Author Topic: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber  (Read 645 times)

Offline Lazy Ant Brewing

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Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« on: April 24, 2018, 05:47:11 PM »
I'm using a 21-cu ft. fridge located in an unheated garage  as my fermentation chamber.  I'm currently struggling to keep a 5- gal batch of saison in a plastic bucket fermenting at 72 F. 

I've tried using both a fermenter wrap with the inlaid wiring inside plastic around the bucket and an old heating pad underneath the bucket.  Neither will get the job done when the temp outside the garage is in the 30-degree F range.  The temp will stall out at about 68 F.

I've thought about brooder lights like are used in hen houses for young chicks, but I'm afraid the light would penetrate the white plastic bucket and skunk the developing brew.

On the other hand, I've just ordered a S/S fermenter so that could be a solution for future.

I'd like any suggestions (easy and  cheap preferred)  to fix the problem.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
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Offline denny

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2018, 05:52:45 PM »
I use a reptile heater lamp.  Inexpensive and very effective.
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Offline Nathan

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2018, 05:54:18 PM »
I'm using a 21-cu ft. fridge located in an unheated garage  as my fermentation chamber.  I'm currently struggling to keep a 5- gal batch of saison in a plastic bucket fermenting at 72 F. 

I've tried using both a fermenter wrap with the inlaid wiring inside plastic around the bucket and an old heating pad underneath the bucket.  Neither will get the job done when the temp outside the garage is in the 30-degree F range.  The temp will stall out at about 68 F.

I've thought about brooder lights like are used in hen houses for young chicks, but I'm afraid the light would penetrate the white plastic bucket and skunk the developing brew.

On the other hand, I've just ordered a S/S fermenter so that could be a solution for future.

I'd like any suggestions (easy and  cheap preferred)  to fix the problem.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
Small oil filled radiator type heater and an old quilt or sleeping bag for insulation


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Offline majorvices

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2018, 06:17:28 PM »
I've been using heat tape similar to these for years. They work great!

http://www.reptilebasics.com/heat-tape

Offline Bob357

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2018, 06:25:46 PM »
A 40 watt incandescent light bulb is about the least expensive and gives off plenty of heat.
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Offline jjw5015

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2018, 06:26:26 PM »
Does it need to be in the ferm chamber? Keep it in your house and add some heat to it.

Offline 802Chris

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2018, 08:18:40 PM »
Does it need to be in the ferm chamber? Keep it in your house and add some heat to it.

This is a good suggestion.


For reference, I use a 7cu ft fridge in an unheated garage, in Vermont, that routinely sees temps well below zero all winter. This is my fermentation chamber.  I use a 40W light bulb with  a SS brewtech brewbucket.  I never have issues keeping temp up towards 75 when I D rest.

Also I use a 100W ceramic heater like the reptile ones denny suggested. They are usually around $10 on amazon. I use one in my 12 cu ft chest freezer for all my kegs during winter and it works great.

Offline linda987

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2018, 08:31:32 AM »
I think you can find the equipment you need here,https://yolongbrewtech.com
beer brewing is very happy, we can make the best beer.
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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2018, 10:20:17 AM »
Why do you want it so hot?  Most ale yeasts make better beer in the 60’s.
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2018, 12:30:33 PM »
I use a 100W ceramic reptile heater.  The heater is screwed into a ceramic light socket located on the lower rear left side of my fermentation chamber (formerly a kegerator).  On the side of the light socket is a 115V receptacle where I plugged in a USB adapter.  Plugged in to the adapter is a very small fan I mounted on the upper front right side of the chamber to help stratify the heat within the chamber.  The ceramic light socket (heating side) and the cooling side of my chamber are plugged in to my Inkbird controller.  System works great!  The heating side of this system cost under $35 complete.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 12:34:55 PM by KellerBrauer »
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2018, 04:10:41 PM »
Why do you want it so hot?  Most ale yeasts make better beer in the 60’s.

He said he's brewing a saison.  They are summer beers and fermented warm.

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Offline yso191

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2018, 05:54:44 PM »
I use a hair dryer.  They are cheap, and do a good job of air circulation.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2018, 07:00:20 PM »
I like a "low mass" heat source. Things like snake rocks tend to take a while to heat up and cool down. So they hit the high mark, your controller turns it off, but since the rock stays piping hot for a while, your beer temp keeps rising, causing the cold side to kick on. Now the cooler is trying to chill the rock, and you get an overkill underkill cycle going.

I prefer a heat pad. Costs about $15 on Amazon. Quickly heats and cools off quickly. If you go this route make sure you get one that does not have the automatic cutoff safety thing, intended to protect people from falling asleep on it. With a large heat pad I can maintain 90f in my 17cf freezer so long as my shop stays above 40f. Sometimes in the winter my shop is 0f, or lower, and I can easily hold 65f.

Air circulation could be nice, but sometimes I open ferment... I just use dry-z-air or damp rid to control moisture
« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 03:17:13 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline Robert

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2018, 08:52:47 PM »
+1 and +1 on low mass and Damp Rid instead of worrying about circulation.  I get fine results from a FermWrap taped to the back wall of the chamber.  40W, simplicity itself.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Suggestions needed for heating fermentation chamber
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2018, 10:38:11 PM »
Agreed with Robert and Jim.  I tape the thin plastic heat wrap to the back wall of my chest freezer.
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