Ingenious solution to alter fermentation temperature in the 3-in-1
One of our customers recently designed a clever solution for raising fermentation temperature in his 3-in-1. Fermenting in his basement, which is 56F, he needed to raise the temperature in his 3-in-1 in order to maintain his target fermentation temperature. Rather than heat his whole basement and waste energy, or use tap water (wasting water and energy), he devised a setup using a common Igloo water cooler, ETC and a pump. Inside the water cooler he has a water heating element that is controlled by an ETC keeping his water warm. When the water starts to cool, the ETC turns the element on until the water is warm again. A second ETC was used to monitor the temperature inside the 3-in-1. When the temperature drops below fermentation temperature, the second ETC switches a pump on to bring warm water from the Igloo, into the jacket of the 3-in-1, warming the wort/beer. After transferring its heat to the fermenter, the water leaves the 3-in-1 and is returned to the Igloo where the heating element warms it again. When the desired temperature in the 3-in-1 is reached, the ETC shuts the pump off. Very clever indeed!
On the reverse side, if looking to maintain lagering temperatures and one doesn't have a cool basement, cold municipal water can be ran through the jacket (since municipal water is under pressure one would only need the ETC to open the Chilling Water Controller which would be connected to a municipal water supply. Or if municipal water is not cold enough, a water chiller such as can be seen here or glycol chiller can be purchased.
I have also read about someone removing the chilling coil from an old refrigerator in order to build a custom beer chiller. I imagine the chilling coil could be used in the system described above to provide chilling water to maintain lagering temperatures or even just ale fermentation temperatures on hot summer days. Or with a bit of propylene glycol in the water, one could use a freezer coil to chill the water below freezing, and use it to crash cool the 3-in-1 after boiling.