at 58F, outside air temp, 53F.  Supposedly, temps will hit 68F by this afternoon.

I have a side-by-side refr/freezer that holds 2 carboys, stacked, on the fridge side.  I use a Johnson thermostat/controller to maintain ale/lager temps in Summer.  Since temps are dropping at night, I'm thinking of hanging an incandescent (halogen, maybe?) light bulb inside to keep it warm.  What watt bulb would you guess would suffice?
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: toby on October 27, 2015, 01:10:53 pm
You should look into the reptile heating options.  They make bulbs and heating cords for terrariums that are made to operate in a wet environment.  I use a ReptiHeat cable which is made to heat, but not get hot to the touch (so it's plastic safe).
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: narcout on October 27, 2015, 01:40:34 pm
I've never tried using a light bulb, but this this stuff works pretty well:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/electric-fermentation-heater

You can tape it to the inside of the refrigerator so that it heats the whole space up rather than wrapping it around just one carboy.

Is your temperature controller dual stage?
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Pinski on October 27, 2015, 02:48:24 pm
I have one of the ceramic reptile lamps with the metal "safety cage" around it.  I place the safety cage on a pyrex pie pan that fits perfectly onto the condenser box in my fermentation freezer. I works great and has consistently for a couple years now.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: ynotbrusum on October 27, 2015, 07:50:43 pm
I don't like to use a bulb, but I have (on a separate thermostat) and then I face it away from the beer to minimize heat intensity and to help screen light (my fermenters are buckets or plastic Speidels).  About a 40 watt incandescent will be plenty.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: roguejim on October 27, 2015, 08:30:12 pm
I've never tried using a light bulb, but this this stuff works pretty well:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/electric-fermentation-heater

You can tape it to the inside of the refrigerator so that it heats the whole space up rather than wrapping it around just one carboy.

Is your temperature controller dual stage?

No.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: roguejim on October 27, 2015, 08:31:12 pm
I have one of the ceramic reptile lamps with the metal "safety cage" around it.  I place the safety cage on a pyrex pie pan that fits perfectly onto the condenser box in my fermentation freezer. I works great and has consistently for a couple years now.

How do you control the temp?
Title: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Stevie on October 27, 2015, 09:03:02 pm
Two stage controller. You could also get a separate single stage controller. If the temp is low enough you could also switch an existing controller to heat.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Pinski on October 28, 2015, 08:33:58 am
I have one of the ceramic reptile lamps with the metal "safety cage" around it.  I place the safety cage on a pyrex pie pan that fits perfectly onto the condenser box in my fermentation freezer. I works great and has consistently for a couple years now.

How do you control the temp?

As Steve mentioned, two stage Ranco controller is what I use.

Somebody else mentioned light as an issue with the reptile "lamps".  The one I have is a black ceramic bulb that emits no light. To minimize radiant heat intensity on the fermenters I set the lamp cage in a pyrex pie plate which also holds the lamp securely out of the way on the condenser shelf.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Stevie on October 28, 2015, 08:47:51 am
I use a ceramic type. Infrared only
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 28, 2015, 10:52:50 am
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Stevie on October 28, 2015, 10:56:17 am

I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
Some of us can't no matter what the season. North Texas for instance can be 80° from April-October
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Pinski on October 28, 2015, 11:02:49 am
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.

I ferment with the seasons too, but its more about style preferences at certain times of year.
Do you not regulate temperature?
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: toby on October 28, 2015, 12:38:17 pm
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
If I waited for the seasons to brew, I would be brewing belgian saisons 10 months out of the year, and fruity ales the other 2 on the average year.  ;)
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: dilluh98 on October 28, 2015, 03:17:06 pm
I guess that I am the last brewer standing who ferments with the seasons.
If I waited for the seasons to brew, I would be brewing belgian saisons 10 months out of the year, and fruity ales the other 2 on the average year.  ;)

Central TX here. I feel I'd be lucky to even get drinkable fruity ales in that 2 month window.  ;) I suspect we'll still be hitting some 90s in November...
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: toby on October 28, 2015, 03:28:30 pm
Central TX here. I feel I'd be lucky to even get drinkable fruity ales in that 2 month window.  ;) I suspect we'll still be hitting some 90s in November...

Most years in south Louisiana, the cool months are January and February.  It's still not unusual to have nights where the heater runs followed by days where the AC is needed.  That's why my thermostat has an auto setting.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: S. cerevisiae on October 28, 2015, 10:18:20 pm
Do you not regulate temperature?

Even today, I use no attemperation during the cool months.  I have always fermented in an unfinished basement.  A basement does not change temperature rapidly.  I never used to brew during the warm months, so lack of attemperation was not a problem.  I used to start fermenting English-style ales in mid-September.  By November, my basement was cold enough to switch over to brewing hybrids.  Late December through February was lager time.  In March, I brewed hybrids.  By April, I was back to English-style ale, and if I brewed into late May, I would usually brew a five-gallon batch of American-style Wit with malted barely, malted wheat, Tettnanger kettle hops,  sweet orange peel, coriander, and BRY 96.   I enjoy brewing with the seasons even though I have a fermentation chamber today (cooling only).

Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: majorvices on October 29, 2015, 06:14:55 am
Do yourself a favor and either get a dual stage controller or a separate controller to control a heated wrap like this one here - http://www.bigappleherp.com/Flex-Watt-Heat-Tape

I ferment 1 bbl batches in a cold room set to 35 degrees wrapped with this style heat wrap and can raise the temp all the way up to 80+ if I want.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: toby on October 29, 2015, 07:35:25 am
Do yourself a favor and either get a dual stage controller or a separate controller to control a heated wrap like this one here - http://www.bigappleherp.com/Flex-Watt-Heat-Tape

I ferment 1 bbl batches in a cold room set to 35 degrees wrapped with this style heat wrap and can raise the temp all the way up to 80+ if I want.

Conical?  That heat tape looks cool.
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: majorvices on October 29, 2015, 07:37:49 am
Do yourself a favor and either get a dual stage controller or a separate controller to control a heated wrap like this one here - http://www.bigappleherp.com/Flex-Watt-Heat-Tape

I ferment 1 bbl batches in a cold room set to 35 degrees wrapped with this style heat wrap and can raise the temp all the way up to 80+ if I want.

Conical?  That heat tape looks cool.

Well, to be clear I use Spiedels for 1 bbl fermentation but back when we were a 3 bbl brewery I used plastic conicals with the same tape and insulation and could control 90+ gallons of beer temp the same way!
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: toby on October 29, 2015, 07:40:56 am
Thanks for the info!
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: majorvices on October 29, 2015, 08:01:05 am
That first link was just a quick google search and then I remembered that I used to buy from these guys. The price may be better.

http://www.reptilebasics.com/12-heat-tape
Title: Re: Heating a fridge in cold shop...Will this work?
Post by: Pinski on October 29, 2015, 08:48:39 am
Do you not regulate temperature?

Even today, I use no attemperation during the cool months.  I have always fermented in an unfinished basement.  A basement does not change temperature rapidly.  I never used to brew during the warm months, so lack of attemperation was not a problem.  I used to start fermenting English-style ales in mid-September.  By November, my basement was cold enough to switch over to brewing hybrids.  Late December through February was lager time.  In March, I brewed hybrids.  By April, I was back to English-style ale, and if I brewed into late May, I would usually brew a five-gallon batch of American-style Wit with malted barely, malted wheat, Tettnanger kettle hops,  sweet orange peel, coriander, and BRY 96.   I enjoy brewing with the seasons even though I have a fermentation chamber today (cooling only).

Very cool, I would love to have the steady temperature benefits of a basement. In the Pacific NW, and specifically the Willamette Valley our seasons are pretty darn temperate so we don't tend to get huge daily variation. While it gets "hot" in July & August, we don't really have to worry about extended periods of freezing temps.  My 14 gallon conical ends up being my "seasonal" fermenter as it's too big to fit into my fermentation chamber and I presently only have the ability to add heat for regulation purpose.