Author Topic: Fermentation Chamber  (Read 2374 times)

Offline flbrewer

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Fermentation Chamber
« on: November 26, 2014, 03:37:10 PM »
I'd like to start considering a proper fermentation chamber for the garage. As I understand it my options are;

-made from scratch
-refrigerator
-freezer

Am I missing anything? Which option requires the least amount of work, budget aside?



Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2014, 04:04:47 PM »
Freezer or fridge are easy. All you need is a temp controller.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2014, 04:08:56 PM »
I figured the freezer may not work as it only is able to get up to a certain temperature, far outside of the range of ale fermentation. How would a temp controller be able to change that?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 04:11:19 PM »
I figured the freezer may not work as it only is able to get up to a certain temperature, far outside of the range of ale fermentation. How would a temp controller be able to change that?


The temp controller has its own thermostat and switches the power to the unit on and off. You plug the freezer/fridge into the controller, set the freezer/fridge to a cold or coldest setting, and the controller takes over. Most have short cycle protection to keep your compressor from going bad too soon.

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2014, 04:14:38 PM »
Why do I see a lot of videos of people taking insulation out of the 'fridges and freezers?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2014, 04:24:22 PM »
I dunno. Maybe they are rigging the existing thermostat. An external controller is by far the easiest and least permanent solution.

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2014, 04:38:56 PM »
Why do I see a lot of videos of people taking insulation out of the 'fridges and freezers?

Wow, I've never even heard of that!  I use a 14.8 cu. ft. chest freezer with this controller...



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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2014, 05:08:47 PM »
Why do I see a lot of videos of people taking insulation out of the 'fridges and freezers?

Trying to fit a fermenter where it normally wouldn't? Just a guess.
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Offline flbrewer

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2014, 12:04:00 AM »
With the temp. controllers, do you have to submerge the probe into the beer? Tape it on the side of the fermenter?

Offline Stevie

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Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2014, 12:10:38 AM »
Your choice. I use a thermowell that measures the beer temperature directly. A thermowell is basically a long sealed off tube that houses the probe in the beer. While most probes are waterproof, a thermowell is the better choice.

Plenty of people stick it to the side with some insulation such as bubble wrap or foam. The insulation allows it to measure the beer more than the air in the chamber.

Both options work well.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2014, 12:13:57 AM by Steve in TX »

Offline flbrewer

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2014, 12:18:15 AM »
What about sticking the probe into a nearby beer bottle of water?

Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2014, 12:23:01 AM »

What about sticking the probe into a nearby beer bottle of water?

People do that as well. The logic is the liquid has a larger thermal mass compared to the air. The downside there is the fermentation itself is generating heat and could be higher.

I've done this in my keezer to keep it from running so often. It runs longer, but less often.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2014, 01:02:22 AM »
I would not stick the probe in a seperate thing of water. You are trying to measure the temp of your fermenting beer, which will be warmer than the bottle of water because the action of fermentation causes heat. I have a 14cf chest freezer with a Ranco version of what Denny posted. It fits 3 6 gallon buckets easy and I fit two 30L Speidels in easy. I tape a square chunk of foam (yoga mat) to the side of the fermenter and tuck tge probe between the foam and the fermenter at a level where the beer is. The freezer plugs into the controller. Then I tape a medical type heat pad to one wall inside the freezer, one without an automatic off switch, and that plugs into the controller. You set the controller to the temp you want and walk away. The nice thing about a chest freezer is that when you open it all tye cold air doesnt spill out (cold sinks, hot rises).

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2014, 02:30:26 PM »
I only have single stage controller and a chest freezer. To raise temperature on my lagers for a D-rest, I set the rest temperature, say 65F, fill a couple gallon water jugs with hot tap water and put them in the freezer. If not enough heat added, I repeat the process the next day. Not set and forget, but it works fine. Got the idea from the many who add frozen water bottles to a cooler or a chamber to drop the temperature, so hey, doing the opposite works too!
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Chamber
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2014, 02:35:50 PM »

I only have single stage controller and a chest freezer. To raise temperature on my lagers for a D-rest, I set the rest temperature, say 65F, fill a couple gallon water jugs with hot tap water and put them in the freezer. If not enough heat added, I repeat the process the next day. Not set and forget, but it works fine. Got the idea from the many who add frozen water bottles to a cooler or a chamber to drop the temperature, so hey, doing the opposite works too!
Done this as well. It works just fine. After an early cold snap I finally caved and bought a ceramic reptile bulb setup.