Maintaining Fermentation Temps in Colder Weather

FermWrap Carboy HeaterPIctured: FermWrap Heater via MoreBeer

Fermentation temperature has a lot to do with how your finished beer turns out.

As seasons turn, turn may need a boost to keep fermentation temperatures up.  Here’s a roundup of some of the available options out there along with some related reviews and resource posts

Fermentation Heaters and Warmers

  • The FermWrap heater [via MoreBeer(pictured above) is attached to your fermenter using tape.  Directions (at least as of this posting) say that it is okay to use this in conjunction with a carboy bag.  40 Watts.  Ability to raise temperature from 5 to 20 deg F from ambient.  Additional sources (for similar devices, may not be identical, read each product page for description and specifications) – Adventures in HomebrewingFermentation Heater by The Weekend Brewer via Amazon,  Homebrew Fermentation Heater via Amazon, Fermentation Heater via eBay
  • Fermentation Wrap Heater [via Brew Hardware] – when this is in stock it can be a stellar value, as of this update it is available for just $16.  Check Brew Hardware for current price and availability.
  • The Brew Belt [via love2brew] – These are more for use with fermenter buckets and are not recommended for use with glass fermenters.  Specifications say that this can raise the temperature of your fermenting vessel 5 to 10 degrees from ambient.  Additional sources (for similar devices, may not be identical, read each product page for description and specifications) – Adventures in Homebrewing, Brew Fermentation Heating Belt via Amazon, Brew Belt Heater via William’s Brewing
  • Brewer’s Edge Space Heater [via William’s Brewing] – brewer's edge space heaterfrom William’s “The Fermentation Space Heater draws only 25 watts of power, yet is powerful enough to keep a small enclosed insulated area (25 cubic feet or less) 20° warmer than the surrounding air. This means you can, with the heater plugged into the Controller II, precisely heat a closed refrigerator, freezer, or other small insulated area. Even if your refrigerator is in an unheated garage that gets down to 42°F. during the winter, you can still brew an ale that requires a 60° – 65° fermentation temperature. This heater is not an immersion heater, and is not intended to be installed on or under a fermenter. 8” by 12” in diameter, with a 6’ power cord.”
  • Heat Pad for Beer and Wine Making [via Adventures in Homebrewing] – via AIH: “This rigid plastic heat pad for your fermenters and carboys is the ideal solution for cold fermenting and brewing problems. This unit provides ideal temperature for year round brewing, fermenting, and wine making in cold conditions. Convenient and easy to use, simply place on a flat surface, put your fermenter or carboy on it and plug it in.  Supplies constant, steady convection heat (25 watts, 110v) without creating any hot spots, while being very inexpensive to run.”
  • Brewing & Fermentation Heat PadBrewing & Fermentation Heat Pad for Homebrew Beer & Wine Fermenting 120VAC 25 Watt Heating Mat: Safe for Plastic/Glass Carboy & Bucket Fermentors Includes Heater Temperature Strip (12"- 25 Watts) [via Amazon] for Homebrew Beer & Wine Fermenting 120VAC 25 Watt Heating Mat: Safe for Plastic/Glass Carboy & Bucket Fermentors Includes Heater Temperature Strip (12″- 25 Watts)

Temperature Controllers

These work in conjunction with your heating and/or cooling devices to help you control fermentation temperature.  Although this post is generally focused on cooler temperatures, you can gain further control by using a dual stage unit to control both a heater and a cooling device.  That means you should have good control year round.

Combination Units and Bundles

  • Thermovest V2 [via Beer and Wine Hobby] – this unit combines both a warming device and a temp controller in one unit
  • Inkbird C206 Digital Temp Controller & Waterproof Heat Mat [via Amazon] – combo Temp Controller and Waterproof Heat Mat.  The Temp Controller has a range of 50 to 108 degrees F.  Note that the C206 is a HEAT ONLY device.  It cannot control a cooling stage.

 

Related Gear, Resource Posts and Reviews

Whatever you temperature control solution you decide on, proceed with the caution.  Electricity and Heat in confined spaces can pose safety risks.  Make sure all components in your system are designed to work together within each devices stated specifications.  Always follow manufacturers instructions and safety guidelines.

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7 thoughts on “Maintaining Fermentation Temps in Colder Weather

    1. Chris Brewer

      I would go with the medium or large size. I think small could probably swing 5 degrees, but it would be a slower reaction than the medium or large versions.

      Reply

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