Fermenting in the Winter

Production methods from starch to sugars.

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SwampShiner
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Fermenting in the Winter

Post by SwampShiner » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:01 am

Hello

So I build a "HotBox", outside, near my shed, from a big crate lined it
with closed cell foam. It's 42" high, 46 inches wide and 44 inches deep.
I'm told R7.5/inch for a total of R42 top and R35 sides and R20 door and
floor. It's heated via a 60 watt light bulb with a tin covering. Regulated
using a Thermostat set to maintain 85.

Last week, I made 2 10 gallon batches of UJSSM (with a Yeast Bomb starter)
and put them away at 105 degrees. My buckets aren't airtight so the
airlocks didn't work. I lifted the lid and heard a whole lot of crackling
though. Seemed to run for 6 days. Temp was running hot at 95 for 2 days, then
85 for 3 days. The last day the temp dropped to 75 and now it's at 65. No
more fermenting sounds. I'm thinking it's done. MY last few run of UJSSM all
seemed to take 5 or so days. That was back in July/August, when it was in
the 80's outside.

Have to finish the 12 gallon Pot to get it all distilled down.

I'm wondering how other people are doing fermenting in the winter? Not so happy
with my "Hotbox" I'm thinking more insulation on the doors and maybe the sides.

rad14701
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by rad14701 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:20 pm

My hotbox is made out of 2" thick foam board... Also have one made out of 1" thick foam board stored somewhere down in the barn...

You might just need a higher wattage bulb to throw more heat when the thermostat is tripped...

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BoisBlancBoy
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by BoisBlancBoy » Mon Dec 01, 2014 6:58 pm

I agree. Need a little more for a heat source. Your insulated really well so just bump your best up and you should be just fine.

ShineRunnah
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by ShineRunnah » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:12 pm

My fermenter sits in my unheated woodshop here in NH, where its about 35°F or so as I type this (ie:its flippin cold!).
My 32 gallon fermenter (rubbermaid brute trash can) is wrapped in R-14 insulation with 2" thick foam board over the lid and under the barrel. I run a 250watt aquarium heater in it, and it maintains temp very well. I like this method as the heater has a thermostat and it stays where I put it.

If you're going to run a "hot box", you may want to go to a pet shoo and look at the reptile heaters. They have infrared coil heaters that screw into lightbulb sockets and throw off a good amount of heat. May be worth checking out.

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Coyote
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by Coyote » Mon Dec 01, 2014 8:16 pm

I have discovered that my best heat choice
Is a small, inexpensive, oil filled 110 v heater.
Very consistent, and easy to control, even when
We have had temp swings in the past two weeks
Of as much as 40 degrees in a single day.

Cheap to run as well

Coyote
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T-Pee
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by T-Pee » Mon Dec 01, 2014 9:26 pm

Coyote wrote:I have discovered that my best heat choice
Is a small, inexpensive, oil filled 110 v heater.
Is that the one that looks like an old steam radiator?

tp

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Shine NOLA
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by Shine NOLA » Wed Dec 03, 2014 9:20 pm

has anyone ever use an old refrigeator ? like welders use to keep welding rods in?
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NZChris
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by NZChris » Thu Dec 04, 2014 12:31 am

Winter and summer, I use old refrigerators. Our winter ain't quite as cold as yours and I have to wrap them with old duvets and sleeping bags when it gets too frosty or too hot. A lazy bugger's incubator, they come complete with doors, insulation, sometimes working refrigeration, sometimes not, and they are free from friends and recyclers. Add a controller and a couple of lamps for heating to a working fridge and it''ll run whatever temperature you want all year round.

rad14701
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by rad14701 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:50 am

I have a fermentation refrigerator in the barn but it hasn't been used for that purpose in years... Also have a recently decommissioned chest freezer in the basement that I could use if I wanted to heft carboys up out of it... On the fence over that one...

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T-Pee
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by T-Pee » Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:54 am

rad14701 wrote:Also have a recently decommissioned chest freezer in the basement that I could use if I wanted to heft carboys up out of it... On the fence over that one...
If your ferments are north of 5 gallons, the idea of hefting them out of a chest cooler just makes my back hurt. Bad positioning right off the bat.
Add the weight and :!:

tp (ergo freak)

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Coyote
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by Coyote » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:34 am

Coyote wrote:I have discovered that my best heat choice
Is a small, inexpensive, oil filled 110 v heater.
Is that the one that looks like an old steam radiator?
Yep! That's the one. Works like a dream.
The back of the Man Cave is 8' x 8' x 3' in an old walking in cooler
4" insulated walls made of galvanized sheet metal.
Holding 77 degrees is pretty simple year around. I put a cheap thermometer
on the wall at 5" above the floor and use it as my temp level because
the oil heater wants to measure temp at 24 " above the floor, where I have
no fermeters

Coyote
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"Speed & Greed have no place in this hobby"

rad14701
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by rad14701 » Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:58 pm

T-Pee wrote:
rad14701 wrote:Also have a recently decommissioned chest freezer in the basement that I could use if I wanted to heft carboys up out of it... On the fence over that one...
If your ferments are north of 5 gallons, the idea of hefting them out of a chest cooler just makes my back hurt. Bad positioning right off the bat.
Add the weight and :!:

tp (ergo freak)
I have 6 and 12 gallon carboys, hence my trepidation... :think:

DFitz
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by DFitz » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:08 am

I've been using a "hot box" now for a couple years during winter months. It's inside my shed. Considering the amount of space it takes up I consider it wasted space. I'm going to put my brute barrels inside of 55 gal plastic drum, fill the drum with water and drop a tank heater into the 55 gal drums. There are two choices I'm considering, livestock tank heater placed inside the drum under the fermenter or a fish tank heater in the drum. These can be stored outside the shed when not in use. My conditions seem cramped and I believe this will offer better results in a smaller space.

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ga flatwoods
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by ga flatwoods » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:56 am

Ha! I live on the coast. Built myself a box 48"x30"square last weekend. Moving wrap paper is insulation. 60 watt light bulb has mash at 92f! 1.064 to 1.020 in four days. Me thinks it works well!
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Bushman
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by Bushman » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:31 am

ga flatwoods wrote:Ha! I live on the coast. Built myself a box 48"x30"square last weekend. Moving wrap paper is insulation. 60 watt light bulb has mash at 92f! 1.064 to 1.020 in four days. Me thinks it works well!
Ga Flatwoods
GA must be early in the borning as I never get 48 x30 as a square, are you saying 30 x30 x48?

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ga flatwoods
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by ga flatwoods » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:12 pm

30" wide x30"x48"high and yes. See you knew what I meant!
The hardest item to add to a bottle of shine is patience!
I am still kicking.
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S-Cackalacky
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by S-Cackalacky » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:16 pm

I'm using a corrugated cardboard appliance box with a wood frame inside that has a plywood floor. It sits up off the concrete floor in my basement on four plastic milk crates. I built it toward the end of last winter and did a couple of ferments in it. It will hold four 5 gallon buckets. I use a 60W bulb for heat. At this point it has no insulation - just the cardboard. It seems to work pretty well for my basement. I bought a temp controller and have it set up to use this winter. If it doesn't hold the heat well enough, I have some 1 inch foam insulation to put inside. Anyway, gets me through the winter.
Every new member should read this before doing anything else:

rad14701
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by rad14701 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:31 pm

I've had good luck with a simple cardboard box in the past... My first hot box was made from two stacked cardboard boxes with a light fixture in a metal can and a thermostat...

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S-Cackalacky
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by S-Cackalacky » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:43 pm

Before I built the box I have now, I used a cardboard box that one 5 gallon ferment bucket would fit down inside. Nothing fancy - I just set the bucket down inside and closed the top flaps. Compared to ferments without the box, it worked great.
Every new member should read this before doing anything else:

Fidget
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Re: Fermenting in the Winter

Post by Fidget » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:40 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:Before I built the box I have now, I used a cardboard box that one 5 gallon ferment bucket would fit down inside. Nothing fancy - I just set the bucket down inside and closed the top flaps. Compared to ferments without the box, it worked great.
Even just cardboard would prevent wind chill blowing in the fermenter....wind chill is the thing that gets me, I would rather be out in minus 10 with no wind, than 3 degrees c with heavy wind!

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