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Hello and Fermenter Heating Question!

 
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michaelgiesbrecht



Joined: 31 Jul 2019
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jul 31, 2019 9:10 pm    Post subject: Hello and Fermenter Heating Question! Reply with quote


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Hello all, new member, long time lurker and electric brewery user here. I'm working on expanding my fermentation capacity and got some 50L sanke kegs which I plan to convert over. I've been looking into methods of keeping the wort warm in the winter (will be in my garage which kept just above freezing). I'm planning to flip the kegs upside down and cut a hole in the bottom (which will become the top of the fermenter) for a corny style lid, then install a cooling coil and some TC hardware through the top and sides for thermowell, ball lock connections, etc. The former sanke coupler end becomes a bottom drain that can be closed off with 2" TC hardware.

This comes to my crazy idea - has anyone considered (or attempted) using an electric element similar to what we use in the BK/HLT inside a fermenter?? Was thinking that I could stick one up through the bottom using a 2"TC to heating element fitting; and control with an SSR/STC-1000.

Am I insane?
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10133
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum!

I think the major concern would be keeping it perfectly clean/sanitary. Normally you want to keep the insides of your fermenter(s) as 'simple' as possible to avoid any place that nasties can hide. Same is true for any cold side brewery equipment.

This is not an issue on the hot side as everything is boiled anyway.

Kal

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michaelgiesbrecht



Joined: 31 Jul 2019
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kal! I think I have a solid plan for cleaning/sanitizing; I'm going to go ahead and give it a try and I'll report back whether it was a bad idea or not.

Cheers!
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10133
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Off the top of my head, I think one issue may be the non-gentle manner that heat is presented. The heating element may get very hot before the temperature probe shuts it down, causing hot spots around it that could kill the yeast or cause excessive fermentation (before the yeast gets hot enough). You'd have to make sure to issue heat slowly and gently I would think, like using a very low power heating element and/or running at much reduced voltage.

My 2 cents.

Kal

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michaelgiesbrecht



Joined: 31 Jul 2019
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right down my line of thinking - going to look for the smallest 240V all stainless element I can find, run it on 120V; and use a slow PWM cycle on the SSR to keep the 'on' time low which should keep the heating pretty gentle.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10133
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

Kal

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