temperature control

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temperature control

Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Fri May 15, 2009 1:55 pm

I'm going to start doing lagers here pretty soon, but I'm concerned about temperature control. If I do them over the winter, my garage is at a constant 45', but in the summer I'll obviously need something to cool the wort. What do you guys use?

I really don't have room for another fridge as the kegerator took up all my extra garage space, but I was thinking about building the "Son of Fermentation Chiller."

Has anyone built this or heard good things about it? I'm hearing mixed reviews all over the web. Just wanted to get some more input before I decide what to do. A small chest freezer MIGHT be an option, but that's a last resort. I'd rather build something.

If you've got plans or input...please post.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
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buy a freezer

Postby yaturaz » Sun May 17, 2009 8:24 am

Found this for you on craigslist. If you don't have the space and you are using the norm to lager get the dorm fridge but, the chest freezer would be a lot better :p I have never heard of the "son of fermentation chiller" O.o Good luck with whatever you choose. Myself I just need to get brewing, I haven't brewed in months :(

http://rockford.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=freezer
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Re: temperature control

Postby billvelek » Mon May 25, 2009 9:08 am

Suthrncomfrt1884, I'm glad you asked that question because I built something very similar and have been thinking of getting it out of storage to finish making some refinements -- add a collection vessel to the bottom of my conical, and improve my thermostat. In the process of getting ready to answer this, I found something that might help me, but first, for the benefit of "yaturaz", here is a link to some photos and the basic concept of S.O.F.

My conical fermenter came without a stand, and since I had to come up with something for that purpose I just decided to build an insulated cabinet with a 2x2 wood frame, from which a rope harness supports the conical. I covered it with nice wood paneling ('Wainscoat'?) and installed styrofoam insulation panels which fit tightly inside the 2x2 frame. A sheet of the foam also divides the cabinet into two compartments -- the lower portion containing part of the tip of the cone and the ball valve, and the upper portion where most of the fermenter is situated. The lower portion has a removable wood-panel door (with a nice brass handle and thumb screws, and is also insulated), and there is enough room to insert 8 frozen juice bottles, 2-liter size (that's a total of 35 pounds of ice, and is more than enough to chill to a low temp). I have a tube in the inside corner mounted with a CPU fan controlled by a thermostat to circulate air from the top, around the frozen bottles, and back up through the gap in the insulation near the cone tip. A removable tray in the bottom collects condensation. The cabinet has very strong handles mounted on the sides so that it can be lifted and carried, even when filled with beer, but with the added weight of the cabinet it is much more difficult to move and lift up onto a countertop by myself; since I'm usually alone when I bottle, that is one reason I put it in storage. The removable lid is made from finished plywood trimmed with molding so that it just sits on top; when removed, the entire cone can be easily lifted out of the harness and cabinet for cleaning. It's an attractive stand for a vase with a flower arrangement, etc., and is suitable for any den or living room. It was my own design, and I think it worked out very nicely, but I haven't been using it because of issues with the conical itself: the cone isn't really steep enough for the trub to slide down to the ball valve, and it is a lot more awkward to use and to clean. However, I had always meant to try to modify it so that it will function like a 'V-Vessel' -- http://newstore.vvessel.com -- which has a small container at the bottom into which trub will _hopefully_ collect if I just leave the valve open. They also sell the "collection capsule", but I'm not interested in paying $39.00 for one; I just need to think about it and come up with something of my own. If I do, then I'll modify it further to replace the simple (cheap) heating and A/C thermostat, which must remain mounted inside the cabinet, with a nicer digital model mounted on the outside with sensors on the inside. I had been thinking about some sort of a P.I.D. (programmable interface device) with sensors, but when looking for some info to share with "yaturaz", I came upon this link -- you REALLY need to look through the photos because this guy built a piece of "furniture" to hold and cool 12 carboys while fermenting. Anyway, he includes temperature graphs that might be useful to you, and some ethernet info that I might be able to use instead of a P.I.D.

As for its performance, it worked extremely well although I never lagered in it, so I don't really know (or remember from several years ago) how cold it could get. I'm sure I wouldn't have any problem getting it down to 50-55F, but I don't know about getting it down to near freezing, as is required to lager. Just remember that these things take a lot of ice, which means that you will probably need a lot of freezer space for that. In my case, I already have a chest freezer, but converting it isn't an option because I need it for food ... but I do have room to make ice. Also, lifting a conical and stand out of a freezer would be hard, if they even fit down into a chest freezer; an upright freezer or refrigerator would probably be better for that. Anyway, if you need to chill a conical, my design is probably as good of an approach as any. I never took any pics of my cabinet, and it's in storage now. When I dig it out, I'll post some pics.

I hope that helps.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
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A little more info on S.O.F.

Postby billvelek » Mon May 25, 2009 9:18 am

P.S. -- here is a link to a .pdf file which gives more detailed info on S.O.F.

Cheers.

Bill Velek
Visit www.tinyurl.com/bvelek - portal to my brewing sites: 3,100+ members on 'Grow-Hops', and 1,350+ brewers on my 'BrewingEquip' group.
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Postby Suthrncomfrt1884 » Mon May 25, 2009 11:47 am

Wow, that fermoire was amazing. I didn't even concider making a piece of furniture to blend in to the house. If I did something like that though, I'd probably only do the bottom half and make it into a corner TV stand or something similar.

Thanks for all the good info Bill.
Primary - Belgian Dubbel, Belgian IPA
Secondary - Cherry Lambic
Bottled - Bourbon Barrel Coffee Porter, Double Chocolate Raspberry Stout, Imperial Nut Brown, Apfelwein, American Amber Ale w/Homegrown Hops, Breakfast Stout
Kegged - Bass Clone, ESB
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Postby julythermostats » Sat Jul 18, 2009 12:20 pm

Has anyone congenital this or heard acceptable things about it? I'm audition alloyed reviews all over the web. Just capital to get some added ascribe afore I adjudge what to do. A baby chest freezer MIGHT be an option, but that's a endure resort. I'd rather body something...


:)
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