Author Topic: Fermentation Room Temp  (Read 1261 times)

Offline roguejim

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 462
    • View Profile
Fermentation Room Temp
« on: August 29, 2010, 03:09:02 PM »
I have an uninsulated shop where I ferment my lagers during the summer months.  I use a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer in the shop for the actual fermentation.  My problem occurs in the winter months when I can't keep the shop warm enough.  Ultimately, I would do all my fermenting in the shop (ales and lagers) if it wasn't for the winter nights in southern Oregon dropping too low.  What would be a cost effective way to maintain a mid 60s room temp during the winter months?

Offline BrewArk

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 452
  • Rick - Newark, California
    • View Profile
    • BrewArk
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2010, 03:19:51 PM »
If it were me I'd surrender to nature - lagers in winter, ales in summer.  Otherwise, a kerosene heater is the best I can recommend for the cold months.
Beer...Now there's a temporary solution!

Na Zdraví

Offline capozzoli

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1689
  • Lat 40* 6 m. 2.24 s. Long -74* 51 m. 21.75 s.
    • View Profile
    • Capozzoli Metalworks
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 03:20:53 PM »
How low can it get there?

I would suggest one of those oil filled electric heaters. But if it drops really low and there is no insulation may be futile.

I use one in the uninsulated office of my shop. Keeps it about 60 degrees when just out in the shop a glass of water is ice.

They are pretty efficient too.
Beer, its whats for dinner.

http://theholyravioli.blogspot.com/

http:// www.thecapo.us

Offline Malticulous

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 361
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2010, 06:19:34 AM »
A 40 watt light is enough to heat my chest freezer in the winter. I could have rewired my temp controller to heat mode but I just let the freezer to cool it down if it gets too hot.

Offline MDixon

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1010
    • View Profile
    • Mike's Homebrewing Page
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2010, 06:21:26 AM »
A 40 watt light is enough to heat my chest freezer in the winter. I could have rewired my temp controller to heat mode but I just let the freezer to cool it down if it gets too hot.

+1
It's not a popularity contest, it's beer!

Offline dak0415

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 488
  • Winston-Salem, NC
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2010, 07:22:42 AM »
A 40 watt light is enough to heat my chest freezer in the winter. I could have rewired my temp controller to heat mode but I just let the freezer to cool it down if it gets too hot.
I did pretty much the same thing.  I'm in NC so a 25 watt bulb usually does the trick.  I lucked into a 2 stage ranco for 45 bucks so I'll be adding the bulb to the heat side come October or so.  I just cover the bulb with a small steel coffee can to keep the light away from the wort.
Dave Koenig
Anything worth doing - is worth overdoing!

Offline roguejim

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 462
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2010, 12:48:16 PM »
A 40 watt light is enough to heat my chest freezer in the winter. I could have rewired my temp controller to heat mode but I just let the freezer to cool it down if it gets too hot.

Thanks.  Now we're talking.  As it is in southern Oregon, the winters are too cold for even lager fermentation.  It will get down into the 20s, and occasionally into the teens, usually hovering in the 40s.

So, with an ambient room temp of say 40F, a 40-watt bulb should keep my refrigerator at ale fermentation temp?
I understand that direct light on the carboy is to be avoided, but what about indirect, light that is reflected off the insides of the refrigerator, onto the carboy? 

I use a Johnson Temp Controller with a single dial.  Should I disconnect it during the winter months, and just run the refrigerator/freezer in normal mode, i.e., use the refrigerator's own internal thermostat?  Just wondering which would be easier on the fridge.  It seems that using the Johnson might still be the way to go as I could more easily dial in the exact temp.




Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2010, 12:58:56 PM »
I use a Johnson Temp Controller with a single dial.  Should I disconnect it during the winter months, and just run the refrigerator/freezer in normal mode, i.e., use the refrigerator's own internal thermostat?  Just wondering which would be easier on the fridge.  It seems that using the Johnson might still be the way to go as I could more easily dial in the exact temp.

If the ambient temp where you keep the fridge is below your ale fermenting temp, you can rewire the controller to heat instead of cool and connect the lightbulb to that.  It was pretty simple to do on mine, you just take off the cover and switch the wires.

If the ambient temp is warmer, you might as well stick with the controller.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline dak0415

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 488
  • Winston-Salem, NC
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2010, 01:34:48 PM »
So, with an ambient room temp of say 40F, a 40-watt bulb should keep my refrigerator at ale fermentation temp?
I understand that direct light on the carboy is to be avoided, but what about indirect, light that is reflected off the insides of the refrigerator, onto the carboy?  
Yes, leave the temp controller active, the fridge thermostat will probably not go UP to 60!

Using the coffee can method very little light escapes and it's all reflected incandescent so no UV problems.  At 40deg ambient, my 25watt bulb works well.  Any colder than that and I need to switch to the 40.  With the 2 stage I will just leave the 40 in.  It heats sooo slowly that the freezer can easily overpower it when the temp gets above setpoint.  Just avoid the temptation to peek inside.  All that warm air leaves the building quickly.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2010, 01:38:15 PM by dak0415 »
Dave Koenig
Anything worth doing - is worth overdoing!

Offline rabid_dingo

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 785
  • Brighton, CO :D
    • View Profile
    • Mile High Monks
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2010, 02:33:53 PM »
What about one of those light socket reptile ceramic warmers? I have seen them on Good Eats, Alton brown uses them to get the oven warm enough to dehydrate food...No light at all, you can even use a thermostat acording to the FAQ...

infrared pet heater
Ruben * Colorado :)

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2010, 02:42:12 PM »
Those work too.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline roguejim

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 462
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2010, 02:42:37 AM »
I use a Johnson Temp Controller with a single dial.  Should I disconnect it during the winter months, and just run the refrigerator/freezer in normal mode, i.e., use the refrigerator's own internal thermostat?  Just wondering which would be easier on the fridge.  It seems that using the Johnson might still be the way to go as I could more easily dial in the exact temp.

If the ambient temp where you keep the fridge is below your ale fermenting temp, you can rewire the controller to heat instead of cool and connect the lightbulb to that.  It was pretty simple to do on mine, you just take off the cover and switch the wires.

If the ambient temp is warmer, you might as well stick with the controller.

So, you're saying the Johnson will turn on the bulb when the temp drops below say 65F?  Now that's slick!

Offline tschmidlin

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8130
  • Redmond, WA
    • View Profile
Re: Fermentation Room Temp
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2010, 10:53:36 AM »
So, you're saying the Johnson will turn on the bulb when the temp drops below say 65F?
Exactly.  Like I said it's easy to do, although if you're not comfortable working with electrical bits you might find someone to help you with it.

And test it and label it before you use it, because if you forget which way is which you could end up freezing your beer :)
Tom Schmidlin