Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Any hardware used for mashing, fermenting or aging.

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Paulinka
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Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by Paulinka » Thu Mar 19, 2015 11:10 pm

Dear Friends,

here I share my barrel's plans, it works very well in a cold environment, gives a precision temperature control with much less electricity consumption than heating blankets/carpets/belts or air-heated box solutions. Even when the surrounding temperature was way below freezing point in the winter it made no difference to the fermentation-period.

Sewer pipes are made from a chemically resistant material, and silicone-glue (which is used to fix the cap) is food-safe, however, the heatpipe can be swapped to a capped stainless steel pipe with a diameter of at least 4" if you feel it to be better.

Heatpipe doubles as a stirrer, just circle it around and your ferment is mixed, it is useful if one use flours for AG recipes.

The setup is very cheap and scalable, pipes can be bought at any home-improvement or DIY chain, and there is wide range of submersible heaters at any petshop. Safety caution: always make sure to plug those in only when submerged to water, and never put them directly in the mash/wash/brine.

I hope you find it as useful and reliable as I found it, for me starting to use this setup was a giant leap towards guided fermentation.

Cheers,
Paulinka
inkasbarrel800.jpg

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pfshine
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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by pfshine » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:48 pm

Neat idea. I don't know why you wouldn't just put the heater in the mash. I also wouldn't just use any ole waste pipe. If it ain't hdpe it ain't going in my drink. Lots of pipes sold at these places like abs which is nasty stuff. Either way I just put blankets on with the element in the mash.
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Brutal
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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by Brutal » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:03 pm

i just stuck my aquarium heater straight in the mash. Seemed to do ok but with your method it would get closer to the bottom (I mash on the grain) and as you say can be used to stir the mash a little. May try it.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Paulinka
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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by Paulinka » Sat Mar 21, 2015 11:11 pm

pfshine wrote:Neat idea. I don't know why you wouldn't just put the heater in the mash.
Thanks. Direct contact with a thick, sugary AG-wash results in a carbon layer on the heater almost instantly. I hated scraping it down, even after multiple spraying with grill-cleaner foam there were spots of burned flour on it. Other than that (dealbreaking) issue, a secondary heating medium with expanded volume and surface helps in a more smooth transition between temperature changes, which provides the yeast a less stressful environment (thus less heads in the distill).
pfshine wrote:I also wouldn't just use any ole waste pipe. If it ain't hdpe it ain't going in my drink. Lots of pipes sold at these places like abs which is nasty stuff.
Apparently this is not the place to be a devil's advocate on certain plastics, and it is a good point you highlighted, only safe plastics should come in contact with anything. However, the abs (which in fact has a very creepy name: acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, CS-gas came to my mind when I first saw it written), you mentioned is safe enough to be used as a color in tattoo inks, also Lego is made from it, which, quite often, has a bath in kids' gastric acid and contact with digestive enzymes, different intestinal bacterii, to leave the system intact. http://www.diffen.com/difference/ABS_vs_PVC

Both plastics are resistant to chemical and water degradation and neither of them are biodegradable. The sewer pipe I use is made from PVC-U, unplasticized pvc, it is used for conveying potable water and many food or dairy products (which are, more often than not, slightly acidic). Yes, an SS pipe is safer, but not that more safer in the fermenting environment and temperature to justify the cost difference.

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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by MDH » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:32 pm

ABS is not what I would call an impurity free plastic at higher temperatures.
The still is not a liar. Mash and ferment quality is 99.9% of your performance.

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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by rad14701 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:17 pm

You would get far more efficient thermal transfer if that heat pipe was copper or stainless... :idea:

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Brutal
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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by Brutal » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:51 pm

rad14701 wrote:You would get far more efficient thermal transfer if that heat pipe was copper or stainless... :idea:
+1! I do have a couple lengths of 2" hanging around, and I think I have a cap too!
Paulinka wrote:Direct contact with a thick, sugary AG-wash results in a carbon layer on the heater almost instantly. I hated scraping it down, even after multiple spraying with grill-cleaner foam there were spots of burned flour on it. Other than that (dealbreaking) issue, a secondary heating medium with expanded volume and surface helps in a more smooth transition between temperature changes, which provides the yeast a less stressful environment (thus less heads in the distill).
I read about people getting stuff stuck to their aquarium heaters but mine was just fine. I have a glass one, 150 watts.
Steam injection rig http://tinyurl.com/kxmz8hy
All grain corn mash with steam injection and enzymes http://tinyurl.com/mp6zdt5
Inner tube condenser http://tinyurl.com/zkp3ps6

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Paulinka
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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by Paulinka » Mon Mar 23, 2015 1:23 pm

MDH wrote:ABS is not what I would call an impurity free plastic at higher temperatures.
I would never use ABS at high temperatures. Right now I use PVC-U at 20-25C. Nothing leaks out, that plastic is designed for transporting foodstuff and drinking water.
rad14701 wrote:You would get far more efficient thermal transfer if that heat pipe was copper or stainless... :idea:
Soon I will have to make a visit to my welder to order a tailored ss standing pot I plan to use inside my potstill (my absinthe is made by steam-distillation, a pot-in-a-pot method) so I will order a capped ss tube too to use at winter for AGs.

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Swedish Pride
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Re: Inka's Heatpiped Fermenter

Post by Swedish Pride » Wed Mar 23, 2016 12:27 am

good solution to your problem, as always well documented too Inka :clap:

I just stick the heater in the fermenter, at times some small piece of grain have got stuck but not a major drama for me, i'm not using flour as you are though, just grains
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