Author Topic: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?  (Read 3628 times)

Offline euge

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2011, 11:00:35 AM »
Ummm. My Beer and Wine buckets (or Biere et Vin) are 16" tall with lid and a tad over 14" across at the lid. Sounds like you got the tall fermenters, but they should still fit. My totes are 18" deep.

Bear in mind I don't use fermentation locks- especially during primary fermentation. Really they are redundant during this phase. If you go this route just lay the lid on top of the fermenter with a piece of tape over the hole.

Another thing you might consider is wiring up a case fan and placing that inside the chamber. It'll gently convect the air around making the system a bit more responsive. I use an old phone charger as the power source.

Good luck! Let us know how it works out for ya!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tonyp

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2011, 01:11:08 PM »
Luckily my wife had another 48-Gal tote in the garage and after checking it, the buckets I have fit in it perfectly. We swapped and I just got done wrapping it in the reflectix. I didn't have any foam so I fit another piece of insulation on the bottom and it slightly reaches up the walls. The reflectix that i bought was too tall for the tote without cutting it so instead I wrapped the excess around the bottom leaving only a small gap which I covered with another loose piece. The cover is the only part that isn't insulated atm but I figured that wouldn't be a huge deal. I have more than enough reflectix left over to cover the top if need be.

Harbor freight was out of the dollies but i got a rain check for the sale price of $13.

I ordered a weldless SS ball-valve  kit with the mash screen and thermal hoses from northern brewer so  I should be ready to go all-grain sometime this weekend! woot!

Thanks for help Euge!

Oh, i forgot to take pictures, i'll do it tomorrow.

Thanks!
Tony

Live from the Jersey Shore!

Bottled:
Grandpa Louie's Cream Ale
Eagle Point Pale Ale


Phrases for Creatives, #22:
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2011, 03:11:47 PM »
Took some picts:







Cheers!
Tony
Live from the Jersey Shore!

Bottled:
Grandpa Louie's Cream Ale
Eagle Point Pale Ale


Phrases for Creatives, #22:
"I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter."

Offline euge

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2011, 10:56:54 PM »
Lookin good there Tony! You'll get the hang of when you need to swap out the ice packs.

Was listening to Brew Strong about this subject. Had some ideas about placing extra water bottles in there.  The more liquid there is the greater the thermal mass. Then you could still swap the icepacks but the fluctuations will be less. Get the idea?  That would negate any mildew problems.

Anyway if you are interested we could hash the idea out a bit more. The chamber looks well made. Bet you are excited to try it out!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tonyp

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2011, 08:01:27 AM »
Absolutely excited to try it! I had an empty gallon milk jug so i froze it overnight and placed it inside just to see what would happen and it got down to 54deg and stayed there for hours even after the ice melted. I'm super psyched.

Hopefully I can get to the LHBS today and by ingredients for my first AG batch!

Tony
Live from the Jersey Shore!

Bottled:
Grandpa Louie's Cream Ale
Eagle Point Pale Ale


Phrases for Creatives, #22:
"I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter."

Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2011, 06:13:50 PM »

Was listening to Brew Strong about this subject. Had some ideas about placing extra water bottles in there.  The more liquid there is the greater the thermal mass. Then you could still swap the icepacks but the fluctuations will be less. Get the idea?  That would negate any mildew problems.


The thermal mass is only important if you're lifting the lid, if I'm understanding what you mean.  So don't open it!  But the bit about mildew problems escapes me...
Is that a counter-pressure bottle filler in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Offline euge

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2011, 07:01:08 PM »

Was listening to Brew Strong about this subject. Had some ideas about placing extra water bottles in there.  The more liquid there is the greater the thermal mass. Then you could still swap the icepacks but the fluctuations will be less. Get the idea?  That would negate any mildew problems.


The thermal mass is only important if you're lifting the lid, if I'm understanding what you mean.  So don't open it!  But the bit about mildew problems escapes me...

I experimented with about 4 inches of water in the tote with the buckets to keep the temps more stable. It worked but the cool, dark humid atmosphere in the chamber promoted mildew growth on the fermenter's outsides within a couple weeks.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Will's Swill

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2011, 09:53:17 PM »
Ah, right.  And now I see why you like the thermal mass, too.  It seems from both a space and an expense prespective, you're getting pretty close to a used beer fridge or freezer, and you wouldn't have the PITA of keeping up with the ice packs.  But you should do what's best for your process, of course.
Is that a counter-pressure bottle filler in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Offline euge

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2011, 10:19:27 PM »
The tote approach is low cost and effective but after three years of doing this type of fermentation I bought a freezer and Johnson controller.



The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline kgs

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2011, 07:12:36 AM »
Ah, right.  And now I see why you like the thermal mass, too.  It seems from both a space and an expense prespective, you're getting pretty close to a used beer fridge or freezer, and you wouldn't have the PITA of keeping up with the ice packs.  But you should do what's best for your process, of course.

On the used fridge/freezer, keep in mind that old refrigeration equipment can consume energy lavishly. See the Energy Star calculator: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.calculator

I did the tote/cooling thing when we lived in Florida; it has the advantage of a cheap startup cost. It definitely improved my beer.
K.G. Schneider
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Offline tonyp

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #25 on: May 03, 2011, 10:25:59 AM »

Since the fermentation tote doesn't allow the use of an airlock i was looking for other options and ran across this:



I'll have to increase the size of the hole in the fermentation bucket lid for the #7 stopper to fit, but it looks like a great solution. I ordered 2 of them, I'll report back once i get them.

Here's the link:
Vented Silicone Stopper

cheers!
Tony
Live from the Jersey Shore!

Bottled:
Grandpa Louie's Cream Ale
Eagle Point Pale Ale


Phrases for Creatives, #22:
"I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter."

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #26 on: May 03, 2011, 12:34:27 PM »
I'll have to increase the size of the hole in the fermentation bucket lid for the #7 stopper to fit, but it looks like a great solution. I ordered 2 of them, I'll report back once i get them.
Let us know how it goes.  I've found they don't work that well for primary fermentation, they tend to get pushed out by the pressure rather than release it through the holes.  But hopefully they work better for you, I haven't tried the ones from Williams.

As far as increasing the size of the hole, that's never worked out for me either.  At least, not a smooth round hole in plastic.  I think you're better off plugging the existing hole and drilling a new one with the right sized spade bit.  But that's me.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline tonyp

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2011, 12:44:15 PM »
As far as increasing the size of the hole, that's never worked out for me either.  At least, not a smooth round hole in plastic.  I think you're better off plugging the existing hole and drilling a new one with the right sized spade bit.  But that's me.

Thanks for the suggestion Tom, I think I'll do just that. And you think a spade bit would work better than a stepper for plastic? I've never really drilled thru plastic before. I might take the lid to Home Depot and ask them the best way to do it. The only other way I can think of is maybe a hole punch, heat up the lid and hit it hard.

I'll let ya know how it works out.

Thanks!
Tony

Live from the Jersey Shore!

Bottled:
Grandpa Louie's Cream Ale
Eagle Point Pale Ale


Phrases for Creatives, #22:
"I'll try being nicer if you'll try being smarter."

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #28 on: May 03, 2011, 12:54:11 PM »
I don't know if a step bit would work better, I just normally use spade bits for plastic.  I'm guessing either would work.  With a step bit you might be able to widen the existing hole.  They do a lot of them at my LHBS but I don't know what they use, so if you have one you can call you might ask them before anyone at the depot. :-\
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: Cheap Fermentation Temp Control?
« Reply #29 on: May 03, 2011, 01:10:01 PM »
They use a punch for lid holes at my LHBS.  I think that's the best solution in terms of a clean hole.
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