1 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 4:30 PM

Hi everybody , I am using 2 fishtank heaters and a heatbelt for my 3plastic fv's . The heat belt is used in the beer fridge for lagers currently. I have stc 1000 ‘s controlling each heat source independently.
I’m just wondering what the experienced brewers use as a heat source , whether inside the brew , out side the brewor ambient temp .
Is there proven better sources of heating around these days. It would be good for me to hear from as many brewers as possible to get an idea of what people are using. Thanks Brett

2 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 5:31 PM

I use yeast.
Fermentation in the chest freezer heats itself up enough for me.

3 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 6:16 PM

Thanks for that Ben .much appreciated but I only have one beer fridge and the other 2 fv's have to sit out on the shed bench in 10 degrees roughly with a drop sheet on . but I guess a smaller invironment would work as you say.

4 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:05 PM

Dunno mate, perhaps make lagers?

5 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:18 PM

I just wanted some feedback on what others use to “heat ” with, so I could get some better ideas .Are there others brewers out there using fish tank heaters ? That brew in open spaces and rug up there brews or are there better alternatives . regards brett

6 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:50 PM

If you're making lagers, 10C is actually about the perfect temp for them. I'd leave them out in the ambient and use the fridge and heating to brew ales.

Unfortunately for advice on this subject I'm in much the same boat as Ben. It does get colder here than where he lives, but I find that I don't really need heating except maybe on one or two batches a year. In those cases I just boil water in an Erlenmeyer flask and stick it in the fridge, with the opening at the top covered by foil. It works fine, but if I needed heating more often then I'd be looking into something electrical to use with the STC.

7 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 7:52 PM

Hey mate,

This is what I do. I am in Sydney by the way and do everything in my garage.

Doing lagers in winter I have it in my fridge with no heat whatsoever only cooling. The yeast activity keeps the temp at a level that only the occasional cooling is needed. Once the fermentation starts to slow and the brew starts to cool from lack of activity I get it out of the fridge onto the bench then wack the heatbelt on and gradually step it up to ~18c to let it finish off. For ales in the dead of winter I usually the heatbelt on the bench to keep it at the temp I wish ~18c and then step it up to 20-21c to finish it off.

In summer I do both ales and lagers in the fridge with only cooling as no heat is needed and when they get close to finish I just get get them out and let the ambient temp finish them off usually.

Would not use a fishtank heater in my brew. Too much chance of infection and not really required. The cheap heat belt works a treat.

As Ben said. A confined space fermenting will often be enough to keep heat up. Even in 1c nights in sydney my fridge has been cooling lagers down to 10c. Not getting below that.

8 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 8:26 PM

Thanks Kelsey and greeny much appreciated advise , and I agree with Ben as well as I have the beer fridge that will only fit 1 25 ltr fv so that's that taken care of but the other 2 ( disaster stout) and a coopers IPA need a bit of heat. So was just putting it out there to see how others cope . doesn't sound like fish tank heaters are very popular these days .Due to infection as greeny says I might try and invent a heat belt jacket type arrangement maybe that I could throw over it and loose the fish tank heaters. They work so well though.

9 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 9:36 PM

Last winter I put a heat belt on one of my FV's using an STC 1000 as temperature control.
Then I wrapped it up in an old blanket. That seemed to do the trick.

I was going to put a stout on this week and probably do the same as I have another brew in my fridge.

10 Posted: Wednesday, July 19, 2017 10:18 PM

Yeah cool graculus thanks mate ,I really appreciate your post

11 Posted: Monday, September 04, 2017 9 AM

FV Heaters. Hi this is my first time brew in years. Day one after setting up, I'm doing the Bewitched Pale Ale, got good fermentation, current ambient temp is 16deg. I have read about “heat belts.” Where do you get those from? or is 16deg ok?

regards Felix

12 Posted: Monday, September 04, 2017 2:57 PM

The yeast that comes with the Bewitched Amber Ale brew can is a blend of lager and ale strains. It will be quite happy at 16C and will still chug along down as low as 12C.

Brew Can Yeast info

13 Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 8:37 AM

The make-shift method I use to very good effect is a laundry tub full of water and a low-power aquarium heater. This has been giving me pretty good control, and… recently it got a WHOLE lot better when I started covering the entire tub and FV with a large beach towel. Temperatures under these conditions remain absolutely stable - within the resolution of my digital thermometer… i.e. 0.1ÂșC.

I've spent a bit of time in the past monitoring temperatures closely using make shift methods and I guess it comes as no surprise that good insulation is paramount. As Ben has mentioned the yeast itself while fermenting usually generates enough heat and as long as the FV is in a well-insulated environment this can often be enough. If the insulation is really good then the thermal mass of the brew should continue to hold the temperature reasonably well even as fermentation abates. However, brewers often like to raise the temperature toward the end of fermentation, in which case you will need an external heating source to achieve that.

14 Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 8:46 AM


FV Heaters. Hi this is my first time brew in years. Day one after setting up, I'm doing the Bewitched Pale Ale, got good fermentation, current ambient temp is 16deg. I have read about “heat belts.” Where do you get those from? or is 16deg ok?

regards Felix

Hi Felix. You can get heat belts at home brew shops, or online. I would only (and do) use one in conjunction with a thermo regulator like the STC 1000 types, or the pre-wired Inkbird types as the built-in regulator it set to keep the temp 10F above whatever ambient is, so it will swing around too much. Also, it only produces 15 watts of heat. That works well in my house, but if you are brewing in a shed, it might not be enough.

@ plagondrikum, if your conditions are such that 15 watts are not enough you could consider a stainless steel aquarium heater with built-in thermo regulator. While I am not a fan of drilling a hole in the lid to feed an aquarium heater directly into the brew, their thermo regulators tend to be pretty accurate. The hole has to be big enough to admit the heater itself or cord end, whichever is smaller in your location. Then you are left with a big hole. What I did to fill it was slice one side of a bung to create a collar for the cord, then used Blue Tack to seal the gap at the top between the cord and the bung hole. I recommend a 75 watt heater.

Inside my brew fridge I use cheap strings of red mini-Christmas lights, which are incandescent, from the Dollar Store, but they don't last long because of the humidity in there. I am thinking of switching to reptile heating cords, which I think Headmaster might have recommended. Pricey and bulky though, if you need more than 15 watts, which I do.



15 Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 11:22 AM

Hi plagondrinkum

I use 25watt 5 metre reptile heater cables, like an electric blanket without the blanket. The only get warm to the touch because 5 metres long. no hot spots like a heat belt,

Used to be able to buy on ebay for $11 delivered, but cant find them that cheap any more.

I jam it in the bottom of my fridge, in crisper area 130lt westinghouse fridge only bar fridge, and use a computer fan to circulate are inside the fridge, use STC1000 to control the temp.

On a power meter it tells me this system is using on average 6 watts to keep the brew about 8 degrees c above outside ambient temps.

I also use them in broccoli foam boxes to condition beers in winter, under the house, also using a temp control. If I dont use a temp control, the 25w will overheat the beer pretty fast in the insulated environment of the fridge or the broccoli box.

16 Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 11:35 AM

I looked for one of those reptile heaters Headmaster is on about the other week.
The prices seem to have shot up since I bought one 18 months ago.
I've attached mine to the side of the fridge with suckers we had to put up Christmas lights.


or I was going to buy this one from Hong Kong, but you'll have to get a Aussie plug adaptor that can be found for $1.


17 Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 7:06 PM

Thanks for the great advise guys, Stand alone My brew is sitting on a constant 18deg.


18 Posted: Tuesday, September 05, 2017 7:06 PM

Thanks for the great advise guys, Stand alone My brew is sitting on a constant 18deg, which I think will be ok???? let you all know how it turns out.


19 Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 8:16 PM

Long time since I heated my FV. Little need after I learnt to alternate between lager and ale yeasts. Before that, I used a swamp cooler in reverse. Call it a swamp warmer. Place your FV in a tub of water, and then place your aquarium heater in the tub of water, not in the wort! No infection issues, and it worked!

Last edited by pacman (Wednesday, September 13, 2017 8:16 PM)