Author Topic: Summer Lager Temp Idea  (Read 671 times)

Offline gmac

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Summer Lager Temp Idea
« on: April 07, 2011, 08:33:28 AM »
What do you guys think of this idea?

My house is basically sitting on springs (the water type, not the boing - boing type).  Because of this, I have cold water running through my footing tile 365 days a year.  The water is clean cold and probably drinkable but I'm not going to do that.  What I am considering though is opening the backflow access hatch in the cold room and putting a line in with a small pump that would pump the water into a coil (basically make a cooling coil) that would be big enough to encircle a 5 gal keg.  Then, I'm thinking put the keg into big rubbermaid tub and filling it with water and then putting the coil and carboy into the tub.  Then use the cool water to cool the fermenter down to around 50 or so so that I could lager in the summer without having to come up with a 3rd fridge/freezer (one is for food etc, one is for cold beer).
Just wondering if anyone thinks that this would be possible.  Maybe even hook a temperature controller to the pump so that it only came on when needed.  I don't know the water temp but it's pretty cool.

Just thinking while I wait for my mash to finish.

Offline blatz

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2011, 08:36:49 AM »
interesting, but seems immensely more complicated than a regular old swamp cooler, which if you have water that cold, should be pretty easy for you.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2011, 09:05:36 AM »
Yes a swamp cooler is a really simple means of controlling your fermentation temps. It's also fairly cheap. The only downside is that you have to monitor it on a regular basis.

The other option is a used chest freezer with a controller. The downside to the keezer is cost but it's really convenient and leaves you with piece of mind knowing that the temps are under precise control. Plus you can use it to lager and cold storage. Check out craigslist for a used chest freezer.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2011, 09:15:03 AM »
I googled "Swamp Cooler" and I'm seeing things with fans and evaporation buckets.  Not sure that this would be any less complicated but it could be.  But, the last thing I need in Southern Ontario in the summer is more humidity.  It's already stupid sticky around here.  We're surrounded by 3 of the Great Lakes so we never get a dry wind.  Please explain Swamp Cooler if you don't mind.  Is there something I'm not finding?

I'm trying to avoid another freezer.  We have the regular one for food, and I'm getting another to build into a keg freezer so lagering temps are fine, it's just the lager fermentation temp that I'm wondering about.

Thanks for the thoughts so far.

Offline bluesman

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2011, 09:37:31 AM »
It's very simple.

A rubbermaid trash can or similiar geometry capable of containing your fermentation vessel with at least a 6" gap between the fermentation vessel and the ID of the containment vessel.

The containment vessel is then filled with ice and water up to the beer level and wet towels are wrapped around the exposed areas of the fermentation bucket or carboy. Fans are sometimes employed to help keep the teperature in check but not necessary.

The beer temp must then be monitored and maintained by replacing the water with more ice.

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Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2011, 09:45:39 AM »
Sheesh, that sounds more complicated than gmac's original plan.  I would say go for it gmac.
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Offline gmac

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2011, 06:55:15 PM »
I'm now thinking why bother with the coil.  After seeing the swamp cooler, I think I'll just put a garbage pail in the cold room and drill two holes in it, one lower and one higher and pump the water directly into the pail.  50 degree water coming in at the bottom of the pail, overflow going out the top back into the tile.  I have an old aquarium pump that will probably do the job just fine.  As long as the return is big enough and lower than the mouth of the carboy, I shouldn't have any contamination concerns.

I travel a lot and I don't want to have to worry about adding ice etc so I think I'll try and see how cool the ground water is.  May not work in late July or August but I'm sure it'll work for the rest of the year.  Right now the ground water is about 38 degrees in the sump.

Offline punatic

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Re: Summer Lager Temp Idea
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2011, 07:40:51 PM »
You could make a cold box with scrap copper tubing (recycle center) and some scrap insulation.  If you nose around a bit I bet you can find scrap material in good shape, cheap..  A cold box could be big enough for several fermenters at a time and dry.  There is a lot to be said in favor of dry.  

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« Last Edit: April 09, 2011, 07:43:02 PM by punatic »
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