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Contained heating space for conical fermenter


Just threw this together to help keep the temperature up (85° and higher) for a new Saison with WLP565 yeast.  It's comprised of two collapsible "pop-up" trash/yard waste cans (found @ Target), a space heater, and a Ranco digital controller:

The bottom "can" is narrower (19" dia.) than the top one, but the legs of the conical just fit.  The top can lowers down over the whole thing.  It's 22" in diameter.  The space heater sits on the floor, plugged into a Ranco controller.  Thermowell for the Ranco sensor inserts in a hold drilled in the top of a Plexiglas lid I made for the conical.  Visit the photobucket Album to see a couple other shots:

Instead of an airlock, I have a blowoff hose that feeds through the gap between the top and bottom cans, and into a bucket.

Spousal Unit made some distressed noise about the risk of fire, which I countered with some Male Pattern Deafness.  I had thought about it, though.  The space heater is plastic, so how hot can it really get anyway?  Plus it doesn't touch anything.  Heat and fan are set to mid-range settings.  It has a shut-off if it tips over.  And if something went FUBAR and overheated, the excess heat can get out through the substantial gap between the top and bottom trash cans.  The top can still contains the heat around the conical, and increased the wort temp from pitching (82°) to 85 in about two hours.

Jimmy K:
They have high heat shutoffs too. I'd have guessed that it would overheat and you'd be constantly resetting it.  Where is your probe?

Working perfectly after 3 days.  The probe is inside the wort in a thermowell.  Basement temp is about 70°.  Got fermenter at 89°, probably add another degree or two tomorrow, then hold a week. Yeast still putting out nicely.

Steve, did you start the yeast in the 60s?  I have found that I get the best results with WLP565 when I pitch low let it go by itself for a week (gravity around 1.010-1.012) and then raise the temps up to the mid 80s for a couple of days or until it gets below 1.005.  It's a tricky yeast.

Hi, Jim.  No, I generally pitch this yeast at or around 80°, let it rise on its own for a few days, then keep it up there (artificially if necessary) for at least a week.  Made a bunch of Saisons with it this way and have had good success so far.  My current process with this yeast is based on the pretty detailed description of Brasserie Dupont's process in Farmhouse Ales.    Seems to work well for me.

p.s. The book's description of the "rising temperature mash" they use has also worked well.


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