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I am building a fermentation fridge based on an STC1000. Clearly if I had a heating side to it I would no doubt be better able to control the temperature; but I am not sure whether the heating element that I'm getting will be in in time for my next brew and I just got to thinking ... do I really need a heating element?

My point being that given that in my own circumstance the fridge would be located in a room temperature environment surely there's no real need for a heating side as the temperature if it gets too low will just heat up eventually ... probably slower than ideal, granted.

but my question is this: — Would the heating side be something which is "ideal" rather than something which is "necessary" in a scenario where the fridge is in an aprox 20C environment and I'm using US05 yeast ( which doesn't need high temperatures and has a reasonably wide temperature range), and given the fact that I'm reasonably new to homebrew so at this point I'm aiming more for good beers than great beers; to quote John Palmer ?

— and if I'm wrong about this could this please be explained.

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I have 2x fermentation fridges, and both have heaters (heat-pads) connected to the STC-1000. My fridges live outside, so suffer winter lows (~ 0C) and summer highs (~ 45C).

If you're confident the environment your fridge is in will never get below say 15C (point at which ale yeasts typically go somewhat dormant), then there is no need for a heating element. The actual fermentation process also does induce some heating too. Maybe you live in Singapore or something - great stop reading, you don't need it!

But say you're not confident: low temperatures can slow or stall a fermentation. So unless you want to wait for winter to be over to finish your beer, a heat source is necessary.

I look at like this: If you don't want to spend the extra on an unnecessary component, well sure, that's a good reason.

But you said your "building" a ferm' fridge. So I take it to mean you’re manually installing an STC-1000. This means your probably wiring it up, and cutting a hole for mounting in the side of the fridge, and very very carefully finding a path through the insulation and coolant system of the fridge to wire in the sensor. Getting it all together, and then having to near-dislocate a limb to get that last-flaming-orange-clip back on.

It's a tiresome, fiddly job. Thus: Ideally, you may as well wire-up a heating source at the same time, rather than having to re-do it again later... Just in case your fridge gets moved to an unheated garage, a winter-window is left open, or suchlike.

  • Thanks - that answers my question perfectly. I live in Ireland but the fridge is inside and the way our home heating is set up it's always more or less the same temperature. I do want to have a heating element eventually - for the reasons you mentioned and because I plan on doing a saison soon so I'll need it for that. I suppose was just wondering if I could get away with a couple of ales in it meanwhile, and it does look like I could. I'll deal with a stalled ferment if it arises. I might just temporarily leave the probe wire just under the door seal and do the full job when I get the heater. – byronyasgur Feb 15 '17 at 11:44
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I will echo what Kingsley has to say with one addition - you can create a heating element for less than 10 dollars. A simple light bulb placed inside of a tin can will easily heat up a full sized-fridge area. You just have to ensure that no light escapes from the can.

Here's a perfect instructible on it: http://www.instructables.com/id/Paint-Can-Heater-for-Fermentation-Chamber/

Cheers!

  • thanks - yes I was aware of that - I'm actually getting a tubular heater but it may not be here in time for the next brew so I was just wondering if I could use the fridge without it for a week or so – byronyasgur Feb 16 '17 at 21:36

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