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Cold water source for fermentation termperature control

My sump pump went out the other day (I always run a backup on a separate line, so no problems there) and while replacing it, I came to the realization that the water in the sump pit is pretty darn cold and it runs constantly - I am built on or adjacent to a water spring on a hill, so I constantly pump water out of the footing tiles around my house. I checked the temperature and it was a constant 47 degrees, so I got to thinking…why not use that cold water as a source for lagering temperature maintenance. Who needs glycol, when I have a constant groundwater temperature around 50 degrees, but how best to configure a circulation? Any thoughts? And no, I don’t want to submerge my fermenters.

I look forward to some ideas from this creative bunch.

:cheers:

You could build a small chamber. Mount a radiator in it with a computer fan on it. Then wire a small pump to a temp controller to rirculate the water when the temp rises.

viewtopic.php?t=42735

I put a 6.5 glass into a 10 gallon round cooler with the valve removed and a hole cut into the lid for the neck to poke out.
Then I set it on a lidless 28 qt cooler that’s half full of ice blocks and water,
And a submersed parts washer pump pushes the “coolant” through regular old lowes 3/8 clear tubing up to the lid where it runs down the sides of the carboy and out the valveless hole and back into the 28 qt cooler.
Its a hard hitting heat exchange, I learned that I can’t use 3 piece airlocks as it will vacuum them dry the instant the controller turns the pump on.
And its a very temp stable environment since its inside an insulated cooler.
[attachment=0]IMG_20120325_203635-1.jpg[/attachment]
Edited to add picture.
You could plumb the drain right back to the crock.
Its like an automated swamp cooler.

Very interesting.

how long does the ice last? 10-12 hours?

how cold does it get?

how long does it take to drop from say room temp (70-75) to 60-65 or so for ale primary ?

after you reach 60s, do you need to cut back on the ice so as not to drop into the 50s?

can you reach/maintain 50s for lager primary fermentation? if so, how much ice?

cheers

[quote=“StormyBrew”]Very interesting.

how long does the ice last? 10-12 hours?

how cold does it get?

how long does it take to drop from say room temp (70-75) to 60-65 or so for ale primary ?

after you reach 60s, do you need to cut back on the ice so as not to drop into the 50s?

can you reach/maintain 50s for lager primary fermentation? if so, how much ice?

cheers[/quote]
I’ve been making the ice in those reusable “tupperware” style containers that lunch meat comes in, throw like 4 of those blocks in the water at the start and 2-3 more 24 hours later, and that’s pretty much it.
Never tried to ferment a lager in it, or lager a beer in it, or chill wort to pitch temps.
Usually I’m fermenting something in the mid 60s, so I would pitch at 62*, set the controller to 65*, and it seems like once it tames the initial temperture rise, you have 5+ gallons of cool liquid thats snugly surrounded by insulation that wants to stay at 65* on its own.
I would have to estimate that the cooler is 3/4" wider in diameter than my 6.5’s. It is a snug fit, and I use a brew hauler to get it in there.
Has also worked well with a thin heating pad for elevating temperatures for Belgians.
I like it. Makes a soothing waterfall as an added bonus.

That sounds like it might work, but I will be using 10 gallons fermented at lager temperatures, so I will need to keep my eye out for a larger container. I already have a bilge pump scavenged from my boat when I reworked that set up, so, I can submerge that it in the sump pit and run a temperature probe in a thermowell to activate it. I will be running the water from the sump pit and then back to the sump pit, so I won’t need to recirculate and the ice will be unnecessary due to the water temperature being so low. Now to look for the right container and then determining how high on the container (and best location relative to one another) to mount the “to” and “from” holes for hoses.

Thanks for the input!

:cheers:

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