I’m looking into building a fermentation chamber but don’t want to use a mini fridge or freezer. I would just like to build a quality wooden chamber that is insulated well. Any one build something like this with a heating and cooling element? I would probably make it large enough for only one carboy or plastic fermenter.
Here’s a build:http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/38DD ... on-Chiller
You could also use it with heat if need be. Just use a little heater or a light in a can.
After its all said and done I think your best option is still a chest freezer.
I just got this chest freezer at home depot.http://www.homedepot.com/p/Magic-Chef-6 ... /203445397
$15 for this controllerhttp://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F05 ... UTF8&psc=1
and $12 for a 3 prong cord at home depot and you’re in business.
Tough to beat the price and you’d probably spend almost as much on materials not to mention your time.
Right now I really only need heat. My basement is a little cold and keeping the thermostat in my house higher than it needs to be to keep my fermenter warm doesn’t make any sense. I want to build a small insulated box that I can add a heat source to keep temp a bit warmer. I would rather use a heating pad or something other than the paint can light bulb.
What’s the temp in your basement? For something like that build a simple box out of plywood, get a temp controller and add your heating source. But unless your basement is below 60° I don’t think you need anything as the ambient temps are perfect for most ale yeast.
This is what I’ve come up with so far. I still need to frame the front and add the door. I used 3/4 plywood and glued and screwed it together. I had some waterproof ge silicone II caulk laying around and used it on all the interior corners. I’m going to add 1" insulation board on the inside. The interior dimensions will be 18"x18"x32" with the insulation installed. This is large enough for a single carboy or plastic fermenter. I will also be making some kind of stand to set it on so it is off the ground.
I will be warming it with either a ferm wrap, brew mat or brewers edge space heater with a digital controller.
Looks good! Still wondering what the ambient temps of your basement are…
Around 60. The temp is all over the place though. There is only one vent off furnace for the basement. It is unfinished. I like to maintain temp after active fermentation slows. I brewed the Chocolate Milk stoutaStout with S-04 and decided to put it in our spare bedroom. NB shows 64-75 but fermentis showed 54-77, ideally 59-68. Ended up fermenting between 68-70 Max. Its now around 67 on day 8.5. I agree 60 is pretty good for most ales. I want to be able to maintain a decent temp with having to increase the temp of the whole house. Also just wanted to build something haha.
Sounds like you are already on the high end of the temperature range, if you are fermenting between 68-70. Rather than adding a heater, you want a chiller. Or to find a cooler spot in your basement. I use to do that when I lived in an old (built around 1850) house with fieldstone foundation. The temp in the basement varied a lot by location, but was overall pretty stable on a day-to-day timescale. Could almost always find a spot that was ideal for fermenting year round, though in the winter the carboys came upstairs to sit under my kitchen table.
That was with my fermenter upstairs. It will be going in the basement. I just want to have greater control over the temp.
Nice work man!
I think 60 would be about perfect for ales. I like to ferment them low 60’s but it sounds like you have a goal for your process and you’ll be able to use that chamber for cooling or warming as you see fit.
I don’t know if you really even need a heating element. Just simply put the beer in the chamber and let it ferment. Fermentation produces heat and will be trapped in your chamber and raise the temps by 4-5°.
I just really want it to hold temp better than a large basement or even bedroom. If it happens to work at the time being without heat or cooling then I will be happy. If in the future I need more temp adjustment then I will add something. What do you think would be a good way to test it’s insulation properties? Maybe stick it in the garage where it is cold and compare outside and inside air temps?
Since its going to be in the basement I would try it there. Use a space heater to pump hot air into. Take a reading and check it every hour or so and see how much, if any, it loses. If you have a BBQ grill thermometer with the probe that would work best as you wouldn’t have to open the door and could just see the inside temps.
I doubt it would lose much heat since the basement is 60°.
I’ve made the son of fermentation chiller and I’m very happy with it. With that said I’ve thought of upgrading to a wooden chamber as shown above. My only comment would be to raise the platform high enough so you can siphon directly into the keg, I hate lifting carboys, always potential for trouble.
I went the freezer route, but here is what I plan on doing for my next beer. I have a bathroom in the basement, going to put the beer in the shower and heat the room with this and see how it goes.http://www.menards.com/main/appliances/ ... c-5617.htm
Yes, I’m going to raise it off the ground. I’m thinking of adding casters so you can roll too. I’m designing as I go. Any suggestion are welcome.
Call me a simpleton but, if your average temperature is 60f and you’re just trying to even out the swings, why not take a large cooler (80-100qts) and fill it with water and place your fermenter(s) in the water bath. ? Use an aquarium heater if you need to bump up the temp a bit.
Nice idea ghohn
I have been trying to think of easy way to keep temps down during the initial high activity period. My brew room stays 60 to 65 this time of year and using your idea should help keeping the fermentor cool during this stage.
Thanks for the idea! :cheers: