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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: curtdogg on August 02, 2016, 07:56:13 PM

Title: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on August 02, 2016, 07:56:13 PM
I'm just staring to look into temp control for fermentation. I have a spare mini fridge and I was thinking of getting a controller and using it for fermentation. Do you think it would work well trying to keep one five gallon batch at a controlled temp?
Or would it be non efficient and a waste of time?
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Stevie on August 02, 2016, 07:57:08 PM
As long as your fermenter fits, you will be fine.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: yso191 on August 02, 2016, 07:58:21 PM
I used one as a fermentation chamber for about a year.  The only draw-back is a lack of space.  A 6 gallon carboy will fit in it, but just.  Go for it.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on August 02, 2016, 08:09:14 PM
Thanks guys, I understand it's the difference between good homebrew and fantastic homebrew.

I dI'd see some plans online to expand so I may try that if it works well.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Joe Sr. on August 02, 2016, 09:25:42 PM
I've got a CAP fermenting in my mini-fridge right now with an STC-1000 controlling the temp.  It's my first fully automated temp control fermentation.  It's pretty sweet.  I've been ramping up the temp the last few days and it's as easy as pushing a few buttons.  We'll see if it makes better beer than the frozen bottles and water bath method, but at the least it requires less on-going monitoring.  I even left town for the weekend with no worries.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on August 02, 2016, 10:08:27 PM
I just purchased an inkbird ITC-308 plug and play controller. I found it on online for $40. I'm kind of excited to be able to lager in the future. Can't wait to try a bock or vitus clone.

Thanks for all the input.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Hand of Dom on August 03, 2016, 07:53:38 AM
Not sure what you consider a mini-fridge, but I use an under counter fridge with an Inkbird controller for fermenting in, and it works great.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on August 03, 2016, 10:03:59 PM
My mini fridge has enough room for 1 6.5 gallong carboy or a 6 gallon bucket and some bottles in the door.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: luzader1983 on October 14, 2016, 12:57:24 AM
I am currently using an Aveno Wine/Beverage fridge.  It works great with my Inkbird temp controller, but I can only fit a 5 gallon carboy unless I build a collar to extend the door out. 

I am now looking at ways to be able to ferment at different temperature; this would not be available with a chest freezer.  I want to be able to do an ale, sour, and a lager.  My solution to this so far is to build a glycol chiller, then pump the glycol into a common manifold to which I would tap lines off running to my fermentors. Those lines would then have an electrically controlled shutoff valve on each line controlled by Inkbird temp controllers. So I will need a total of three temperature controllers for a three vessel setup.  One for the glycol reservoir and the other two controlling the shutoff valves.  This project so far has only cost me $50 for the used A/C Window unit. I am using 3/4" CPVC pipe I already have for all the plumbing, then the actual fermentors I am planning on using www.gotta-brew.com water jackets.

This so far has been a very fun build but if anyone knows of a better way to do this please chime in!
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on October 14, 2016, 05:56:59 AM
wow, glycol, manifolds, multiple styles. Sounds interesting and ambitious.

I ended up returning that mini fridge and finding a small chest freezer at Best Buy on sale for $40 more.
I currently have a Maple Brown ale, Oatmeal Stout and an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale fermenting or in secondary waiting to be bottled.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Philbrew on October 14, 2016, 06:59:19 AM

I ended up returning that mini fridge and finding a small chest freezer at Best Buy on sale for $40 more.
I currently have a Maple Brown ale, Oatmeal Stout and an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Ale fermenting or in secondary waiting to be bottled.
Chest freezer is better than mini-fridge or two if you're doing all ales or all lagers at one time. 
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Werks21 on October 15, 2016, 02:09:46 AM
The STC-1000 works great however it can be frustrating to try to get the wort temp to match the set point if you are controlling the air temp in the chamber. I played around with the CA value until my set temp and wort temp matched. The actual air temp doesn't matter. Only the set temp and wort temp. Start with water to get a base line and bear in mind that during primary heat will be generated so you will have to dial the temp down a few degrees to maintain your desired temp, and adjust back up as primary slows down. take notes on what you do and when and you can get a handle on things in a few batches. Any way, hopefully that helps your initial experience with a new ferm fridge less frustrating than my own
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on October 15, 2016, 03:49:38 PM
I bought a thermo well off of ebay. this allows me to take the temp of the wort right at its core.
a very small investment and piece of mind. Since I only use the thermo well on the wort that is actively fermenting I find that the other beers being stored, aging or in secondary that are in the freezer are with 1-2 degrees of my target temp.

When I'm not fermenting I Use a one gallon container full of water and drop my probe inside to maintain my target temp in the freezer.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Werks21 on October 17, 2016, 11:43:17 PM
That is a good solution. I have considered getting a thermowell Just for the purpose of knowing wort temp for a certainty but now that I have figured things out I am less willing to spend the money. I will probably break down one day spend the money though. as it would be nice to not have to check wort temp to verify.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: bierview on October 27, 2016, 04:30:15 PM
I've got a CAP fermenting in my mini-fridge right now with an STC-1000 controlling the temp.  It's my first fully automated temp control fermentation.  It's pretty sweet.  I've been ramping up the temp the last few days and it's as easy as pushing a few buttons.  We'll see if it makes better beer than the frozen bottles and water bath method, but at the least it requires less on-going monitoring.  I even left town for the weekend with no worries.

How big is your mini fridge?  Or small is your fermenting vessel......
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: JJeffers09 on October 29, 2016, 01:02:51 PM
When I'm not fermenting I Use a one gallon container full of water and drop my probe inside to maintain my target temp in the freezer.

I have always been puzzled by this.  I think you are better off to tape a probe to the outside of a fermentation vessel.  The thought process of taking temp of a gallon of water is missing the fact that it is not active fermenting wort.  So you would be missing the temperature reading of the thermal energy put off by active fermentation that the water jug does not have.  I think you would be within a closer margin of error if you were going off of the side of the bucket.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Big Monk on October 29, 2016, 01:23:42 PM
When I'm not fermenting I Use a one gallon container full of water and drop my probe inside to maintain my target temp in the freezer.

I have always been puzzled by this.  I think you are better off to tape a probe to the outside of a fermentation vessel.  The thought process of taking temp of a gallon of water is missing the fact that it is not active fermenting wort.  So you would be missing the temperature reading of the thermal energy put off by active fermentation that the water jug does not have.  I think you would be within a closer margin of error if you were going off of the side of the bucket.

He's talking about when he's NOT fermenting. Just temperature maintenance in the chamber between fermentations.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: JJeffers09 on October 29, 2016, 01:46:52 PM
Ha, pre-coffee post there.  Sorry man... thanks Big Monk

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Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on October 30, 2016, 04:50:03 PM


Ha, pre-coffee post there.  Sorry man... thanks Big Monk

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Speaking of coffee, I cracked a bottle of my maple brown coffee ale last night. I added cracked espresso beans in secondary for 2 days.
The head was virtually non existent and any sign of foam dissipated quickly. I let my glass sit for a while to warm and the alcohol seemed to separate from the beer.
Should I attribute this to the oils in the coffee? (http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161030/737b7bb2ab77b1cc4471b65a9cec9cec.jpg)


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Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: Stevie on October 30, 2016, 04:57:09 PM
Likely. This is one reason to use a paper filter. I typically use cold brewed coffee, but head retention was much better the one time I filtered. It too way too long to filter, so I just deal with it.
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: f.stepanski on November 04, 2016, 04:56:15 PM
I added a wood collar to my mini fridge, added insulation board to the inside.  Also installed one of those amphibian heating mats to the fridge wall; this allows me to use the fridge to bring temp down & the heating mat to raise temp. 

I attached my temp controller probe to the exterior of my carboy.  I don't necessarily care about the exact "internal" temperature, I just want to have repeat-ability..  Let's say I made a really great IPA, and during fermentation I set the temp controller to 65 degrees.  Long as I brew the same recipe again, follow the exact procedure, attach the probe to the carboy outside (as before) set my temp controller to 65 degrees the fermentation profile should match that of batch one..   
Title: Re: Fermentation temperature control.
Post by: curtdogg on November 04, 2016, 05:10:15 PM
I added a wood collar to my mini fridge, added insulation board to the inside.  Also installed one of those amphibian heating mats to the fridge wall; this allows me to use the fridge to bring temp down & the heating mat to raise temp. 

I attached my temp controller probe to the exterior of my carboy.  I don't necessarily care about the exact "internal" temperature, I just want to have repeat-ability..  Let's say I made a really great IPA, and during fermentation I set the temp controller to 65 degrees.  Long as I brew the same recipe again, follow the exact procedure, attach the probe to the carboy outside (as before) set my temp controller to 65 degrees the fermentation profile should match that of batch one..   
Sounds logical.


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