Just yesterday, I bought a chest freezer and digital Johnson temp controller, and am EXTREMELY psyched. I think I'm going to make a pre-prohibition pilsner/classic american pilsner as my first lager. However, as psyched as I am to expand the breadth of my brewing domain, I am realizing that what I love more than anything are ales!
The ambient temp in my basement is around 60 degrees. I have a cream ale going right now (not in the chest freezer), but in reading "Brewing Classic Styles" I am realizing that I will need the freezer to hold a temp ABOVE the ambient temp in the basement to make some of these.
I know there is a separate wiki on temp control, but I wanted to know if anyone had any opinions on the best way to incorporate a heating element without risking barbequeing my dog while he's helpless in his crate due to an electrical fire. Things like the Brewbelt and the heating pads for inside a freezer make me nervous about fire risk and warping this $100 second-hand freezer I had to muscle down my vertical stairs.
Does anyone have any experience with the best methods/products?
Edit: I have looked at Brew Belts, Fermwrap, space heaters, and I believe there is a pad heater designed specifically to be put inside chest freezers for homebrewers (?). Space is a concern, as I had to lobby strongly just to have the chest freezer, otherwise I would be all over the aquarium heater.