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12

1) Can I just place my fermentation tank in this tub of water to counter the heat? Yes. This will work to a degree (ha, ha.) The water is slowly but constantly evaporating. The energy need to make liquid water into gas comes out of the water's temperature. This "evaporative cooling" will help cool your wort by a few degrees. 2) Will this method work during ...


10

This method is sometimes referred to as a "swamp cooler", and is well known and used in homebrewing circles. Honestly, if the brew shop employee told you it wouldn't work then they are either (a) trying to sell you a brewing fridge, or (b) not that educated on homebrewing. Change out some ice packs in the water twice a day and you get get down to the low ...


8

Find a 4.2 cubic feet (or larger) minifridge on craigslist. I usually see them go for around $50 to $70, but YMMV depending on where you live. With the shelves removed, 4.2 cu. ft. should be large enough to hold a carboy. Grab a temperature controller and use it with the minifridge. This will allow you to regulate the exact temperature inside, making it ...


8

It's best to keep it as constant as possible until the primary fermentation is complete. It can be critical when you are reaching the end of fermentation to adjust the temperature slightly as there is not as much heat being produced from yeast reactions. If the temperture drops a couple of degrees certain strains of yeast can flocculate too soon leaving ...


7

I have converted all three at one time or another and am currently using a chest freezer for the following reasons: Chest freezers are larger inside. Chest freezers are better insulated and use less energy. My current kegerator is the smallest chest freezer I could find at Lowes. It fits 3 soda kegs and a 5lb CO2 cylinder. My taps are on the front of ...


7

In terms of controlling esters/fusels/flavors, my understanding is that temperature control is most important in the first 48-72 hours of fermentation. But in terms of yeast happiness, temp control can be more important for a longer stretch. If the temperature of the beer will rise after you turn off temp control, then you don't have a big problem. But if ...


6

I'd say temp control is most critical for the first 72 hours, and then very important for probably a week after that. At that point, you can start letting the temp rise to make sure the yeast finishes. This is a general ROT and may vary depending on yeast strain or beer style.


6

You may want to check out brewpi - it's a fermentation monitor, but isn't limited to just fermentation. The temperature devices used are DS18B20 temperature probes. You can get these pre-made in waterproof housing from sellers on ebay - the project also has a shop that sells them. The manufacturers claim they are accurate to +/- 0.5 C, although my tests ...


5

Cheapest = Brew in the winter =P


5

Without knowing your system, I can't give you specifics, but Arduino makes great microcontroller USB I/O boards in the $25 range. You program the board through a USB interface using a language similar to C, so it wouldn't be hard to write a PID control program for temperature. You would need an interface to step the thermocouple voltage up to proper levels ...


5

My guess is that it's functioning as it should - most home thermometers that aren't calibrated are usually off by anywhere from 2-5 degrees F or more. Assuming your Johnson controller is the most accurate of the 3, then getting 45F and 52F can be considered within tolerance if the actual temperature is 50F. One other thing that may be a surprise is that ...


5

I have 3 of these in my brewery. During autotune, the temperature will go well past the set point in order to determine the amount the system will overshoot, and it will need to do this several times, meaning you may have to leave the unit for possibly several hours before the autotune is complete. Autotune worked well for me, so I didn't try setting the ...


5

Absolutely. If you need to cool the bucket further you could alternate adding ice packs to maintain your fermenting temps.


5

Cold water alone will not drop your temperatures eight degrees. You will need ice packs. A more readily available option is to go out and buy a case of water bottles from the store, freeze a couple of bottles, and just rotate them out every 6-8 hours by placing them in the water of the swamp cooler. Take an old cotton t-shirt and pull it over the top of ...


4

Jim makes good comments. Especially regarding chest freezer efficiency at staying cold, even when open. I'll add that I like a standing fridge for ease of loading and unloading. However, its tough sometimes to reach in and add/remove the connectors from the top of the kegs. Unless you have a full standing fridge (without a freezer portion) it got a little ...


4

You are doing the right thing. Ambient temperature (aka the air temperature inside the chest) can go low like this, but since the probe is taped to the fermentation vessel, and the controller is calling for chilling, then chilling is what is needed. The thermal mass of the chest walls, cooling tubes, freon, and the air in the chest all might be below your ...


4

Not sure of your location or budget, but Home Depot is selling a great chest freezer for an awesome price. Here's a discussion on Homebrew Talk where some kind individual took the time to diagram out all the possibilities for what you can do with it as far as buckets, carboys, kegs, CO2 tanks, everything (and other freezers if you settle for something ...


4

First, unless the starter temp goes over maybe 90F, there is no damage to the yeast itself. second, for a starter of the size that you'll need for a tripel, the best course of action is to decant the spent wort before pitching so it won't have any flavor effect on your beer. remember, with a starter you're growing yeast, not making beer, and a starter ...


4

The aquarium heaters are not heating all of the water, but only the water around each heater. This will form convection currents around each heater - the heated water only moves upwards, and rises up to the surface, at the same time water at the surface cools and sinks. The convection currents are probably only a few inches around each heater, depending ...


4

Most of the heat is usually lost through the lid in coolers. Cooler lids are not well insulated. The bodies are. This is because they are meant to keep things cold not hot. Heat rises and a cooler lid isn't designed to actually handle it. Some coolers are better than others. I have used several and found wide differences. I found that if I covered the ...


3

I came across this site yesterday using an Arduino like Baka suggested. It's a little involved, and it would require you to beef up your coding skills, but the step by step guide gives quite a bit of detail. Also, this is a fermentation controller that also tracks and graphs temperature, so it might be possible to scale back the development. There's also ...


3

I don't know of any, but if you like playing with electronics and programming, you could use an Arduino with an Ethernet Shield, and an Off-the-shelf temperature sensor. Doing that, you'd also need to set up a server process on your computer to listen for reports from your device, but there are tutorials for doing that sort of thing for just about every ...


3

There are quite a few choices in refrigeration for building a fermentation chamber. What are the pros and cons of each option? Assume that whichever is chosen, it will be controlled by an after-market temperature controller, allowing for precise adjustment of fermentation temperature. Upright Refrigerator - Freezer on Top Pros: Very easy to find on ...


3

You could build a Son of Fermentation Chiller or a 36 DD Mother of Fermentation Chiller. Both are pretty close to your original idea of using a foam container with ice. Adding a thermostat or temperature controller will let you maintain a more constant temp.


3

I've used a $15 "aquarium heater" to get a Belgian beer up to 84F to fully dry it out. These gadgets are designed to be submerged all the time without any risk, so long as you follow the instructions. I put my carboy in a water bath, which was just a big cooler, and put the heater below the water level of the cooler. Seemed to work fine for me. I raised my ...


3

I'm also looking for a similar solution - don't really want to mess about with extra water baths, and I have a controller that can control both a heater and a cooler. I would think any low wattage pad would do the job - in the region of 30W-50W would be plenty to maintain the temperature inside the fridge. I think it makes sense you want the pad to be ...


3

It depends upon how hot the heat pad gets - you want to use a pad that doesn't go above 30°C/85°F. I use a waterproof pad that was originally intended as a pet warmer. It has an adjustable thermostat to set the highest temperature it will reach. I have mine set to 25°C/75°F. So, even though it is connected to a temperature controller, the ...


3

I don't think that this is going to work very well, stripping out the barrier between the freezer and the refrigerator. Any number of things could happen: You risk damaging the refrigerant lines that may pass between or go around the freezer portion, Unless you can disable the freezer, you may find it working extra hard to try and maintain the thermostat ...


3

Many people will re-purpose chest freezers as fermentation chambers and they will place their carboys and buckets inside of them. Chest freezers do have their benefits as they are insulated and capable of cooling to any temperature (with the use of a temperature controller) wort would need for fermentation. They are often the home brewer's go-to for ...


3

You have to base the choice on what temp you want to ferment at, not necessarily an analytical choice in the optimum range. Different points in that range will create certain flavor profiles, all temps will make beer. The profile you want comes from experience. You need to remember that the fermentation itself generates heat. I am sure that your temp ...



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