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Old 09-27-2012, 04:29 PM   #1
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Default commercially manufactured temp regulated fermenting cabinets?

Hi all,

I'm trying to find commercially built fermentation cabinets, no DIY. Are there any out there? I'd really like one with seperate compartments that will allow two, or more different temp zones for different styles. I guess this would require seperate compressors, thermostats, lines, etc...? I would like heating capabilities also...

I've looked at the jacketed conicals, but they seem to only work well when you brew a batch the size they are intended for....is this correct? I like the idea of a cabinet because you can put any sized batch in(as long as it is big enough of course...

what do the the small craft breweries/restaurants use...short of a dedicated room?

Have I put together too tall of an order?

Thanks,
Matt

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Old 09-27-2012, 05:35 PM   #2
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My local microbrewery has a walk-in that has three different zones that can be set to different temperatures, even though it is one big open room. It's wicked awesome. It cost them about $13,000.

For your project, find a minifridge that will fit a carboy/fermentation bucket, buy TWO of them, and put them side by side. Voila!!

Seriously...I'm sure there is a commercial example of what you are asking for, but it is going to be a boutique product that will cost you several thousand. Two brand new mini fridges, even if you add digital temp controllers to them, should be under $400. You could get two small used chest freezers off Craigslist and two temp controllers for about $150.00.

For heating, two brewbelts will do the trick for about $20 each. Some people even just use a lightbulb and a $2.00 fixture to heat their fermentation chambers, quite effectively.

Don't overthink this.....

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:28 PM   #3
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Hey thanks for the reply. And thanks for trying to save me money and headache.

What I need though is a turnkey product that does what I need it to...see above...right out of the box. It can be a dedicated room (cool story about your local microbrewery setup) with a build/installation process, but I am also interested in a cabinet that you might find in the home of a serious homebrewer with money to burn. Who would you go to?

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:37 PM   #4
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Do you have the space for two small walk-in coolers? Those are readily available, and you could easily keep separate temperatures in each room. That's what I would do if I had the space and had money to burn.

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Secondary #1 - Downtown Flanders Brown (brewed August 2012)
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Keg #3 - EMPTY!
Bottled - NONE!

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for working with me Yes space wouldn't be a problem. I can see that small walk-ins might be the best option around... Oh and just to clarify...it's not for me. I don't have that kind of money. I'm trying to think of ways to spend other people's money.

I clicked on that Spokane Industries banner a bit ago and they look like they do some good work...big to for smaller commercial outfits, but once again I'm thinking those heating/cooling systems down't work unless you brew the batch the tanks are designed for....

All that 304 stainless sure is pretty!!

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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The closest you're likely to come to what you're looking for are smaller fridges or freezers with outboard temperature controllers.

BrewPubs and Microbreweries are working in much larger volumes than we are, and their equipment isn't going to translate to what we're using. That said, they're typically using jacketed fermenters (on the order of 3bbls+ in capacity, usually 7bbls+) or they're using large custom-built walk-in coolers if they're really small (this is very common among nanos I've visited).

Edit: It might help to know what kind of volumes are you looking at. If you're looking to spend other folks' money, and you're looking at outfitting something for a professional outfit, you might find more useful advice over on probrewer.com (most of us are much more familiar with homebrew-scale stuff and stuff much more DIY in nature!)

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Old 09-27-2012, 06:49 PM   #7
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If you looking for out of the box I would likely simply purchase a kegorator with an in-line thermostat control for each style. Then once each is complete you can also independently control serving temperatures.

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Old 09-28-2012, 02:22 PM   #8
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Thanks yall. The feedback is definitely appreciated. Thanks for that link also Stratslinger.

I have been into homebrewing for about five or six years now. very casual. I use a swamp cooler and do a couple of batches of all grain a year. I've recently started working for a company that makes custom food service equipment...both back of the house all stainless and front of the house, serving stuff like food heating and cooling equipment, heated and refrigerated displays, etc etc etc. We've been in business since 1945 and we can do just about anything. We have our own UL testing laboratory...lol

Before this place I was in residential and commercial cabinetry and architectural woodworking for 6 years so my natural tendency is to think about cabinets. I'm just not seeing any commercially made...NON DIY...products that will hold a batch of beer, cool it to the desired fermentation temp, or heat it to a desired ambient temp, and any other bells and whistles that homebrewers would find useful and convenient.

In a nutshell, I'm wondering if we could make a product tailored to serious homebrewers, at a price that enough would be happy to pay to make venturing into a new market worthwhile.

Just brainstorming really... am I way off base here?

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:06 PM   #9
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I'm a serious homebrewer with a good bit of disposable income, and my fermentation chamber is a $1200 commercial True glass front beverage cooler that I bought from a catering company for $125 coupled with a Johnson A-419 temp controller I bought for $53.

I'm not sure even your most fanatical homebrewer would be in the market for a furniture-grade fermentation chamber, when you can get something functional for under $100 and something pretty darn nifty and blingy, like mine, for under $200. In general, our fermentation chambers have no need to be displayed or anywhere out in the public eye, so most could care less how it looks as long as it is functional.

I think PLENTY of homebrewers would be in the market for a furniture-grade kegerator!! That might be a better place to direct your energies and woodworking talents. I myself am an avid DIYer, but have almost no woodworking skills, and am always envious of the great furniture-grade kegerators/keezers that are showcased in the DYI forum. I'm sure plenty of folks in my same situation would be interested in that kind of retail product, at the right price point.

Good luck!

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Primary #1 - Oktoberfest
Primary #2 - Chamomile Honey Wheat
Primary #3 - EMPTY!
Secondary #1 - Downtown Flanders Brown (brewed August 2012)
Keg #1 - Coffee Vanilla Stout
Keg #2 - Fall of the Ukraine Baltic Porter (lagering in keg)
Keg #3 - EMPTY!
Bottled - NONE!

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Old 09-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #10
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Topher, I wish I could magically teleport a pint into your hand right this instant. You're a good man. Thanks!

That's exact;y what I need right now...just finding out what people need or would like. What I'm thinking about might or might not have any wood on it at all. We do have an in-house woodshop, but we also do ALOT of stainless equipment or powder coated stainless with double pan stainless or even insulated glass doors. The sky seems to be the limit and it just doesnt seem like companies are catering to the "homebrewer" or many of them anyways. But...in the end I'm not a business man. I don't know much about exploring new markets, cost analysis, and all that other stuff.

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