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Heat Pad Or Heat Belt

Discussion in 'General Brewing Techniques' started by BitterBulldog, 13/5/09.

 

  1. BitterBulldog

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Ok, i've decided i don't want to brew & drink lagers now that it's getting cooler (& in general i can't hack lagers anymore)

    Even though i haven't even tasted my currently fermenting ESB Bavarian Lager :unsure:

    or haven't even tasted my currently bottled virgin homebrew 'Amber ale'.

    Geez, i'm a fussy bastard aren't i !

    I'd much rather do some stouts & strong ales for the winter.

    ok, enough about me...

    i was thinking of getting a heat pad or belt.

    the price dif at my local hbs is only $10. so i was wondering if there is much difference between the 2?
     
  2. Adamt

    Too busy (lazy) to brew.

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Where are you and what is the climate like? Those heat pads/belts always seem to completely nuke the ferment rather than keep it at a good temperature (20C). If anything I'd go the belt to avoid directly heating the trub.
     
  3. reviled

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    Posted 13/5/09
    I have a belt for this same reason, allthough my mate disagrees with me and uses a heat pad. They do give off an imense amount of heat in the one spot, which must cause higher ferm temps even if it is only in that one area? Which could in effect put off flavours in the whole batch...

    I try to avoid it at all costs and when I do ill flick it on and off periodically to make sure it doesnt get too hot, and ill move it round heaps as well...
     
  4. Sammus

    Amateur Brewer

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    Posted 13/5/09
    or use one of the fridgemate style temp controllers - thats what I do, if anything at all (more for a diacytal rest in the middle of winter).

    Most of the time the active yeast will keep the temp up enough - I recently brewed a russian imperial stout, and pitched the yeast at 16C, within a day the temp sensor on the outside of the fermentor was up to 20C - who knows how much warmer it was in the middle.
     
  5. brendo

    Tap-whore

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    Posted 13/5/09
    I use heat pads, but I generally put them down the side of the fermenter so it is not heating the trub.

    I also use an old single bed doona as insulation.

    Brendo
     
  6. Dazza_devil

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Heat pad here but it never comes into contact with my fermenter. It's connected to my tempmate and sits at the bottom of my brew fridge.
    Cheers.
     
  7. Verbyla

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    Posted 13/5/09
    I've been using a heating pad and have recently purchased a TempMate to regulate the fermenters temperature so that it doesn't "nuke" the fermenter and only get it to maintain the temperature you want.

    I'd strong recommend buying a TempMate with the heating device you end up buy, if you don't already have one, as it will mean that you don't have to continually turn the heating device on and off and will be given a more consistent temperature.

    I don't think it really matters what you use as long as the temperature is regulated.
     
  8. BitterBulldog

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    Posted 13/5/09
    i'm in Sydney - Chatswood. It hasn't gotten too cold yet.

    I haven't even moved my fermenter outside to the garage yet :D still babying it inside! :lol:

    I jumped the gun a little getting the Bav lager already. It's been fermenting at 22-18 for a week.

    Would have been perfect for another ale... dammit!!!

    I will be moving my fermenter into a underground garage for my next (maybe <_< ) for my next brew.

    It's about 10 or lower degrees in the night down there atm & will be dropping from here on in.

    So if i want to do anything other than lagers a belt is my best bet? or should i just go with the flow & get lagers going? ( & buy a case of Coopers Extra Stout)
     
  9. Adamt

    Too busy (lazy) to brew.

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Weather sounds perfect for me... ferment ales inside, lagers under the house.

    There's no reason a lager can't be a winter beer either.. investigate the schwarzbier, bock and doppelbock styles!
     
  10. BitterBulldog

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    Posted 13/5/09

    Yes, i like Dark Lagers!

    i think i'll do as you said & brew ales inside & lagers out.

    may aswell invest in another fermenter :wub: instead of buying heating pad & tempmate
     
  11. bum

    Not entitled to an opinion

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    Posted 13/5/09
    +1

    I use mine to raise "ambient" temp in the fridge now that it's getting colder here is SE Melbourne. Put a timer on the heat pad (15 min every 2 hours during the day and 15 min every hour on cold nights seems to see me right) and leave the fridgemate in cooling mode in case the heatpad goes out of control.
     
  12. Gulpa

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Has anyone ever thought about using an electric blanket. I look at those belts/pads at the LHBS and because I need 2 for double batches, the price seems excessive. You can pick up a single electric blanket for $20-30 if you look. Is there a downside?

    Thanks
    Andrew.
     
  13. bum

    Not entitled to an opinion

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Electric blankets seem to get a lot hotter than my heatpad. Would take a lot of checking to make sure you're not too hot with an electric blanket, IMO. I'm sure someone here has done/does it though.

    EDIT: typo
     
  14. Sammus

    Amateur Brewer

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    Posted 13/5/09
    electric blankets are like 100-200W, a belt is about 25W. I think with that kind of heating power you would more easily unevenly heat the wort.

    If you had your temp sensor on the outside of the fermentor, it would probably get up to temp before the wort has changed much. If you used a thermowell in the middle of your wort, the brew would probably be significantly hotter than the reading in the centre of it. Sure there's a bit of mixing from convection, but I still cant imagine it being enough to even out the whole temperature with 200W of heating power at the surface.
     
  15. ianh

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    Posted 13/5/09
    Hi

    Brewing in the garage in Tassie, I use a fish tank heater to heat my brews to 20C, the lowest setting.

    Has an inbuilt thermostat so it does not need any adjustments or timers.

    cheers

    Ian
     
  16. manticle

    Standing up for the Aussie Bottler

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    Posted 13/5/09
    I used to use a heat belt for my kk brews. Sometimes got up to 28 and fermented out in 4 days!

    I don't touch the thing now. Two dressing gowns on my belgian dubbel and that's all it'll get.
     
  17. tommygun

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    Posted 13/5/09
    A 40l square container filled with water and some bleach sit the fermenter in there and a fish tank heater to heat the water. Kept the fermenter perfect 20*c even on a frosty winter morning sitting in the garage. The only prob is the temp gauge on the fish tank heaters are always a few degrees off and so need to be monitored when first used. Because of the large amount of contact it really eliminates hot spots.

    Tom
     
  18. seemax

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    Posted 13/5/09
    25W aquarium heater, plenty enough heat for 25L of wort

    ordered mine online, does 17-32C, $25 delivered, cheaper than a belt/pad and has a thermostat
     
  19. RobboMC

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    Posted 13/5/09
    I live in Sydney with your climate. Last winter I did a black lager, simply got a can of Dark Ale,
    added some fermentables that you can choose yourself, and a sachet of Saflager.
    Fermented in the garage at 14 deg C in July. No heatpad, no fuss.

    Dark lager and black lager are one of those brewing secrets that took me years to discover,
    very few commercial beers around to sample, but really easy to make.
    everyone that starts out in Aust. wants to make VB or Coopers Sparkling Ale clones.

    These lagers are great drinking beer IMHO. Schwarzbier made to style is around 5% abv,
    and quite malty, but the Czechs have the sense to put hops in their black lager; and there's a
    version with just over 6% abv that really is a very special drop. Just add 3kg of malty fermentables
    and boil in 50g of Saaz.

    Got the temp up to 18 deg C before bottling to make sure fermentation was over by putting it in the sun for a weekend.
    A heating device might be useful in the future for this and also for a dycetal rest which is basically the same idea, heat to 18 deg C for a day or two to help the yeast finish off any nasties.

    But forget about making ales in winter just becasue it's too cold. If you like dark beers, make dark lager and enjoy it!
     
  20. Leigh

    Made at Home

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    Posted 13/5/09
    The heat has to go somewhere??? and it has to equilibrate???

    I know a brewer that gets good control of his brews using an electric blanket...he has checked the temp in both the wort and the surface of the fermentor and while Sammus' statement is true (in terms of a temp gradient existing) for the first hour or so, the temp probes read close enough to each other after that...

    From memory he uses a single bed electric blanket on it's lowest setting (5 settings) and only wraps the bottom half of his Coopers fermenter.
     

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