Heating Pad For Fermentation

So I was forced to move my fermentation bucket from my second bathroom to my basement because we had “people coming over”. No need freaking them out too with my constant airlock sniffing. Moving my fermenter to my basement did pose a problem though. My basement’s ambient temperature has been hanging around 50F due to the return of a classic New England winter.

I knew the basement temps were not going to fit into my yeast’s optimal fermentation temps (65F to 70F)…so after 7 days of rocking a constant 68F…I had to figure out a way to keep the bucket in the right temperature range in the cold basement.

First, I wrapped my fermentation bucket with a thick towel to keep in the heat the yeast was producing on its own. Then, I got an old heating pad, placed it on a chair, turned it on to the “Low” setting, and set the fermenter on top of it.

After 3 full days of using this set-up, I was able to keep the temperature of the bucket in the 67F-68F range. Nice.

Some my thoughts:

  • I set the whole thing on a chair so I get away from the cold concrete of the basement floor.
  • The towel also kept the heat generated from the heating pad from escaping
  • The towel also kept light out…no direct sunlight in the basement but we have fluorescent bulbs that probably aren’t good for a young beer.

The more I brew and the more I strive for making beer, I feel the next step in improving my technique comes from nailing down good fermentation procedures. Not sure if my makeshift heating rig really worked, but the thermometer is giving me good signals.