Author Topic: fermentation chamber  (Read 4116 times)

Offline jimrod

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fermentation chamber
« on: December 16, 2010, 12:06:49 AM »
Does anyone have some smart plans to build a fermentation chamber? Besides a chest freezer.
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Offline euge

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2010, 12:19:49 AM »
I use a plastic tote from Walmart that costs $10. IIRC it's the 30 gallon. Holds two 7.9 gallon fermenters.



and with a few frozen plastic bottles it stays nice and cool.

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Offline dzlater

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2010, 07:02:29 AM »
low tech
Dan S. from NJ

Offline oscarvan

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2010, 07:28:19 AM »
Yeah, but how about temperature fluctuations?

Heat is easy...... blanket with a controller in an insulated box.

Cooling is more complicated. I've been toying with the idea of an insulated box and putting it next to the keggerator and "borrowing" cold air from the freezer through a small duct with in line fan and controller.....
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Offline andrew

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2010, 08:04:41 AM »
I just use a simplified swamp cooler. Not pretty but it gets the job done. I have a couple of shallow plastic bins in a closet with about three inches of water, towels over the carboys wick up the water, and a small fan causes more evaporation. It keeps the carboys about 10 degrees under the house temp. With our recent cold and dry airmass my house temp dropped to 70 and my amber went down to 55. Had to shut off the fan to let it crawl back into the 60s.
Andrew Tingler

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Offline hokerer

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2010, 08:06:15 AM »
I use a box in a separate subchamber that can hold up to a dozen frozen water bottles.  A little cheapie computer fan on the outlet of the box controlled by one of those Home Depot thermostats (properly modified, of course).
Joe

Offline madscientist

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2010, 08:21:20 AM »
The frementation swamp cooler is the low-tech, low cost way to go.  This past summer, it was hot as hell, and the closet I use to ferment my beer (one bedroom apartment) didn't really go below 80 degrees.  By using Euge's method, I was able to take a 10 gallon tub, and fit a bucket in there nicely.  I poured in some water, and a good deal of water bottles.  I also put an old tshirt over the bucket so it would draw up the cool water.  The water was around 58-60 with all the ice bottles, and it kept the beer fermenting at around 68F.  It's a little bit of a pain moving it from my kitchen and cleaning it up when a batch is done but it worked.  I want to add some fans and some reflectex/insulation.  The other downside was that it did sweat a lot on the really hot days.
Homebrewed since 2010

Offline oscarvan

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2010, 08:26:45 AM »
My problem is that I can frequently not attend things for days at a time..... Have to have something that takes care of itself.
Wooden Shoe Brew Works (not a commercial operation) Bethlehem, PA
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I brew WITH style..... not necessarily TO style.....

Offline tumarkin

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2010, 08:34:42 AM »
the swamp cooler approach is quite workable. I did that for a long time using gallon milk jugs 3/4 filled & frozen. put one in in the morning and then swap for a new one in the evening. works very well. however, if you want to leave it for days, best get a refrigerator or freezer and a temp controller. that certainly gives you the best fermentation control as you can dial in your preferred temp for yeast & style  and hold it. yes, it's more money... but you know you're gonna go there sooner or later. why fight it?
Mark Tumarkin
Hogtown Brewers
Gainesville, FL

Offline hamiltont

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2010, 08:43:25 AM »
Here are a few pics of a box I built a while back. I used a 5250btu AC unit that I bought on clearance at Walmart and a Ranco Digital Controller. The temp probe rests against the outside of the conical with foam insulation around it so the probe is measuring beer temp and not ambient temp.  Cheers!!!





« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 09:33:29 AM by hamiltont »
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Offline dzlater

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2010, 08:44:20 AM »
I fill mine up with water to the level of the beer.
With the AC in the summer set at 70 and the heat in the winter set at 68 it holds
temps pretty stable. I cool the wort to around 68 and pitch the yeast. Set it the tub with water
in the low 60's. I just put a thermometer in the water bath and try and keep it around 64 for the first
couple days and then just let it free rise it never goes above 70.
I really don't have to futz with it to much.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline tygo

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2010, 09:30:55 AM »
I go with the swamp cooler approach for most of my ales and use frozen water bottles.  After some trial and error I can usually keep the fermentation temp down around 62F if I want to swapping them out morning and night.  But it is a pain in the butt.  I have a little chest freezer that I use for a fermentation temperature but it's usually got one lager or another sitting in it.

Another chest freezer for kegs is in the future at some point and that will really help to free up the fermentation chamber since I'll lager in the serving freezer.
Clint
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Fermenting: Wit
On Tap: Lucifer's Hammer Golden Strong Ale, Dopplebock, Old Fuzzynut's Ale

Offline madscientist

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2010, 10:16:33 AM »
I actually won't have to use my swamp cooler for the next few batches.  Said closet is holding steady at 58F.  Should keep the beer right in the low 60s. 
Homebrewed since 2010

Offline dzlater

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2010, 07:00:29 AM »
Dan S. from NJ

Offline given2fly

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Re: fermentation chamber
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2010, 06:18:57 AM »
My bunker might be a little big for your purposes, but here is a link to my fermentation chamber which can hold roughly 6-7 carboys:

http://given2flybrewing.weebly.com/the-bunker.html






I've also built fermentation coolers (at very little cost) that work just as well:

http://given2flybrewing.weebly.com/fermentation-cooler.html

« Last Edit: December 21, 2010, 06:25:50 AM by given2fly »