Fermwrap

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by jeffpn, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone here ever fermented in an attached, unheated garage in 10-20°F weather? Will fermwrap be able to warm up the carboy to 55°F? It'd be nice to get a third lager going.
     
  2. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's that capable.... It's a 40 watt heater capable of raising the temperature from 5 to 20 degrees according to its propaganda.
     
  3. CDC

    CDC New Member

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    I have used a large storage tub full of warm water. I put the carboy in and then used an aquarium heater and a circulating pump to hold ferm temps. I also covered the tub with blankets to help hold temps. This was done in an unheated room in my barn. If my memory serves me correctly, the ambient room temp was in the high 10's to the 30's (last Jan.) In a colder room, you may need 2 of the heaters as I think it is 200 watts.
     
  4. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    That's got me thinking. I think farmers keep heaters in their animal's drinking water to keep it from freezing. Now the problem becomes where to store the tub when I'm not using it!
     
  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    The aquarium heater idea is rather brilliant. I use them for temp control in the winter and to warm up Saisons exactly as described. You can get them in many sizes and they'll heat a 20-gallon tank. It's an idea that should work, provided you get one with high enough wattage.
     
  6. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I'll need to see what my garage temps are, as far as lows. Then a trip to Tractor Supply Company for a consultation.
     
  7. CDC

    CDC New Member

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    I think I got my heaters and a small fountain pump from ebay or amazon. But I do remember they were cheap. I also remember the beer was good.
     
  8. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    we have something at the farm to keep the horses water from freezing but I think its permanently set to 40, I don't think that would help you but thinking about the fermwrap just put a blanket around it and check to see the temp after a day then loosen up till you get the correct temperature
     
  9. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I have a temperature controller for the fermwrap. Stabile temperature is not my concern. It would never get warmer than the set temp. My concern is that it might not be able to get that high.

    The funny thing is, today I had a customer who is in the fish tank business! He showed me a long element 200 watt heater that he said might get me the temp I need. 55 would be my primary temp. Then for lagering, around 34. He said that heater might work. I just don't think I want to drop $35 on the heater.
     
  10. CDC

    CDC New Member

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    Jeff, I was brewing an ale (mid 60's). I would think you would have no trouble maintaining lager temps.
     
  11. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    Yesterday I got to thinking of a timetable. This goofy Ohio weather has some wild swings in it. I'm looking at a finish date in March sometime, based on my typical lagering process. Even though we've hit single digits a couple times this season, I don't think we've gone a 2 week period where we haven't hit 60° for a couple days. Then my lager wouldn't be cold enough! Since I always have 2 lagers going anyway, I don't think it's worth the trouble to try to do a third, considering the weather swings and cost of a heater and tub, and where to put the tub the rest of the year. I do appreciate everyone's input.
     
  12. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    I'm gonna have to confront the same issue next weekend. I'm temporarily fermenting in a stainless steel kettle and it's too big to fit into any tubs I have. So I was thinking maybe a desk lamp aimed at it and controlled by an ST1000. The rest wrapped with a yoga mat.

    I'm guessing this won't work for your carboy because of the light though...
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    In variable conditions, the aquarium heater solution shines. It will keep temperatures very, very close to the set point - it has to to keep fish alive! I use it to keep Saisons warm enough to do their thing - the yeasts are as fickle if not more so than the fish. But there's a cost - the one I got was over $40 and you need a tub large enough to hold the fermentor and a significant volume of water. You'll get better beer, though, since you're controlling fermentation temperatures closely, making your yeast happy.
     
  14. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    I'm quite intrigued by the aquarium heater plan. I just don't have confidence that the weather/air temperature will stay low enough so the lager doesn't get too warm. I'm sure I'll see temps in the mid 60s before the lager is finished. I could move it into one of my ferm chambers when one frees up, but that may not be worth the effort. I may return to this idea early next winter, when I feel confident that I'll have 7 straight weeks of below freezing temps. Then again, I am in Ohio!
     
  15. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    I just wanted to toss in my input regarding a heating method. I threw out the lamp idea and just finished some preliminary testing of another idea. I took my old home made immersion chiller and flattened it out into a spiral and set the metal fermenter (pot) on top with a styrofoam sheet under the copper coils. Using a tea water cooker (1 litre, 1300 Watts) and a tiny pump I had laying around, I'm able to pump warm water into the coils and back into the cooker. An st1000 controller switches on the cooker and pump, and the temp sensor is taped and insulated only about a few cm from the bottom. I'm still playing with the position to get a steady temp of liquid inside the pot, because I don't have a suitable thermowell to actually measure the wort. It was easy and I already had all the components at hand.

    cheers.
     
  16. jeffpn

    jeffpn Well-Known Member

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    That is a clever idea! For your thermowell, you could do what I do. Take some of the same copper like use for the chiller, and pinch and solder one end of it to make a well. If you use carboys, get a cap like this to accommodate the well and the airlock. If you ferment in a bucket, drill another hole in the lid. That STC-1000 controller is a good controller. I have 3 of them.
     

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  17. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    I built a chamber out of OSB, insulating foam and radiant barrier. One wall is sealed around a mini-fridge. Inside the chamber is a large rubbermaid tub with water. Inside the tub is an aquarium pump, and an aquarium heater. A copper dip tube acts as a thermowell that holds the probe from the STC-1000. There's even a fan in the wall of the tub to blow the cool air from the fridge. Can't quite keep up with summer heat in NC, but since October has held 65 degrees like a champ, including overnight lows in the teens.
     

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