Heating things up… adding heat to the fermentation chamber.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  Mine was awesome, my family all lives out of town but I was able to see everyone earlier in the week and then on Thanksgiving Day I had invites to join two groups of friends for dinner.  I shared some of our Horsey Holidays Horse Pop, which was a hit, and ate and drank until I couldn’t move.  I was able to roll myself into my easy chair with a glass of bourbon and a cigar and called it a night.  Good times.

Horsey Holidays - Tis' the Season

Horsey Holidays – Tis’ the Season

A little while back I shared my info on wiring up the STC-1000 temp controller for heating and cooling a fermentation chamber.  At the time there was no need to add heating but now that temps are dropping it’s a necessity.  After researching a few options I originally went with a small space heater in order to help circulate the warm air.  This worked great for about a week but then the heater died, after sitting overnight the heater started working again but I didn’t trust it to keep our beer safe, so I added a Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Lamp to the chamber.  It’s been going for a couple weeks now and is holding rock solid.  Note that there are a couple types of reptile heat lamps, this one is ceramic and emits no light, probably the better choice for a fermentation chamber.

Fermentation Chamber with Heater

Fermentation chamber with heater.

Close up on the heat lamp

Close up on the heat lamp.

As you can see from the chart below, there was minimal variation in temps throughout the fermentation process.  I started the fermentation at 62°F (all temps converted from °C) for a couple days then ramped it up to 64°F.  The temperature range once the controller was set to 64°F was 63.68°F to 64.40°F, a variance of only 0.72°F  over a 2 week period (not counting the heater dying) and never more than 0.40 degrees off the target of 64.0°F.  Pretty impressive control.  I was also impressed that the heat lamp was able to pull the temp back to 64°F in <12 hours.

Click chart for full size image.

Fermentation Temperature Chart

Fermentation Temperature Chart

We’re getting ready to rack the beer onto some fruit for secondary fermentation this weekend and we’ll monitor the process with temp control there as well.  I’ve read/heard a thousand times that temp control is the biggest change a homebrewer can make to affect the quality of their beer.  This brew is a huge IIPA so I’m can’t wait to see what we get out of it.  We’ll report back once the beer is ready.

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One thought on “Heating things up… adding heat to the fermentation chamber.

  1. Pingback: Racking, tasting and testing. | The Mostly Harmless Brewing Co.

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