After you’ve mastered your brew day brewing practices such as water chemistry and mash temperature, you’ll want to shift your focus elsewhere for the best tasting homebrew. The temperature your beer ferments at plays a huge role in flavors as well. Throwing your fermenter into a fridge or chest freezer is a good start. However, you’ll need to use a temperature controller to make sure the beer doesn’t get too cold. Here are some of the best temperature controllers for homebrewers.
Best Single Stage Temperature Controllers
There are two types of temperature controllers available. Single stage controllers only control one element, usually heating or cooling, depending on what they are plugged in to.
For homebrewers, a single stage temperature controller is more than enough for use with a fridge or chest freezer to keep temperatures from reaching a certain temperature and not varying too drastically from it. The downside is that you can’t add a heating element to raise the beer temp for saisons or sour beers. Single stage temperature controllers work by cutting off or activating the power from a chosen element based on a newly defined temperature range, rather. So instead of your fridge turning off when the temperature reads 35F, you can instead have it turn on when it gets to 67F and shut back off at 63F
Johnson Controls A421ABG-02C
- Electronic Single Stage Temperature Control, 120/240 VAC, UL TYPE 1, IP20, SPDT, with 12 amp power c
- Featuresa lockable front-panel touchpad for setup and adjustment, and a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
- Replaces the popular A419 Johnson Control model with upgraded technology.
Johnson Controls produces several excellent temperature controllers for homebrewers. This single stage unit is efficient, reliable, and easy to use. This temperature controller works with either heating or cooling elements and allows for a programmable range. If you’re not exceptionally technical, controller’s plug and play setup is as simple as it gets.
DIGITEN Digital Thermostat Outlet Controller
- Large LCD screen, glare free and eye protected, plug and play design, standard U.S. outlet, can be...
- The temperature sensor is made of silicone, is waterproof with high quality, high-accuracy
- Easy to use and program; Only 2-step settings for your application, and plug and play design.
One of the key benefits of single stage temperature controllers is their ease of use. The DIGITEN Digital Thermostat Outlet Controller is just that. Simply plug the controller into the wall and the appliance into the controller, follow the simple programming setup, and you’re ready to ferment. Just like the Johnson single stage temperature controller, the DIGITEN model works with either heating or cooling elements.
Best Dual-Stage Temperature Controllers
Dual-stage controllers work by controlling two elements at once. Usually, in a homebrewer’s case, this means a fridge or chest freezer, and a light bulb or light duty heating element. They require a bit more when it comes to programming as each stage will have its own operating range to prevent the unit from constantly switching between heating and cooling. Also, each plug is labeled with heating and cooling, so you need to ensure that the right appliance is plugged into the appropriate outlet.
Bru Success®: Fermentation Temperature Control Kit
If you’re looking for an awesome all-in-one kit for flawless temperature control, we highly recommend the Bru Success kit. Apart from the great dual-stage temperature controller, the kits also includes:
- ThermoStar® Digital Temperature Controller
- Fermotemp Electric Fermentation Heater
- ThermoStar 12 Stainless Steel Probe
- 6.5 Gallon Siphonless Big Mouth Bubbler® Plastic (x1)
- Big Mouth Bubbler® Universal Dual Port Lid
- Big Mouth Bubbler® Carry Harness
- Small Universal Carboy Bung (x2)
- Three Piece Airlock
- 3 ft of 5/16 transfer tubing
bayite Temperature Controller BTC201
- Manual has been updated for easier comprehension. This controller uses independent heating and...
- Controls both a heating and cooling/refrigeration device at the same time. This controller can also...
- Waterproof sensor, high/low temperature alarm, and automatic power-on delay to protect compressors
The bayite BTC201 has one of the largest temperature ranges in its class, with a controlling range of -58F to 230F. While a huge portion of that range isn’t needed for homebrewing purposes, it goes to speak to the unit’s durability. Once you wrap your mind around how the temperature ranges work (which you’ll need to do for any dual stage controller), the BTC201 is very easy to set up and adjust. There are two holes in the back for easy wall mounting.
Inkbird ITC 308 Temperature Controller
- [Convenient Design] Plug and play, easy to use. Support °C/°F display.
- [Dual Relay Output] Be able to connect with refrigeration and heating equipment at the same time.
- [Dual Display Window] Be able to display measured temperature and set temperature at the same time.
This unit is one of two Inkbird units that are extremely popular among homebrewers. The ITC308 is a plug and play style dual stage controller. It’s easy to set up, and since it’s highly used in the homebrewing community, there are several online guides for troubleshooting in homebrewing settings. It has a temperature control range of -58F to 210F with an accuracy of 0.1F. You can also program delays to prevent issues with compressors burning out from switching on and off too frequently. A single screw is needed to mount the unit on the wall.
Inkbird All-Purpose Dual Stage Temperature Controller
The Inkbird All-Purpose includes many of the technical specs from the 308 when it comes to range and accuracy. The unit itself is one of the cheapest temperature controllers on the market. The caveat is that you have to do all the wiring yourself, but if you love DIY projects or are at all handy with electrical wiring the All Purpose can be a great way to go. Again, there will be plenty of guides online regarding setting up the Inkbird All Purpose for homebrewing.
All of the featured temperature controllers are excellent at keeping your fermenting homebrew at the ideal temperature. If you’re new to homebrew temperature control, starting off with a single stage controller is an attractive option and setup is a breeze.