Author Topic: Fermentation Chamber - Heating  (Read 1572 times)

Offline RustyPlaneWoodworking

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Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« on: October 29, 2018, 12:04:26 PM »
I picked up a chest freezer and an inkbird temp controller for keeping it cool. However, given that we are in the winter months, I was wondering what are the best methods for keeping the freezer warm for fermenting ale yeasts?

I just took the ambient temp in my freezer out in my garage. It’s about 55 in the freezer and about 48-50 outside.

I’ve seen some folks that use lamps, heating wraps, etc. But how do you set them up on a system so it only comes on when it needs to and isn’t constantly running?


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Offline BrewBama

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Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 12:45:24 PM »
If the controller has two channels (one for cooling and one for heating) simply plug the freezer into the cooling side and your heating device into the heating side. Plug the controller into the wall socket. Set the controller to the desired temp per the instructions, place the temp bulb inside the fermenter chamber, and it will decide which channel to turn on/off.

I’ve seen a light bulb in a can, a ceramic reptile heater, heat wrap, etc used for the heat device.

I hope this helps.


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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 12:51:25 PM »
I use a Fermwrap taped to the back wall.  Costs about $30, draws 40 watts, and is more than sufficient in my full-size, upright fridge. You plug the fridge into the "cooling" side of the two-stage Inkbird and the wrap into the "heat" side.  Program your set temperature and the hot and cold differential,  how many degrees above set you want cooling to come on and how many below you want heat to come on.  2 or 3 degrees is usually good to hold the beer at a steady temperature as long as the probe is in the air.
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Offline MNWayne

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2018, 02:38:33 PM »
I'm not familiar with your Inkbird. The better controllers are dual stage, they have a receptacle for both a heating load and a cooling load. Some controllers are both heating and cooling capable, but must be manually switched between heating or cooling modes.  For a light heating load I've found a 30-50 watt light bulb provides enough heat. I made a shroud to minimize light exposure to the wort. When temps drop to below freezing I change my heat source to a 250watt ceramic space heater I found at Ace Hardware, it runs only about 5 seconds every few minutes. I also have a small 4" fan that comes on when heat is called to help prevent the temps from stratifying in the chamber.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2018, 03:03:30 PM »
I just bought a dual outlet inkbird. One receptical is for cooling, one is for the heating element. A popular heater is a ceramic reptile heater as it poduces no light.
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Offline Iliff Ave Brewhouse

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2018, 03:04:34 PM »
I put a small space heater that has a thermostat on it in my chest freezer when doing ales in the winter.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2018, 03:06:48 PM »
I'm not familiar with your Inkbird. The better controllers are dual stage, they have a receptacle for both a heating load and a cooling load. Some controllers are both heating and cooling capable, but must be manually switched between heating or cooling modes.  For a light heating load I've found a 30-50 watt light bulb provides enough heat. I made a shroud to minimize light exposure to the wort. When temps drop to below freezing I change my heat source to a 250watt ceramic space heater I found at Ace Hardware, it runs only about 5 seconds every few minutes. I also have a small 4" fan that comes on when heat is called to help prevent the temps from stratifying in the chamber.
The Inkbird I have is two stage, programmable,  requires no manual switching,  just like the more expensive brands, and costs less than $5 more than a single-stage (cooling only) Inkbird (both under $40.)  Widely available from homebrew retailers, and able to handle the power load for a full-size fridge.  If the OP has a single stage, it would be well worth it to try exchanging it for the two-stage.
Rob Stein
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2018, 03:51:25 PM »
Sitting here at the diner with (now empty) mug of coffee reminds me of a potential drawback of a ceramic heater:  they won't immediately stop radiating heat when switched off.
Rob Stein
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2018, 06:31:31 PM »
The cooling circuit on my fermentation chamber is all I use.

When the weather gets cool and I actually need heat, I just throw an electric heating pad in the chamber. My pad has three power settings and I just dial up enough heat to keep the chamber from dropping lower than my desired temperature. The cooling circuit will kick in as needed to keep it from overheating.

The heating pad does not need to be controlled.
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Offline narcout

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2018, 08:24:08 PM »
I like this thing.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html

I used a couple of those adhesive hook and loop strips to secure it to the inside of my chest freezer.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2018, 09:14:27 PM »
I like this thing.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html

I used a couple of those adhesive hook and loop strips to secure it to the inside of my chest freezer.
Ooh, and I like the hook-and-loop thing.  Just stuck mine on with little strips of duck tape.  Next upgrade.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2018, 09:26:30 PM »
I would exercise caution about the Fermwrap look alikes - there are some knock off brands that aren't as well insulated at the connection points as the Fermwrap brand.  Those can short out when moving the fermenters around and catching/bumping the wrap or the connectors.  I didn't notice it and it kicked off the GFCI to the circuit that was serving two separate freezer chests; no harm no foul in the end, but I was later on searching for the reason my circuit would not reset, until it dawned on me....
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Offline James K

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Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2018, 09:42:28 PM »
I use fermwrap and what I do is wrap my carboy with a hoodie over the fermwrap and carboy.
Right now I have a carboy in a fridge with this and it’s set at 75*. It never gets warm enough for the fridge to kick on but also doesn’t go below 75*.
I find insulating the carboy helps. I put the probe on the inside of the hoodie.

I set my inkbird to click on once the temp goes below a certain range. Or above. It’s in the settings where you scroll. You can allow a 1* change. Or more.

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« Last Edit: October 29, 2018, 09:44:40 PM by James K »
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Offline RustyPlaneWoodworking

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Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2018, 01:12:03 AM »
So I must have outsmarted myself and picked up the dual stage Inkbird controller. I didn’t realize it until I pulled it out of the box and looked it over.

So we are in business. Thanks for all of the advice and feedback. I’m going to look into either a reptile heat plate or the carboy wrap and I’ll figure a way to hang that on the lid or something.


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« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 01:14:34 AM by RustyPlaneWoodworking »

Offline RustyPlaneWoodworking

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Re: Fermentation Chamber - Heating
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2018, 01:12:50 AM »
I like this thing.

https://www.morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html

I used a couple of those adhesive hook and loop strips to secure it to the inside of my chest freezer.
I think I may go this route.


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