Author Topic: Fermentation Heater  (Read 10916 times)

Offline mterm

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Fermentation Heater
« on: January 03, 2010, 08:31:57 AM »
I purchased a film fermentation heater, stopper thermowell from Northern Brewer Supply and a Johnson Controls "A419" digital refrigeration thermostat from a on-line controls company. I put it together and ran a test on a carboy filled with water and was able to maintain 68 degrees in a 60 degree room for 48 hours without any fluctuation in temperature. Then I brewed an ale extract kit and an have had it in a plastic bucket with the fermentation heater attached for 48 hours and it is maintaining 68 degrees in the same 60 degree room. I am very impressed with how well this setup works on both plastic and glass.

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2010, 10:28:37 AM »
+1 on controlling fermentation temps
and
+1 on "plug and go" fermentation

I've got the same setup except I use a Brew-Belt. Unless you've got a basement or live in some temperate place you're going to have temperature issues in late Fall - Winter - early Spring. This has been one of my top 3 things in consistently making good beers and since I started using it I've not had a single stuck fermentation (assuming your yeast is good). Plug in the Set-Point temperature and walk away. Yeah you still need to watch and monitor fermentation - but its much more relaxed as you have control over the process.

The only improvement I can see is to have the ability to automatically go thru a temperature profile sequence over a period of time.
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

Offline lkha

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2010, 01:47:36 PM »
where did you find the best price for the a419

Offline Wildrover

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2010, 04:22:51 PM »
I too have a 60 degree brew room (give or take 1-2 degrees).  My solution is much more low rent and low tech.  I bought an aquarium heater that allows temp control from 64-83 (I believe), a big enough thick plastic tub, rubbermaid sort of thing from Wal Mart and a cheap pump from a pet store.

I put the fermenter in the tub with some water, enough to fill most of the tub since the plastic fermenter is taller than the tub by a little.  The heater heats the water obviously and I use the pump to move the heated water around in the tub.  

I'm sure this method is no where near as precise as the equipment you'll get from the home brew shops that are made for this exact situation but I'm pretty cheap and it seems to make good beer.  I'm not as precise as all that when it comes to fermentation temp.  I'm more of a range guy, if the temp calls for 68 degrees I'm generally happy if I'm somewhere in the ball park, say 66-69 so I can live without being as precise and I'm happy that I don't have to drop the extra few bucks
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 05:42:00 PM by Wildrover »

Offline RandomSF

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2010, 05:04:33 PM »
+1 on tub and aquarium heater.  I don't think the pump is needed.  I just finished a batch and took the temperature every other day in a few spots around the tub and it was within a degree at every point.  For <$20 you have complete temperature control. 

Offline mterm

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Offline Kaz

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2010, 04:12:06 PM »
Just curious...I have the flex watt fermenter heater made, and haven't gotten the controller yet....but where did you put the probe when using the bucket.  I know about the thermowells that work with the carboys but haven't decided a good way to get the sensor into the bucket and still be sanitary.  TIA.

Offline mterm

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2010, 05:05:02 AM »
Kaz,
At the brew shop I use they sell tops for the bucket fermentors without the little hole in them for the air lock. I drilled a hole approx. 1" in diameter in the center of the lid and used the stopper thermowell that you would use with the carboy. Worked out great.

Offline SleepySamSlim

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 10:09:50 PM »
Exactly what mterm said --- I had a slightly older fermenting bucket that had a 1" hole pre-drilled in the center of the lid. The stopper and thermowell will work in a bucket or carboy.

In one of the recent BSmith blogs a master brewer said of all the fancy brewing stuff you can buy --- fermentation control has the biggest impact on the quality of your final product. The other benefit is a much more relaxed - controlled fermentation
Some people tell you the old walkin' blues ain't bad
Worst old feelin' that I've ever had ...
-Robert Johnson

watson

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Re: Fermentation Heater
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2010, 10:48:35 PM »
I did discover that when I try to do a print preview of the brew sheet it creates a .tmp file in Program Files\Beersmith\templates which is actually an HTML file. So I just rename it .html and open in my browser and print it that way.
-------------------------
ccna 640-802
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ccip
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ccna voice