Thursday, January 20, 2011

Fermentation Control

Although we’ve made significant advancements in recipe design and brewing practices since the first time we brewed, some of the largest improvements have come from fermentation control.  Whereas before we would ferment at ambient temp with rudimentary devices to prevent the wort from overheating (water baths, wet rags draped over the carboy, etc), nothing compares to the dialed in control that we’ve achieved with a dedicated fermentation chamber.

After purchasing this fridge off of Craigslist for 40 bucks or so, we cleaned it, gutted it, and installed our heating element.  Rather than going with a conventional heater, we used the uneven floor space to install a series of light bulbs with a fan to recirculate the air. Air is pulled in from the port on the right, flows over the light bulbs, and then out through the fan port on the left. It was cheap, and it works extremely well.  

All of this is controlled by an external control panel consisting again of two Love Control temperature switches.  By having control of both heating and cooling, we can ferment at the exact temp we want regardless of the time of year (since this chamber is in my non-temperature controlled garage).  

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