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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * March 08, 2004 * Warming refrigerator for fermentation < Previous Next >

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keith bosker (67.101.202.38)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 08:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I live in Chicago and brew outdoors in the summer. The weather here has been so nice lately that I want to get a jump on brewing. My problem is I've been banned from fermenting inside the house. I have a refrigerator in my garage but the temps at night still dip into the 20s. How can I heat up the fridge so it stays a constant 65 degrees. Will a 100 watt light bulb do the trick? Should I suck it up and wait for warmer temps outside?
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 08:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ideally you would buy a two-stage controller and connect a light bulb (or a reptile heating bulb from a pet store) to the heating side, and the fridge to the cooling side. However, a single-stage controller is less expensive if you don't mind changing it back and forth from heating to cooling during March when it can be 0 F or 70 F depending on the vagaries of the weather.
 

ELK (67.164.195.57)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 09:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would work on the real problem. And that is why can't you ferment indoors?
 

keith bosker (67.101.202.38)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 10:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I do have a temp controller on the fridge that I bought at the LHBS. Could I leave the bulb on constantly while the fridge turns on and off to regulate the temp? Ahh, the real problem. I've had a few incidents that have scarred my wife. One involved excessive blowoff and a colony of ants and the other was a broken carboy full of beer. That one was ugly.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 10:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Leaving the heater on would increase the load on the compressor as well as electricity consumption. If you have a single-stage controller that is switchable between heating and cooling, I would disconnect the fridge and plug the controller into the heater at night and during cold snaps.

Unattached garages are usually very poorly insulated. There can be a lot of difference in temperature, especially between clear nights and sunny days. Fortunately the insulation in the refrigerator walls and the heat latency of the beer works somewhat to counter that.
 

ELK (67.164.195.57)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 10:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I didn't think about those little sugar ants..And I can only dread cleaning up 5 gals of fresh wort..Beer can be drunk off the floor.
 

Belly Buster Bob (131.137.245.199)
Posted on Wednesday, February 25, 2004 - 10:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ask around to friends for a water bed heater. Wrap it around carboy/bucket with the temp bulb inside the wrap. They work surprisingly well. Mine kept my brew within a 2 degree range in a garage fridge just like your situation. Now I use a small ceramic heater bulb

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