Mini fermentation chamber for yeast starters and bottle conditioning

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Simonh82

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I've just made a yeast starter from a slant. As the cell count from a slant is pretty low I wanted to keep the starter happy by keeping it nice and warm. Our house is not exactly well insulated so temperatures in unheated rooms drop significantly over night.

My half arsed answer was a mini fermentation chamber in a cardboard box. I was lucky that I had both a spare Inkbird and a spare 60W heater knocking around. I also had a large cardboard box from my last grain delivery. A few bits of gaffer tape later and voila, a fermentation chamber to keep my starter nice and warm.

I set the target temperature to 26°C and made the heater kick in 3°C below that. The probe was just hanging in the air space. This meant it cycled through a temp range from 23-29°C over about half an hour, keeping the starter nice and warm.

I've now got a crate of bottles conditioning at 22°C. I think I'll be keeping hold of this box for the time being!
 

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Hone_Brew

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Just Googled this as thinking of a wee chamber for staters. Need to do a design, but I plan to use a computer fan to act as a stir plate and also to circulate the air. Need a really low powered heater. Give me something to think about at work!!!!
 

Dutto

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I love innovative uses of stuff. Herewith my very first Fermentation and Carbonation Chamber. aka The Contraption by SWMBO. It was also heated with a 40W tube heater and controlled by an Inkbird ST1000. Amazingly, it worked!

Contraption 2.jpg
 

gudders

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Hey guys, I have turned an old kitchen double cupboard into an FV, lined with 25mm polystyrene. My STC temp ranges from about 16 down to 11. I have attached the probe to a glass and plastic bottle and am getting similar results. It seemed to be more consistent with two fermbuckets in it.

You have mentioned yours hangs in the air, is that more accurate? I though the glass/plastic would retain the heat better.
My 50w tube heater seems to cycle on and off as in runs hot then cold to the touch - is it timing out?
 

Dutto

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There is no way that an STC should vary more than 0.2*C so something ain't right.

The Inkbird TC has a variety of corrections that can be made so, if that is what you are using, "Read the Manual".

When fermenting a brew (as opposed to carbonating) I stick the probe into a "V" shape cut into an ordinary sponge and then clamp the "V" and the probe up against the FV, using he handle of the FV.

For carbonating I hang the probe (still inside the sponge) in the air-space of the fridge near the bottles, Growlers or PB.
 
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gudders

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Do you think the area is too large? Standard floor double kitchen cupboard.

The heater can be cold to the touch or warm, so i think it might be cycling on/off to avoid over heating. However I thought they designed to be left on continually to boost ambient temperature for a whole greenhouse/garage. Is that stop the area frosting over?

I placed some hot water bottles in the area and the temp boosted up to 14 but seems to be slowly falling.

Just checked on it now and its cold so the boost in temp has solely come from the HWB. Unplugged stc and heater, just trying the heater straight into the socket now. Give it an hour see whats happening. Does homebrew count as an essential reason to be out!
 

gudders

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EDIT - the heater has been at an angle and vertical position, looking online this could cause problems. YMMV as some one had it purposefully in vertical position for 9 months no issue. I've not had mine for 4!
 

Dutto

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If the heater doesn't have a temperature adjustment at the end then it must be at a pre-set temperature. This is usually set at about 5*C so that there is no "frost damage" in a greenhouse. It is generally impossible to change.


Another type of heater (like the one I use even with the Inkbird) has an adjustable thermostat and the heating can therefore be adjusted; but fairly coarsely. I use the 40W version of this one.


I increase the thermostat in winter and decrease it in summer so that the Inkbird doesn't overshoot/undershoot the set point.

Enjoy.
 
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