Author Topic: Fermentation Chamber suggestions  (Read 717 times)

Offline paulthbrit

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Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« on: June 29, 2015, 11:06:53 PM »
Hi - I have brewed about 25 five gallon batches and have decided it is time to get a better handle on controlling fermentation temperatures.  I am in New Jersey and brew in a basement.  In the summer the temperatures are too hot and in the winter too cold.  I use a 'Brew-belt' heat tape around the fermenter in the winter, but when the furnace kicks on the temp rises to high.  Conversely I am brewing a Kolsch now and the temperature is around 74F when the target temperature should be 67F.

I have looked into a chest freezer as an economical way to control temperatures and have bought a temperature controller with 115V heat/cold outlets.  The question I have is that I have realized that a chest freezer, or a small fridge, is not ideal since the fermenter has to be moved onto a counter to rack into a keg or bottling bucket.  That would stir up the sediment. 

How do others handle this?  At the moment the fermenter is on a workbench so I simply rack off the beer when fermentation is complete without disturbing the fermenter.

I am interested in your suggestions.  I am up to building something like the 'Son of Fermentation' chamber out of the rigid foam insulation, but do not want to rely on bottles of frozen water for cooling as I travel during the week and need a 'plug and forget' type system. 

Thanks,

Paul

Offline Stevie

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2015, 11:10:47 PM »
My SOP is to lift the fermenter out of the freezer, use my elbow to knock the lid down, put fermenter on lid, rack. A bit of the sediment does get stirred up, but after a few minutes most will settle back down. RDWHAHB.

Offline johnnyb

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2015, 11:19:20 PM »
What kind of vessel do you ferment in?

I just did my first transfer using CO2 pressure to push the beer from my better bottle into the "out" side of a keg and it worked great. You could also use this method to go from one better bottle to another if you wanted to secondary.

I'm not sure how well this would work with buckets.

People do use it with glass carboys but you need to be careful since they are not made to be pressurized.


Offline paulthbrit

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2015, 01:23:14 AM »
Interesting suggestion Johnnyb.  I ferment in plastic carboys so I would be worried about them bursting.  I like the idea of using CO2 to eliminate oxygen though!

Paul

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2015, 03:04:22 AM »
I found a large wine refrigerator in late winter for $50.00.  I purchased the refrigerator as a lager fermentation chamber.  It was a little dirty when I picked it up; however, a little soap and water fixed that problem.  The refrigerator clearly saw little use in its old home.  I bypassed the built-in thermostat and use a Johnson Controls A419 to control it.  The refrigerator is large enough that a 5-gallon better bottle fits between the compressor hump and the front door without modification.  Unlike a freezer, a refrigerator has a built in condensation trap.


Offline euge

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2015, 11:38:14 AM »
I have two 7cf chest freezers and can do nearly a barrel at a time. I lift bucket fermenters out in a similar fashion and worries about sediment are overblown. Let them settle for a few minutes while you ready your equipment.

Before you pull anymore triggers step back and think a bit longer. Ask some more questions and think about the direction you want the brewery to go in equipment-wise.

If you want to move up to a conical system eventually you'll want an upright setup, and they are much better for some of the larger/taller fermenter systems.

Years ago I never planned on using conical fermenters but now want to convert. This means a major retrofit to my brewery and $$$. And I'll have to sell the freezers to make room.

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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2015, 12:48:15 PM »
I use better bottles in a chest freezer and just lift them out carefully when I need to transfer.  I also put them in milk crates so I don't compress the BB when lifting.  On kegging/bottling day, I'll take the carboy out and put it on the table, then the time I spend setting up my keg, mixing up sanitizer and getting everything ready to go is enough for the small amount to resettle.
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2015, 03:28:30 PM »
Interesting suggestion Johnnyb.  I ferment in plastic carboys so I would be worried about them bursting.  I like the idea of using CO2 to eliminate oxygen though!

Paul

I use CO2 to transfer from my Better Bottles.  They won't burst, but if you over pressurize the will lift a little as the punt pushes downward.  Never had them crack or leak, but there's probably a weak spot in them now...
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline denny

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2015, 03:52:03 PM »
I lift it out of the chest freezer onto a nearby table.  No problem stirring stuff up.  You're worrying about something that just isn't a problem.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2015, 03:57:43 PM by denny »
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Offline johnnyb

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2015, 05:04:29 PM »
Interesting suggestion Johnnyb.  I ferment in plastic carboys so I would be worried about them bursting.  I like the idea of using CO2 to eliminate oxygen though!

Paul

I use CO2 to transfer from my Better Bottles.  They won't burst, but if you over pressurize the will lift a little as the punt pushes downward.  Never had them crack or leak, but there's probably a weak spot in them now...


How much pressure did you use? I only used about 1.5 PSI and that actually forced me to keep my hands on the carboy cap to keep it from popping off. But the better bottle itself didn't seem to be under any stress at all.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Fermentation Chamber suggestions
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2015, 05:11:20 PM »
Dunno.  Too much.  I gave it a short blast but the regulator was probably at 5 psi or so.  Maybe more.  I use an air gun attachment and cram it into the carboy cap.  Sometimes I get lazy and try to feather the air gun to control the pressure.

The BB lifted slightly and then settled right down.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton