Author Topic: Fermentation Control  (Read 881 times)

Offline mattybrass

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Fermentation Control
« on: July 03, 2014, 03:39:56 PM »
Hey guys,

I've reached the point in my brewing career where I'm starting to upgrade my equipment and its come time to look at controlling my fermentation temps.

I have a fridge that i lager in now, top temp is 52 F, lowest is 36 F which is perfect for lagering, i could also use it for ales if i put a controller on it (its in my basement which is currently 72 F). In the winter i could add some sort of heating device to it to keep it warm.

Do you think i should;

stick to the fridge i have and throw a controller on it.

get a freezer with controller

build a small chamber using a mini fridge/heating device to control the temp.

Thanks!

Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2014, 04:27:06 PM »
I would add a controller to the existing fridge if it is working for you. If you have the extra money to spend, go with a big freezer.

Offline Jimmy K

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 04:40:57 PM »
Get a temperature controller. If you want more space later, get a freezer and use the controller you already have.
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Offline mattybrass

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2014, 03:50:07 PM »
I think ill go the temp controller route.

Now, should i buy another johnson or build a STC-1000 than can control the fridge and a heating device?

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2014, 04:29:51 PM »
I think ill go the temp controller route.

Now, should i buy another johnson or build a STC-1000 than can control the fridge and a heating device?

I asked the same question here...https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=19737.0 .  I decided on a Ranco, although I haven't used it yet.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2014, 05:02:03 PM »
I think ill go the temp controller route.

Now, should i buy another johnson or build a STC-1000 than can control the fridge and a heating device?


I went with the STC because I am cheap and feel confident in my wiring abilities. I rarely use the heater portion, but it is nice to have. $40 in parts and an hour worth of time.

Offline mattybrass

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2014, 03:58:33 AM »

I think ill go the temp controller route.

Now, should i buy another johnson or build a STC-1000 than can control the fridge and a heating device?

I asked the same question here...https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=19737.0 .  I decided on a Ranco, although I haven't used it yet.

Denny,

I saw you ended up wiring it yourself to save what looked like quite a bit of money. Do you have a link to the one you purchased?


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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2014, 01:47:20 PM »
You're only controlling one ferment at a time, so a small fridge that fits a bucket/carboy is ideal. Check Craigslist - plenty out there.

I just built a STC-1000 controller, and its kind of a PITA. I'm an engineer, and I've built my fair share of control panels/components, so it was more of a challenge for me. If you go this route, I can help ya out.

I started with a pre-wired Ranco 2-stage controller, and I recommend it to all homebrewers. I still use it instead of the STC. I have trouble nailing temps without heating AND cooling, especially when ramping up temps. YMMV.

http://morebeer.com/products/ranco-digital-twostage-temperature-controller-wired.html?site_id=5
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2014, 02:41:11 PM »
As long as you are happy only going to 36F to lager then there's no reason to move away from your fridge. Just buy a temperature controller. I have the Johnson Control A419 and it works very well. It switches from cold to heat control by opening the box with four screws and moving a pin inside. Very easy. You can spend less if you feel comfortable wiring the controller yourself. I don't so I bought a plug and play device. To heat that up in the winter I use a heat wrap that is similar to fermwrap but designs for reptile tanks. It's cheaper and seems more durable than fermwrap or the old brewbelt.
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2014, 03:19:10 PM »

Denny,

I saw you ended up wiring it yourself to save what looked like quite a bit of money. Do you have a link to the one you purchased?


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I got this one...http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015NV5BE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 .  Very easy to wire.  I used these instructions...http://www.instructables.com/id/Wiring-a-RANCO-ETC-111000-000-Digital-Temperature-/?ALLSTEPS
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Offline mattybrass

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Re: Fermentation Control
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2014, 01:57:46 PM »

Denny,

I saw you ended up wiring it yourself to save what looked like quite a bit of money. Do you have a link to the one you purchased?


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I got this one...http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015NV5BE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 .  Very easy to wire.  I used these instructions...http://www.instructables.com/id/Wiring-a-RANCO-ETC-111000-000-Digital-Temperature-/?ALLSTEPS

Thanks Denny,

I assume i would just switch the plug from the fridge to a heating source if i wanted to heat the fridge in the winter and reconfigure the temp settings