Fermentation chamber......finally

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by campbellvt, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. campbellvt

    campbellvt Initiate (27) Sep 29, 2018 Tennessee

    While I can't say I have any questions, I'm always curious how much of a game changer a fermentation chamber and temp control have played for individuals. After many years of brewing and hating myself for letting a lot of beers in primary get up to high 70s/ low 80s during the warmer seasons (which it's fairly hot in good ole TN for the better part of 8 months), I finally bit the bullet, purchased a new 11 cu foot freezer, Inkbird temp controller with 12 stage settings, and put her to use with a new Autumn Saison recipe of mine this weekend! I've been able to keep her right at 66/67 deg so far and couldn't be happier. After years of reading/hearing how much of a difference this made for people, I'm truly hoping I have the same impression. Would love to hear others insight on the difference it did or did not make for them.
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,469) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    IMO, fermentation temp control is right up there with appropriate yeast pitch rates and oxygenating wort to levels appropriate for the gravity. Maybe even more important, depending on circumstances.
  3. Witherby

    Witherby Initiate (91) Jan 5, 2011 Massachusetts

    I think temp control is one of the best investments I have made and I think you'll be happy you bit the bullet. My family roots are in Clarksville (I assume that's where you are) and I can't imagine brewing there without temp control.

    I find it ironic that your first beer is a saison, though, as that is one beer that people seem to let go temp wise and actually wait until summer to brew them!
    thebriansmaude, Minipork and riptorn like this.
  4. campbellvt

    campbellvt Initiate (27) Sep 29, 2018 Tennessee

    I completely agree with that, and there is quite a bit of irony there, however it just happened to be what I had on hand and went with it haha! I am very much looking forward to the results regardless and will keep putting her to the test with various beers/yeast strands to see the ostensible differences. I'm not in Clarksville, but very cool that you have family there. I was a Ft. Bragg dude for most of my time on AD.
    riptorn and Witherby like this.
  5. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (369) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    Decent beer can be made without temperature control. Great beer in fact. That is how it was for the first generations. A really long time.

    Refrigeration has only been widely available industrially for a century and a half. For residents, merely decades. And for homebrewers it has become a practical option fairly recently.

    So, steady temperature control is not a requirement.
    But if you want to be making great, consistent and varied beer it is necessary.

    #5 billandsuz, Oct 1, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
    riptorn likes this.
  6. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Changed my beers for the better than any other piece of equipment.
    riptorn likes this.
  7. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (435) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    Equally game-changing (to me) is a thermowell and a simple aquarium thermometer. You'd be surprised how much ferm temp of different strains/worts can vary. With a ferm chamber and a sensor in the middle of the primary you be the Boss. Simple, cheap, and effective . . . best way to change the game.
    riptorn likes this.
  8. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (730) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Fwiw, I've always had temp control...just not an electronic temp controller for fermentation (used for lagering only)
  9. Prep8611

    Prep8611 Aspirant (250) Aug 22, 2014 New Jersey

    Best heating option in my opinion is a ceramic blower heater for 9 bucks at Walmart. Used it with an inkbird and my chest freezer.
  10. riptorn

    riptorn Initiate (95) Apr 26, 2018 North Carolina

    @PortLargo provided pictures and a detailed description of his setup in this thread starting at post 3 with a follow up in post 7.

    As an alternative to the thermowell, @hoptualBrew in post 8 describes a method that includes, among other things, open fermentation during the first 3-4 days with the sanitized temp controller probe directly in the wort, with no reports of infection. Additional details of the method are included in that post.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.
  11. campbellvt

    campbellvt Initiate (27) Sep 29, 2018 Tennessee

    I will definitely have to check one of those out at Walmart come this winter, that sounds great and easy to manipulate.

    Fortunately I'm using brew buckets with thermowells that I received a good deal on and have the temps dialed in to the tenth of a degree at the moment. I try and avoid using plastic if possible, too many issues a few years back!
    riptorn likes this.
  12. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (795) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    I would agree. It’s either the most important thing, or tied for 1st.

    The relatively recent popularity of exotic yeast that can produce fairly clean beers at higher temperatures, give homebrewers without temp control some cool alternatives that weren’t available when many of us started brewing.

    True, but keep in mind that before refrigeration, beer (at least the beers we are familiar with), were fermented under specific conditions. They only were brewed seasonally during the cooler months, production was limited to a handful of geographical regions, and brewers had all sorts of tricks to cool their fermentations - water cooling, cave cellars, etc.
    so although refrigeration may be relatively new, brewing temp control has been around for hundreds of years.
    riptorn, billandsuz and campbellvt like this.
  13. campbellvt

    campbellvt Initiate (27) Sep 29, 2018 Tennessee

    Well fellow brewers....I can't say I have a ton of empirical data here, but after pulling my first draft from my first fermentation chamber conditioned beer, I'm stoked. Period. Thanks for the encouragement, I'm looking forward to throwing many other styles at it here in the near future and see if they all come out as delectable. (I'm also under extreme expectation bias, so I could probably be drinking carbonated panda piss and would be smiling, especially if it was 7.1% ABV) - Autumn Rye Saison, victim #1
  14. mrjimcat

    mrjimcat Initiate (180) Nov 22, 2002 New York

    I have a cool basement up here in the north so I never used one. But since I’ve started making lagers, my chest freezer with a simple analog controller works really well.
    Mothergoose03 likes this.