Brew belt or heating pad or ????

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reeflections

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I want to have more temperature control of my primary ferment bucket. It's a 10 gallon plastic bucket (see pic) and I typically ferment 6 gallon batches.

The pads seemed to be the most efficient but I have seen some pics of burned plastic floormats that give me pause.

I would love to hear of anyone's experiences with pads vs belts, added thermostats, insulation, etc..

Also, how well would those stick-on temp gauges work with this kind of bucket?

51pgf03ogKL._SL1000_.jpg
 

Rice_Guy

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I would strongly argue for a system where you are measuring and controlling temperature
My set up is an ink bird which is an accurate relay on a few feet of thermistor. Mine is rated 220 volt BUT THE INSTRUCTIONS ALSO LISTED 110 volt. Walls are foam board, heat is a $4.50 miniature electric heater from Goodwill. Heat load is minimal at a 20 or a 25 F delta T, therefore an incandescent should also work, ,,, if I was concerned about light I would put the bulb set up in a coffee can and use a porcelain fixture.
View attachment 72984
If you control the liquid less than 80F a plastic fermentor will not melt. The must inside will soak up the heat. A lot of food containers have a melt point above 200F and some plastics as teflon / silicone are above 300F
 

Khristyjeff

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I've used this (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B07GWY847D/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) which gives you great control of temperature (note it doesn't cool, just maintains the heat you set). The only thing I get tired of is taping the wrap to the fermentor. (***Note*** the link shows unavailable, but I believe I saw other similar items on Amazon.)

I still use this setup when needed, but I just tried out a heat belt (https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B001D6IUB6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1) that doesn't have a temp controller, but maintains the contents from maybe around 68-78*. I was kind of surprised how a thin belt could warm up the wine throughout, but it did a very good job. It takes longer to get to the desired temperature range than the wrap, but is much, much easier for me. I could see where 2 on one fermentor could be necessary on occasion.

So I will continue to use both, as this removes a variable that I don't have to worry about, and to me it's relatively inexpensive. But I plan to use the belt as often as it makes sense considering the fermentor I'm using and the wine that I'm making. Overall I like it better.

Regarding your question about burning of plastics, neither of these pose any threat of that in my opinion. They just don't get hot enough.
 

sluff

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I use the Inkbird ITC-308 for temp control with the sensor probe inside a stainless steel thermowell. I use both a heat pad (brand name "Propagate Pro" under the bucket and a brew belt (Northern Brewer Fermotemp). I use 4 pieces of blue painters tape to tape the brewbelt to the bucket. Been doing it this way for years. Works great!
 

toadie

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I will second the heat pad and inkbird controller! I don't know if the 10 gallon pail is too big for most fermentation chambers but that is way to go if you have the space.
 

mikewatkins727

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I have used a Roughneck tote filled with water into which I put the fermenter. Add an aquarium heater (sized for the amount of water in the tote). I suppose if there is a need because of use or temperature one could insulate the tote.
 

Wayne Freeman

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I use an Inkbird, a brew belt AND a brew pad. Both are necessary because my winery is a small room under the entryway stairs next to the garage and it's between 55 and 60 degrees F year 'round. Great for storage, not so much for brewing.
 

reeflections

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Well thanks to all for all the info. I'm now trying to take it all in and figure what will work best for me.

I hope this thread will help others in the future as well.
 

JustJoe

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I use a heating pad that is for starting plants. It never gets more than warm to the touch. In my basement it is about 60 f in the winter and 68 in the summer. The pad warms my 10 gallon fermenter by about 8 degrees. If I need more heat I put a cardboard box around it but the fermenter always sits directly on the pad. The temp gets up to about 70 - 72 f max.
 

Eddy Monsoon

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InkBird sensor hangin in the middle of a 2nd Hand Fridge

Rarely need a heat pad in my part of Australia, but just put it inside the fridge when needed
 

Wayne Freeman

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The only thing I get tired of is taping the wrap to the fermentor. (***Note*** the link shows unavailable, but I believe I saw other similar items on Amazon.)
I use these big silicone elastic bands to hold the Inkbird sensor to the fermentor. They're a little too large to hold tightly, so I add a little block of wood between the band and the fermentor on the other side from the sensor to tighten it up a bit. I could also just tie a knot in the band to shorten it. They would be perfect on a 10-gal. fermentor, but mine are only 5-gal.

Grifiti Big-Ass Bands 18 x 1 2 Pack Insanely Stretchy Jumbo Size for Art, Cooking, Wrapping, Exercise, MacBooks, Bag Wraps, Dungies Replacements, and
 
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