Fermentation Chamber

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Frankenbrewer, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Hey folks,

    I want/need a ferm chamber. I have seen so many versions of DIY chambers that I'm drooling from confusion. I would like to do the following. Buy a chest freezer, a temp controller and go to town. Is it really that simple? Since it is summer here cooling is my goal but eventually warming up would be needed. How would that work? Sorry for the long winded story here but I have no knowledge in this area. Help a brewer out!!!
     
  2. BOB357

    BOB357 Well-Known Member

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    Get a two stage temp controller and any one of many devices to heat during the colder months. Many years ago I had an upright freezer and 2 stage controller. I used a 60 watt light bulb to heat during the winter. The freezer was in a an uninsulated shed and our Winter temperatures often reach single digits and occasionally sub zero. The light bulb did the trick. People use seed starter mats, reptile heaters, brew belts and many other devices. It really doesn't take much to maintain a reasonable temperature in a well insulated containment like a chest freezer.
     
  3. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yep I'm amazed how well the freezer keeps warm in winter. Like a summer's day in middle of winter.
     
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  4. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Yup, what he said. I would like to add and Bob would agree is do what works for you. Lots of choices for heating, and cooling is already there.
    Some things to consider:
    Buy as big as you think you will ever need within reason. You don't want to be constantly upgrading.
    Ease of use for where it's placed. 5gal is 40 #s. Remember that when lifting in and out or sliding into or out of.
    As Bob said doesn't take much heat so no need to over do it.
    If budget is not a problem, or is a problem, buy quality so it will last.
    Fermentation is one of the most important steps of brewing so read as you have been to make it work for you and enjoy the hobby!
     
  5. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Get the Inkbird ITC-308 for around $30. Find the cheapest 5 cu ft chest freezer on sale at Home Depot or Lowes for as low as $169.
    Yes, it's that simple.
    What's not as simple is lifting a full carboy into and out of the chamber. Be careful.
     
  6. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the info. You guys made the choice much simpler. Youtube is a good source of information but way too complicated in regards to setting up a chamber.
     
  7. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    My simple solution. That's a soil warming element cut into insulation, another piece goes on top to make a 'sandwich', and the fermenter sits on top of that, all controlled by an inkbird.

    Freezers would be great but I was tight for space and this did the trick. The insulation works a treat, the heat didn't kick in this time as the temp never dropped below 18. This has all been a useful and flexible solution.



    Cooling.jpg Brewery8.jpg
     
  8. Frankenbrewer

    Frankenbrewer Well-Known Member

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    How do you cool down the wort? Btw, what is going on in the top picture? It looks hi-tech.
     
  9. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    The wort goes through a heat exchanger first and then into the fermenter, it wastes a lot of water so is something I'm keen to look at but it's very effective.

    Top picture is just a bar chiiler that I picked up locally, it runs cold water through a stainless cooling loop (from a remote bar cooler - very handy if you can find them) and I just drilled that through the fermenter lid so that it's suspended in the wort. Through the hot weather it's been really useful to regulate the fermenting temp and when it comes to cold crash time I can just drop the temp without opening the fermenter.

    It's more Heath-Robinson than high-tec :)
     
  10. Mase

    Mase Well-Known Member

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    Very cool @Steve SPF !

    Heath - Robinson.... are they related to Rube - Goldberg? :rolleyes:
     
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  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I bought a used fridge for $100, and control the temp with the inkbird mentioned above, along with a heater that wraps around the fermenter. Doing 1/ gallon batches now, I snake the heater so it is in contact with both carboys. As Ben would say, it works a treat. You still have to lift the fermenter into the fridge, but for me it is far better than lifting in and out of a chest freezer
     
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  12. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    First cousins I think
     
  13. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    I've been actually thinking of a diy glycol style cooling system for this sorta thing. I set my ferm chamber to freeze so wife can use it as a freezer but I put a large resovoirof glycol solution down bottom with some sorta pump in there hooked to the cool side of STC so when external fermentor needs chilling pump comes on and pumps glycol through fermentor coil to chill it down.
     
  14. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Those bar chillers are designed to work with glycol so could do exactly that
     
  15. Brewer #222202

    Brewer #222202 New Member

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    I went the chest freezer/temp controller route. 7.5 cu ft chest freezer ~$170 at the BORG (Home Depot) and a cheap temp controller from Amazon. With the slightly larger freezer, I can fit 2 each 6.5 gallon fermenters (Northern Brewer Big Mouth Bubblers) at the same time. Also has a raised ledge on the side where I keep a gallon jug of water for a blowoff tube. You might also look on Amazon for a thermowell, it keeps the temperature probe dry but down in the middle of the wort for a more accurate temp setting and less on/off cycling. The ones I got have a 14" stainless tube, with an attached silicone stopper, and an extra hole for an airlock or blowoff tube, about $8-$9 on Amazon.
     
  16. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    I have the same thermowell and silicone stopper, works like charm!
     

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