Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: beerrat on September 17, 2010, 03:46:16 PM

Title: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: beerrat on September 17, 2010, 03:46:16 PM
I have a refrigerator/freezer for my kegs and beer, and do not want to buy another one, just to maintain fermentation temps.  Want one to do ales and lagers (of course, not at same time)

My thoughts are to use a fermentation chamber (insulated plywood box) that had some means to be cooled by adjacent refrigerator.  Either via air (like: http://www.franklinbrew.org/members/sj/ferm_chamber.html) or chilled fluid; either using fan/pump and temperature controller.

I think the added benefit of this is saved floor space by using the adjacent refrigerator.

Thoughts from those whom have done this?
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: Hokerer on September 17, 2010, 03:59:16 PM
Thoughts from those whom have done this?

Haven't done it yet but that's exactly my plan as soon as I get my freezer - tired of monitoring/swapping frozen water bottles.
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: tschmidlin on September 17, 2010, 04:09:01 PM
I haven't done it yet either, but am planning something similar right next to my keezer.  The trickier part for me is the return, since they will be at the same level (I'll cut through the collar).  I don't think I'll have a problem with cold air spilling into the space, but in order to make sure the air will circulate throughout the space when the fan is on I'll put in a little duct to move the return to the bottom.  I think it will work out well.
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: hamiltont on September 17, 2010, 05:45:51 PM
I built a "Fermentation Box" a little over a year ago.  It really works great!! I tested it down to 32F & it had no issues. I don't run it like that though.  ~64F for Ales & ~50F for Lagers & use the kegerator for lagering.  Here are a few pics...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/46231362@N06/4246602176/in/photostream/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/46231362@N06/4246602176/in/photostream/)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/46231362@N06/4245829449/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/46231362@N06/4245829449/)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/46231362@N06/4245829907/in/photostream/ (http://www.flickr.com/photos/46231362@N06/4245829907/in/photostream/)
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: euge on September 18, 2010, 06:03:55 AM
I'd been thinking along those lines... Hamilton- nice work on the mini-walkin cooler! No place to put one however unless I build something outside ala Jamil Z.

I'm going with a TEC assembly and thermostat if I can get the price down. That way I don't have to swap ice-packs just like other guys.
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: hamiltont on September 19, 2010, 10:32:12 PM
I'd been thinking along those lines... Hamilton- nice work on the mini-walkin cooler! No place to put one however unless I build something outside ala Jamil Z.

I'm going with a TEC assembly and thermostat if I can get the price down. That way I don't have to swap ice-packs just like other guys.
When I initially researched it there was a guy that converted a metal storage shed. He just added a lot of insulation. If I recall he lived down south where it got pretty hot, but the shed stayed nice & cool.  Cheers!!
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: henrythe9th on September 24, 2010, 08:18:03 PM
Just finished my box but went with the "mother of all design"  15cuft chest freezer
 http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/The-Mother-of-All-Fermentation-Chillers

can get the top within 5 Deg f of the bottom,  three in one box,  cold storage, keezer, fermentation cambers   can hold 6 carboys or 2 1/2 kegs (fermenters) and 2 carboys. and  6 corny kegs in the bottom
http://s142.photobucket.com/albums/r81/henrythe9th/ferm%20box%20build/?mediafilter=images
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: Mark G on September 24, 2010, 08:25:05 PM
Very nice work. I've been trying to figure out the best way to piggyback a ferm chamber onto my freezer, and never thought of up top. Hmm.
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: Gary Glass on September 30, 2010, 10:09:30 PM
It's been a very long time since I took thermodynamics.  Anyone have a calculation for determining how many BTUs of cooling power would be needed for a fermentation chamber?  I've seen some online for choosing an air conditioner with various parameters for size of room, windows, etc, but I don't think those are really applicable here, since with a fermentation chamber you may wish to cool to 30 deg. F.
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: henrythe9th on September 30, 2010, 10:25:36 PM
you can by pass the internal window a/c temp controls and use a Johnson a419 or the like to get the temps down  Google= Fermenting box/room builds
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: corkybstewart on October 01, 2010, 12:57:50 AM
http://s362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/my%20beer%20stuff/?action=view&current=WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg

I built this and it uses a $100 AC.  I recently brewed my Kolsch at 57F internal temp(note thermowell made from old keg diptube) while the garage was around 100F.  The AC probably runs less than 10 minutes per hour.  I used 2 inches of styrofoam and 2 layers of the foil bubble wrap.
Title: Re: Fermentation chamber ideas
Post by: beerrat on October 01, 2010, 04:38:09 PM
You all have given me some fantastic ideas!  I'm leaning towards a built out chamber sitting next to a refrigerator and kept cool using air from the refrigerator via fans, PVC pipe, and temp controller.  Seems fluid, pumps, and copper coils would add too much complexity.  Keep more ideas coming ;-)