How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

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How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby turkeyjerky214 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:06 pm

I used to have my fermentation chamber in my basement, so I never had any issues holding temperatures in the winter. Since I moved to my new house, I ferment out in the garage. I've been using a little space heater, but while the fan is constantly on, the heating element keeps shutting off.

I've been thinking about doing the "lightbulb in a paint can" setup, but I'm also thinking about just installing this ceramic infrared bulb http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Ceramic-I ... 001F9CV7K/.

What does everyone else here use?
Last edited by turkeyjerky214 on Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-Brian

On Tap: Sour Belgian Brown, Amber Ale, Milk Stout, English Dark Mild, American Brown, Vienna Lager

Fermenting: Roggenbier, Pumpkin Ale
Kegged: Dunkelweizen, Hefeweizen, Barleywine
Lagering: Märzen, Doppelbock, Düsseldorf Alt
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Re: How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby wnordmann » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:42 pm

I've used the coffee can light but I didn't like it. I was worried the light would burn out too fast from being contained. I use one of the ceramic light in my chicken coop and the get hot, but I think a small fan would help move around the air and keep it more constant.

The other option is a brew belt I got one of these and I like it. It gives the direct heat exchange with the wort. It never gets super hot, just helps add some heat.
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Re: How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby jeffjm » Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:46 pm

I really like these: http://www.morebeer.com/products/fermwrap-heater.html?site_id=5

I don't know if anyone sells them locally. I ferment in an unheated garage (temps can get down to the low 40s during a prolonged cold spell). I put one of these on with a temp controller and thermowell, wrap a blanket around the carboy to keep the light out, and have no problems maintaining ale fermentation temps. The only caution I'd have is that if ambient rises quickly and you're doing a lager, you may end up at higher-than-desired temps if you don't catch it in time.
I set out running but I take my time.
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Re: How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby turkeyjerky214 » Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:24 pm

Just realized I should've included some more info. I ferment in a stand up freezer with a 2-stage temperature controller and the temperature probe attached to the side of the fermentor. I like the idea of the brew belt, but I ferment in either my 60L Speidel or two better bottles as I mostly do 11 gallon batches. Sometimes I have four in there, so a brew belt or something like that isn't really an option.

Willie, I figured that I'd wire a little computer fan just to circulate the heat. What wattage is your ceramic light? I'd prefer to use a lower wattage and have it running more often for a more consistent heat, but I'm worried the 60 watt might not be enough when it gets down into the single digits.
-Brian

On Tap: Sour Belgian Brown, Amber Ale, Milk Stout, English Dark Mild, American Brown, Vienna Lager

Fermenting: Roggenbier, Pumpkin Ale
Kegged: Dunkelweizen, Hefeweizen, Barleywine
Lagering: Märzen, Doppelbock, Düsseldorf Alt
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Re: How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby slarkin712 » Thu Feb 05, 2015 10:37 am

Brian,
I ferment in a side by side fridge with a two stage temp controller for the fridge side. A fan controls the cold air coming in from the freezer side, rather than the compressor. With this configuration the ferment side of the fridge is usually too cold for ale fermentation. To address this I hook up a reptile heater flexwatt tape/wrap from here: http://www.reptilebasics.com/heat-tape, and it come in custom sizes. I hook that up to the hot side of the temp controller. I have the flex watt hanging on walls around the fermentor(s) with out a fan. Sometimes I just set the flexwatt on the floor of the fridge and loosely wrap the fermentor. Either way, I'm sure you could find a configuration that works well for you.
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Re: How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby turkeyjerky214 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:20 am

In case anyone was wondering, I ended up going with the 60 watt ceramic heat bulb and the appropriate dome for it for around $30 total. So far my garage has only gotten down into the low 20s, but it's been able to hold steady temps up to 70º. I'll find out how it does in single digit temps this weekend.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002AQCPK/
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002OVDPJQ/
-Brian

On Tap: Sour Belgian Brown, Amber Ale, Milk Stout, English Dark Mild, American Brown, Vienna Lager

Fermenting: Roggenbier, Pumpkin Ale
Kegged: Dunkelweizen, Hefeweizen, Barleywine
Lagering: Märzen, Doppelbock, Düsseldorf Alt
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Re: How do you heat your fermentation chamber?

Postby jeffjm » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:53 pm

Sounds like your chamber has pretty decent insulation!
I set out running but I take my time.
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