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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > AC Unit in Ferm Cabinet for Brewhemoth?
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:13 PM   #1
Lennie
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Default AC Unit in Ferm Cabinet for Brewhemoth?

I'd like to be able to brew lagers in my 22gal Brewhemoth conical. I was thinking about making a chamber in the garage using 2" foam and putting a small room air conditioner in it. Theres a little sliding garage-type window that I could put the AC in and then build the chamber around that. The garage wall is concrete and it faces east so doesn't get full sun. My only question is, do you think I can maintain a 50F temp with this kind of setup? Or just how low could I get the temp? It'd be nice to actually lager in the chamber as well, although I do have a little fridge for that. If this would work I'd put my entire brewing system in the garage and build a stand out there.

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Old 05-17-2012, 04:20 PM   #2
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I have a cabinet I built with plywood and 2" of foam. I can get down to 44F with my ac unit. It has a thermostat adjustment screw that allows this. I can ferment lagers from about Sept. to May depending on the weather.

I have my AC venting into the garage. In the middle of summer this causes my garage to get very hot. Which in turn makes the AC cycle more. The lowest I go in summer is about 60F. If you want to do lagers I suggest venting the AC to the outdoors or using more that 2" of insulation.

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Old 05-17-2012, 06:24 PM   #3
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Thanks thats good to know, I hadn't thought about the thermostat. I'm planning to mount and vent the little AC in the window. The garage is in my basement so its naturally cooler plus theres a vent to the central air. I'd go with a fridge if I could find one cheap but this conical requires a decent sized unit.

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Old 05-17-2012, 07:08 PM   #4
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I use an AC unit in my chamber, too. I agree with MCL that doing lagers would be better in winter months or the unit will have to work very hard and you'll be paying for it in energy costs. My AC unit is quite old and, therefore, not super energy efficient but it could maintain 50* in the summer. I wouldn't do it where I live, though, as it would be cost prohibitive.

For a while, I used the thermostat on the AC unit to adjust temperatures but the AC would run the fan constantly as long as the unit was plugged in, which got expensive and annoying. Since then, I wired in a Johnson temperature controller and it has made a world of difference. The chamber has a much more stable temperature and the ability to program various particulars with the Johnson controller is really nice. I know that the thing has paid for itself in terms of the savings on energy costs.

Also, when you get yours built, load it up. The more carboys and kegs you can stick in there (that are full of liquid) the more thermal mass you'll have to insulate and regulate temperatures. Mine is two tier to take up less of a footprint, which I like, but that might not be practical with a conical. There's a nano brewery nearby where I live (Hess Brewing) and he has a couple chambers built to house his conicals--he could be a good source of info, too, and is likely a quick internet search away.

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Old 05-18-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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You could convert the AC into a glycol chiller, pumping 28 degree glycol thru an internal chiller will keep the conical down to 50, you'll have to throw a sleeping bag over it to get to lagering temps, but it works.

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Old 05-18-2012, 12:15 PM   #6
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Dale that sounds like a possibility, is there a thread about this I suppose? I had looked at neoprene material for insulating the conical. I suppose I could make lagers in the winter and utilize the heat from the unit to help warm the garage.

I'll do some more research on this one since I have the internal chilling coil.

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