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Keep your carboy warm this winter!!

Submitted by: Jon C. on October 22nd, 2003

This is for all of us who can't store our fermenting beers inside this winter. I haven't actually proven that this is going to work yet, but I have just built a plain old wooden box large enough to hold three 6.5 gallon carboys in my garage. After it was done, I installed a light fixture like you would see in your attic or basement. As the temps. get colder, you can just increase the wattage to accomodate the temps you need. If you get down below 10 degrees F, you could even use a heat bulb like you would find in a bathroom ceiling. Something else that would probably help too, just purchase some half inch styrofoam insulation and nail it to the inside of your box. then it takes less to heat or cool it!!

I hope this works, because my wife is tired of triping over my carboys.


8 Comments Posted
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Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Oct 22nd 2003, 02:14 am
I have a 8"x6" room in my garage insulated for reloading and beer/wine storage. I use a cheap electric space heater with a thermostat type setting and leave it at approx.55 degrees. I cant tell a difference on my light bill and it works all thru the long wyoming winter. If it is consistantly cold like here it works great for lagering and gives the fridge a rest. Remember, it takes five times more BTU's to cool than to heat.
Comment by: madmatt192 reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Oct 22nd 2003, 09:05 pm
Jon, do you think that the close proximity of that amount of light over a long period of time could damage your brew?
Comment by: g reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Oct 23rd 2003, 05:15 am
The light would.... but I have old sweatshirts that I use to slide over the carboy to keep them warm :D

And you're right about the lagering.... This cabinet is just easier for me to keep at 65 degrees for ales and ciders, etc...
Comment by: bull_dog805 reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Nov 9th 2003, 05:19 am
I am new to this site but I have a very good suggestion for this problem. If you live near a feed store that sells chicks or other farm supply they have a very cheap thermostat that you can purchase for around $15.00 or under. It is used to control the temp for new chicks. I know cause I built my own incubator and it was very cheap. You just wire it to your heat source and put a thermomoter in the box and adjust it with a screw. If you find the thermostat it is very self explanatory.
As far as the light struck problem you might be able to build a small half box around the light so that most of the light dosn't hit the carboys.

My stratagy this winter is to brew enough beer in the house to piss my wife off enough to let me build a bar and game room where my old rickety garage stands now. Good luck with your stratagy but I hope mine works well.
Comment by: John Monroe reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Feb 6th 2004, 03:17 am
I use a small plug-in heating blanket. my basement is the perfect lagering temp, however, too cold for ales....

i will tape the heating blanket onto the side of my carboy, and depending how much of the surface of the blanket I tape to the carboy, i can cotrol the temp of carboy within 2 degrees throughout the ferment. I've never needed to use anything hotter than the "lo" setting......

yes, I make ales during winter and lagers during summer.

I do things the hard way
Comment by: beezil reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Mar 3rd 2004, 10:28 pm
Along the same lines - I'm currently using a heating pad to keep some electronics warm through the cold Colorado winter. I made a box with a shelf in the middle. the heating pad sits in the below the shelf (which is full of holes) and the electronics sit on the shelf. Has worked well (temps down to -5F). Seems like a similar set up would work to keep carboys warm without the light issue...
Comment by: Nate reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Feb 1st 2005, 03:47 am
Our basement is quite cool in the winter (58 degrees)so I built an insulated shelving unit with door using foil bubble wrap, foam and some rockwool insulation. My heat source is a light bulb wired to a dimmer switch and a baseboard thermostat. I adjust the temperature using a thermometer and it works great.

Comment by: Mad Dog reply to comment
Re: Keep your carboy warm this winter!! Nov 23rd 2005, 05:22 am
Simplicty is sanity. Keep it in the closet. My wife is uptight about heating costs, so our apartment is normaly in the low 60s. One closet, One old aquarium stand, old bar-stool, small space heater, and a couple of small clip fans to keep things nice and even, and Kabam! Eighteen gallons on the bubble at a perfect 68 degrees (at least 'till April!). I suppose for all of you who are lucky enough to have a basement or garage could probably install a small, insulated chamber much like a closet... I was always under the impression that "light is an enemy".
Comment by: Roo reply to comment