Page 1 of 1

temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:24 pm
by PC1
My barrels are in an uncontrolled outbuilding. I need to control mash temp. Im considering building a styrofoam box for the barrels, but what should I use for a heater? Waterbed heater? Aquarium heater? any suggestions?

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:53 pm
by greggn
PC1 wrote:
Thu Jun 18, 2020 2:24 pm
My barrels are in an uncontrolled outbuilding. I need to control mash temp. Im considering building a styrofoam box for the barrels, but what should I use for a heater? Waterbed heater? Aquarium heater? any suggestions?
Depends on your ambient temperatures. A well insulated box may need nothing more than a household lightbulb. I don't have an insulated box but my fermenter lives in an indoor closet so a seedling warming mat, wrapped around the barrel, works fine.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:21 pm
by NZChris
Yeast provides more than enough heat to look after itself as long as you don't let too much escape. I sometimes have to loosen off the insulation and point a fan at fermenter with a wild ferment going in it.

Heat rises, so be careful if you use an aquarium heater or a band without agitation. I don't use them. Check the temperature at the bottom.

If you use two lamps wired in series, you will have less trouble with blown lamps caused by the on and off switching of the controller. I've never had a pair of lamps fail when connected in series.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:41 pm
by seabass
I've been using reptile heater bulbs. I've been using a 60w bulb for the last year. When I replace it, I'll go with a lower wattage. Maybe 30-40 watt. I think 60 is overkill in a chest freezer chamber.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:52 pm
by tubbsy
My fermentation chamber (2'x4') is insulated with wall batts only and uses a single 60w light bulb hooked up to a STC-1000 for heating. It easily maintains a temp about 20C above ambient. I haven't bothered with cooling, so the light doesn't even come on for the first 24 hours due to the heat produced by the yeast.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:24 am
by dmachura
I've been using simple on/off temp controller and a length of heat tracing {make sure that the tracing doesn't have a thermo switch on it}. Put the temperature element in the mash and you can control the temp exactly.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:45 am
by NineInchNails
I like to use FlexWatt. Wrap it around the drum, insulate the drums and use a decent temp controller with probe inside your fermenter. Their connectors are worth using. I've done it with & without their connectors and I'll always use them from now on.

12" FlexWatt is 23W per foot. That means it has a safe, low watt density per sq' unlike aquarium heaters.

Now FlexWatt will take care of low temps, but obviously won't help for high temps.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 9:47 am
by greggn
NineInchNails wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 4:45 am
I like to use FlexWatt. Wrap it around the drum, insulate the drums and use a decent temp controller with probe inside your fermenter.
How durable is that wrap ? I use a seedling heat mat, which I'm sure uses a similar heating element, but is encased in a fairly thick plastic shell. I think my current heater is nearly two years old and it's taken a lot of manhandling during wrapping/unwrapping.

Re: temp control for mash

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:23 pm
by NineInchNails
It's plenty durable. It's really really flexible. I've used this stuff often and never had a single issue. I've used it inside of refrigerators to make a warm box with a temp controller and it has no problem getting up to 90F. It would have no problem heating a drum as long as it is well insulated.