Author Topic: Fermentation temp  (Read 593 times)

Offline J965

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Fermentation temp
« on: May 11, 2018, 12:16:17 AM »
What’s the best way to control fermentation temperature? and what do you do when you notice it’s too hot or too cold? What’s the best/quickest way to get back to the right temperature?

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 12:35:20 AM »
My opinion, large chest freezer with a dual stage temp controller and heat pad. Never gets "too hot". Always exactly where I want it.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 12:49:08 AM by klickitat jim »

Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2018, 12:58:41 AM »
Yep, and I would add: Depending on location, you may not need the heat.  But as far as the cold:  It's best not to register the ferment temperature directly with your probe, but control the ambient temperature.  Remember you'll need ambient temperature to be as much as 8°-10°F below desired fermentation temperature, which you want to monitor separately to dial in your system.  Then make sure you have a controller you can set to allow a 4°F or so swing in temperature.  Liquid will change temperature much more slowly than the air, so it will hold steady.  This way you will prevent short cycling the compressor and greatly extend the life of your unit.
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2018, 02:28:16 PM »
Yep, and I would add: Depending on location, you may not need the heat.  But as far as the cold:  It's best not to register the ferment temperature directly with your probe, but control the ambient temperature.  Remember you'll need ambient temperature to be as much as 8°-10°F below desired fermentation temperature, which you want to monitor separately to dial in your system.  Then make sure you have a controller you can set to allow a 4°F or so swing in temperature.  Liquid will change temperature much more slowly than the air, so it will hold steady.  This way you will prevent short cycling the compressor and greatly extend the life of your unit.

I measure the temp of my ferment because that's what I care about.  Both my freezer and my controller have compressor delay built into them, so compressor cycling is not an issue.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2018, 02:32:55 PM »
That fancy, newfangled modern equipment!   :)
Rob Stein
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2018, 03:20:42 PM »
Yep, and I would add: Depending on location, you may not need the heat.  But as far as the cold:  It's best not to register the ferment temperature directly with your probe, but control the ambient temperature.  Remember you'll need ambient temperature to be as much as 8°-10°F below desired fermentation temperature, which you want to monitor separately to dial in your system.  Then make sure you have a controller you can set to allow a 4°F or so swing in temperature.  Liquid will change temperature much more slowly than the air, so it will hold steady.  This way you will prevent short cycling the compressor and greatly extend the life of your unit.

I measure the temp of my ferment because that's what I care about.  Both my freezer and my controller have compressor delay built into them, so compressor cycling is not an issue.
Me too and I prefer a heat source other than the actively fermenting beer because of a theory that once fermentation begins to slow, the exothermic will drop and if there is no other heat source, theoretically the drop in temp could prematurely stall fermentation. Since I don't do it that way, it is still just theory to me. But one I don't really want to try to prove. If that method works for others that's great.

Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2018, 03:55:17 PM »
Temp will drop as ferment winds down; I just adjust the thermostat.   But I guess my old Johson Control units are obsolete.
Rob Stein
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 03:56:43 PM »
Temp will drop as ferment winds down; I just adjust the thermostat.   But I guess my old Johson Control units are obsolete.

Pretty much.  I have several I tried to sell for next to nothing and got no offers at all.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 05:02:21 PM »
Temp will drop as ferment winds down; I just adjust the thermostat.   But I guess my old Johson Control units are obsolete.

Pretty much.  I have several I tried to sell for next to nothing and got no offers at all.
They really are fine I guess for my lagering chest and keezer, both of which I just keep at a constant temperature.   But as  long as the newer units all have a delay to prevent short cycling,  I should look into a new one for the fermentation chamber.  I suppose the thermowell in my Speidel is sized to fit the typical probes.  Any recommendations or caveats, guys?
Rob Stein
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Offline Richard

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 05:22:19 PM »
The "best" solution is a matter of personal preference and your budget/space constraints. Chest freezers with dual stage controllers are simple and easily available, but I have a DIY system that performs better. I know that it isn't for everyone, but I had fun building it and it works extremely well.

I have the carboy sitting in a water bath in a picnic cooler. I regulate the temperature of the water with a thermoelectric system to within 0.1 F. The temperature difference between the bath  and the beer is less than 1 degree F even during vigorous fermentation because the thermal transfer to the water bath is much better than to air. The system can heat and cool, and can pull down to 34 for cold crashing. It is small and quiet and there are no problems with short cycling or compressor delays. I built it for something like $300. That includes the Arduino controller and Raspberry Pi that can publish the temperature to a web site and record a log of the temperature every 2 minutes for the entire fermentation. I can provide more details to anyone who is interested.
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 05:28:33 PM »
Temp will drop as ferment winds down; I just adjust the thermostat.   But I guess my old Johson Control units are obsolete.

Pretty much.  I have several I tried to sell for next to nothing and got no offers at all.
They really are fine I guess for my lagering chest and keezer, both of which I just keep at a constant temperature.   But as  long as the newer units all have a delay to prevent short cycling,  I should look into a new one for the fermentation chamber.  I suppose the thermowell in my Speidel is sized to fit the typical probes.  Any recommendations or caveats, guys?

For years I've been using an Auber TD100 and I'm very happy with it.  A lot of people use the Inkbird, which I understand works very well and is pretty inexpensive.  I'm currently beta testing a wifi operated controller that shows a lot of promise.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 05:37:04 PM »
Rob Stein
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Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 06:03:05 PM »
Anybody familiar with this? It's at my LHBS.
https://www.grapeandgranary.com/thermostat-uni-stat-iia-digital-controller.html

That only has on output.  Is that all you need?  The ones I use have 2, one for cooling and one for heating.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2018, 06:23:24 PM »
Anybody familiar with this? It's at my LHBS.
https://www.grapeandgranary.com/thermostat-uni-stat-iia-digital-controller.html

That only has on output.  Is that all you need?  The ones I use have 2, one for cooling and one for heating.
Since I mainly do lagers, and the room temp where the fridge is never really goes below about 65°F, I've never needed heat yet.  I suppose most ale fermentations would still be doable under those conditions.

EDIT Looked into a bunch of options, and realize I don't have any reason to change anything.  Some of the controllers won't handle the power draw of my full size fridge.  Moreover, I seem to keep the ferment temperature within a narrower margin than some of them allow (no swing at all!) All I have to do is check the temperature a couple times a day.   My system may be old fashioned, but it's dialed in, highly effective, and paid for.  I like it.

(But if I had it to do over, freezer and a two stage is how I'd go.  I'd probably still control ambient because liquid changes temperature more slowly.  Hope that helps OP.)

EDIT Well I've upgraded; thanks, guys, for the inspiration.  Did more research, decided on the basic 2 stage Inkbird  (non programmable) and a Fermwrap taped to the back wall of the fridge.  I will continue to control ambient while monitoring the temperature in the thermowell independently,  and I will still serve as the intelligent control system.  A minor adjustment to my longstanding system (just adding a heat source) but now I should be good for year-round ales and reliable winter D-rests on lagers. 
« Last Edit: June 08, 2018, 08:25:40 PM by Robert »
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Offline James K

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Re: Fermentation temp
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2018, 06:49:57 AM »
What’s the best way to control fermentation temperature? and what do you do when you notice it’s too hot or too cold? What’s the best/quickest way to get back to the right temperature?

I believe control depends a great deal on what you are making and the temperature of your environment.  The high where I live is never over 100* outside and inside my house rarely over 90*. I do not have ac.

I use a termowell and an inkbird controller. For me I can set a temp at 65* and set the inkbird to only fluctuate 1* or more if I want. I know the temp wont drop below a certain temp, so cold is not a worry for me in the winter time. Now that it’s spring though, it is harder for me to ferment lower temps, especially lagers.

While dual heat and cold control sounds fancy, I have yet to use it. That’s more a function of infrastructure though.
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