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Keeping fermenter warm over winter

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Shanta

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Does anyone know of a cheap cost effective way of keeping the temperature up on the fermenter over winter? I'm just looking at any alternatives to a heating belt or pad.
 

cremmerson

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Excellent question. I have an old bag over the plastic and some old foam mats my son used to play on. Not sure how effective it is, but it has to be an improvement.

I think I should have done it from the start rather than halfway through to capture the heat from the ferment.
 

Bribie G

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Dead or turned-off fridge and a 3L hot water bottle out of the HWS every night - anyway that's what I'll try, and the hot water is heated up offpeak so it's not using electricity all the time.

Anyone know how much a heat belt uses?

I see that CraftBrewer don't sell them.
 

warra48

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I use a single hot water bottle in my fermenting fridge.
Only need to change it once or twice a day in winter.
 

Shanta

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Thank you all for the quick responses! I might look at spending the money and getting either a heater belt or pad, is there any down falls to a belt as I notice they are a lot cheaper?
 

Yob

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Folks who have pads swear by them.. Folks with belts swear by them too.. People with light bulbs are happy with them too.. It's all just a component of the set and forget system.. Set the temp and walk away
 

DUANNE

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another option is to just brew with the seasons and knock out a few lagers.
 

Ironsides

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People say that applying heat to the yeast cake, as with a pad heater, isnt ideal. The belt can obviously be adjusted higher or lower on the fermenter. Running it in a fridge helps to maintain the temp, so that the belt isnt running flatout.

+1 for temp controller and belt/pad/bulb/oil heater/ anything else, running in a cupboard/fridge/under the stairs/ other enclosed heat holding area
 

iralosavic

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I have a reptile heat light and couldn't be happier - omni directional heat source that doesn't directly heat the wort, but the temperature control is not based on ambient, but on wort temp (probe positioned against side of fermenter under a cut up beer holder). Works a treat and I've lab thermometer tested it and it's always within .5c once it stabilises. (I already owned the reptile gear, but you can pick up just a heat globe and lead with socket for pretty cheap (similar to heat belt).

My cheapskate mate who got me into brewing just put it in a cupboard with an electric blanket around it set on 1.
 
U

unclebarrel

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FV in fridge.
Immersion heater in wort.
Fridge with temp control kicks in if temps go up too high.
Works for me.
Looking at getting a thermowell soon so probe sits in wort.

I feel spending the coin on temp control produces good beer and eases the mind on hot/cold days.
Like Yob said, set and forget.
 

Fourstar

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Bribie G said:
Dead or turned-off fridge and a 3L hot water bottle out of the HWS every night - anyway that's what I'll try, and the hot water is heated up offpeak so it's not using electricity all the time.

Anyone know how much a heat belt uses?

I see that CraftBrewer don't sell them.
i'd definitely go with:
a dead/turned off fridge
a large PC case fan to circulate air (on for entire ferment)
temp controller
one of these bad boys. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/EH-0201-5W-15cm-x-14cm-Heat-Mat-Pad-for-Reptiles-Snakes-Lizards-Seedling-Crabs-/251193500748?pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item3a7c4ca44c&_uhb=1#ht_555wt_1144

if its a working fridge, cycle the mat and fridge and you'll be holding consistent temperatures. However, given how well a fridge is insulated and once its up to temperatures, it will take a significant amount of time to drop a few degrees so the fridge probably isn't required to be connected. I purchased one of these heat mats for use w/saisons but i havent got around to using it other than making yogurt. Given the radiant heat it puts out, great bang for your buck IMO.
 

fletcher

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Fourstar said:
i'd definitely go with:
a dead/turned off fridge
a large PC case fan to circulate air (on for entire ferment)
temp controller
one of these bad boys. http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/EH-0201-5W-15cm-x-14cm-Heat-Mat-Pad-for-Reptiles-Snakes-Lizards-Seedling-Crabs-/251193500748?pt=AU_Pet_Supplies&hash=item3a7c4ca44c&_uhb=1#ht_555wt_1144

if its a working fridge, cycle the mat and fridge and you'll be holding consistent temperatures. However, given how well a fridge is insulated and once its up to temperatures, it will take a significant amount of time to drop a few degrees so the fridge probably isn't required to be connected. I purchased one of these heat mats for use w/saisons but i havent got around to using it other than making yogurt. Given the radiant heat it puts out, great bang for your buck IMO.
how would you use that mat? under the fermenter or around it? it says in there to not have it touching plastic. i'd be worried my fermenter would slowly melt! i guess if on a low low setting though it'd be alright?
 

Yob

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The mats don't put out a melting sort of heat… that said, I keep mine in the shelf in the fridge door, a nice gentle heat.
 

fletcher

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Yob said:
The mats don't put out a melting sort of heat… that said, I keep mine in the shelf in the fridge door, a nice gentle heat.
yeah fair enough. makes sense i suppose.
 

manticle

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For a few years of AG brewing my temp control was as simple as a water bath with ice bricks during hot months and hot water bottled during cold.

Two caveats - the first was that I was mainly a seasonal brewer in melbourne, the second was that I always got the wort to a few degrees below fermentation temp before pitching.

Now I have a fermentation fridge with an stc 1000 and a heat belt draped loosely inside. I have room only for one fermenter or cube so I still do the seasonal thing, I still do the water bath thing and I still make sure the wort is a few degrees below where I want it before I chuck the yeast in.

While you don't want massive swings at any point (including conditioning and maturation) the first few days at the right temp are integral to your flavour profile. Fermentation generates heat so getting the actual wort to the right temp at the start is crucial in my experience. That remains true regardless of heating or cooling methods.
 

i-a-n

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A couple of weeks ago Aldi had a washable fleece blanket with heating elements and controller, a snip at $30 Or so I thought.

The wife has nicked it.
Back to the drawing board.
In cold old England a brew belt was plenty good enough.
 

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