View Full Version : Temperature control

03-05-2013, 01:09 AM
Looking into building a fermentation chamber and had a question. When is the temperature control the most important. Primary or all the way through. Reason I ask is I am trying to figure my size. I can maintain 65-72 in the room its in now during the winter but not sure what its gonna do during summer. If I ferment in the cooler then move to the room when I transfer to secondary would that be fine.

03-05-2013, 03:56 AM
I'm not expert, but I'd say primary fermentation.

A cheap idea for you is to use an old, broken fridge. If you have one already then great, otherwise you can usually find them pretty cheap. Then install a heat lamp and a thermostat and viola. My father has this exact set up and it only cost him whatever the thermostat and heat lamp cost. About $30 I think. He got the fridge for free off the side of the street on council pick-up night (dunno if they have them where you live?).

A Stephenson
03-05-2013, 05:11 AM

Its more critical during primary fermentation as the must temperature will increase above ambient room temperature, due to the heat produced by the yeast as a by product.

I don't have much space so I only use a plastic storage container that is big enough to hold my 35 ltr fermenter. I fill it with a little water and keep 2 - 5 L bottles of water in the freezer and place them in the water to keep the must temperature around 20c, once thawed just return them to the freezer and take out another one.

As an example, I am making a mead with Lalvin 71B, ambient temperature was 19c, however the fermentation was so vigorous that the must temperature rose to 24.5c and the yeast became very smelly.
Since lowering the temp to between 18 and 20c the smell coming out of the airlock is very mild and not so pungent.

Secondary fermentation does not suffer from excess heat caused by the yeast and it is generally easier to keep close to the ambient room temperature 65 - 72 is good. Same for bulk aging ambient in your case is good for storage and aging.

03-05-2013, 07:04 PM
Storage temperature is important too. High storage temps and large temp swings will both prematurely age mead (and wine, beer, etc). "Room temperature" is fine for storing finished mead for a couple years. Longer than that and it would be best to have some "cellar temperature" storage conditions.

03-05-2013, 08:53 PM
Storage temperature is important too. High storage temps and large temp swings will both prematurely age mead (and wine, beer, etc). "Room temperature" is fine for storing finished mead for a couple years. Longer than that and it would be best to have some "cellar temperature" storage conditions.

I am on the lookout for a fridge or wine cooler to store them in for the long term but havent found one that meets what I'm looking for yet. Thanks for all the advice guys.

03-05-2013, 10:21 PM
I too was thinking of building a chamber. But also need something that I can store them in as well since room temperature in June-Sept here is 85F.

I'm thinking for the time being a chest freezer will be what I am going to get, then when I know whether I'm staying in this place or moving next year to a different place, I can decided on the chamber design and be better able to accommodate all the beer, mead and wines I'm making (=

03-22-2013, 08:46 PM
Speaking of cellaring...

What is the ideal temperature for cellaring? I'm attempting to do it in a spare fridge I currently have, which on it's warmest setting is 45F (7C). Is this too cold? Should it be warmer since I see a lot of info on 50s (10C) or 60s (15C)?

I'm running out of space in that fridge too, so will need another/better solution soon. Hence the question, so I can better plan as need be.


03-23-2013, 12:23 AM
Others can provide more experience, but I use a Johnson Controls A419 digital temperature controller to maintain my garage refrigerator at 57 degrees F +/- 5 degrees for bulk aging mead and storing red wine. The refrigerator plugs into the controller and the controller plugs into the outlet, with a temperature probe inside the refrigerator through the door gasket. The refrigerator is set to a low setting, but the controller cuts off power to the refrigerator when it gets too cold (52 degrees) and turns it on again at the top end of the range (62 degrees).

I am not sure if this is the exact right temperature range, but I have found the controller works great for maintaing the (5 gallon carboy) mead temperature right at the middle of the range. The controller can be set to any temperature and differential.

03-23-2013, 09:25 PM
I've recently won a temp control device like that. A rancor based device. I just got it yesterday and today, I put it on an AC unit that's in a small room in my garage, that's insulated. I'm currently playing around with it and seeing what it takes to keep it around 68F in there.

I have a fridge as well in the garage that on it's hottest setting is around 45F.

In a couple of months though, I plan on getting a chest freezer for keeping things better under control for fermentations and aging at the least. So, just curious as to if 68F is fine, or should be the mid 50s, and if mid 40s is too low?

Lots of questions and learnings on all of this!

03-24-2013, 08:01 AM
"Cellar temperature" for long-term storage is generally considered to be about 50-55 F. Humidity control is important as well if you are going to be using permeable storage--barrels. In kegs/carboys, humidity isn't much of an issue and will mainly affect your airlocks.

Temperature range is also important. If you can, you want the temp (whatever it is) to be pretty consistent. It's generally better to age at 65 than to have swings from 50 to 65. And generally, the higher your storage temp, the faster things will age.

03-24-2013, 04:28 PM
50-55F is 10-13C
For fermenting though, you need much higher, say 20C
As such you'll need two chambers anyway so just focus on one ;-)

03-29-2013, 02:15 AM
You dont need a heat lamp, any incandescent bulb will do. Play around with different wattages until you get a temp you are happy with.
I guess it also depends if you are heating or cooling.
I build an arduino/SSR powered thermostat a while back that works fine, it can heat and cool to an adjustable temperature. In winter I have a bulb plugged into it's tail, in summer I plug the freezer into it. I have only used this for seed raising and creaming honey, but am eyeing it up for my next ferment also. You can buy a similar device here for about 50NZD from the brew shops.