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Old 04-29-2005, 04:19 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chiller

<moving this thread to it's own as I'm sure I'll have questions!>

Quote:
Originally Posted by tnlandsailor
Fermentation is definitely the key to a great beer; particularly primary fermentation temperature. The ability to control your fermentation temperature has a PROFOUND impact on your beer. Much more so than almost any other brewing parameter.

However, I have to take exception to the notion that as long as your ingredients are "reasonably" fresh, your ingredient choices don't matter. Brewer's make WORT, yeast makes BEER. You have to give your yeast the right thing to ferment, or else you won't get what you want. Different ingredients do different things, therefore your results will vary quite a bit with your ingredient choices.

On a side note, there is a great homemade tool to control fermentation temps called a Fermentation Chiller. I've used one (actually two) for 4 years now and I can tell you it is fabulous. By far the biggest improvement to my beers has been a direct result of controlling the fermentation temperature. Check out my website under "Other Gadgets" for photos and a link for detailed instructions on how to build one.

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Old 04-29-2005, 04:20 PM   #2
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I located it. Click here for instructions. They're extremely detailed even down to part #'s at radio shack etc. 14 pages worth in Acrobat fashion. The guy touts keeping at 60f stable temp in his garage in summer at 95f. $60-70 avg. to build.

(I think I feel sick and need to leave work now).

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Old 04-29-2005, 04:22 PM   #3
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As a heads up for those intrigued on building one of these. You can get these fans at a computer store as well or better yet, take one out of an old computer like I just did at work (I am a computer geek). Also on the 12v DC converter; everyone usually has these laying around wondering what it once powered. As long as the label states 12v dc output it'll work.

I think I have an old thermostat at home and already have an indoor/outdoor thermometer as well. All I need is the wallboard! (and a truck to bring it home )

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Old 04-29-2005, 04:35 PM   #4
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Hey TNLandSailor,

I went to a Lowes and Home Depot and they had 2" Polystyrene but it wasn't of the extruded sort; basically just looked like 2" thick styrofoam. In looking at your picture you had pink stuff. Would you recommend extruded for sure?

Also, you had some plywood on the floor for the fermenter; assume that was to minimize denting from the carboy weight...

Going to build mine this weekend if I can locate the extruded (if necessary).

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Old 04-29-2005, 11:52 PM   #5
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FYI,
They don't sell Extruded Polystyrene at my local Home Depot and Lowes. I had to make calls to local insulation companies and found two that sell it in 4'x8'x2" sections locally.

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Old 04-30-2005, 12:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertBrew
FYI,
They don't sell Extruded Polystyrene at my local Home Depot and Lowes. I had to make calls to local insulation companies and found two that sell it in 4'x8'x2" sections locally.
Keep up the good work man! I'm watching this thread like a hawk until you get all the dirty work done. I'm gonna do this as soon as you get yours done, maybe you can post some pics of the build process, and post any problems/solutions you run across. I've got big-time worries about brewing this summer, and this looks/sounds like a perfect solution.
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Old 05-02-2005, 04:29 PM   #7
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The pink stuff is what they use on homes and buildings and such. I've seen the other type, the white stuff they make styrofoam cups from. I wouldn't use that, I'm afraid it wouldn't hold up very well. The extruded polystyrene has a pretty dense foam structure and holds up really well. I would look for this type. It may come in a different color besides pink, but you can definitely tell the difference between it and regular styrofoam.

Yes, I put some plywood on the floor of the carboy chamber because I was worried about the weight of the carboy denting the floor. I think this is a good idea.

If you are planning to build one of these and have access to a table saw, I think this would really make your job easier. Square and accurate cuts are the key to getting this thing to go together right. Also, I think you could leave out the little rods that are mentioned in the instructions to hold the lid and front in place. Mine seems to fit snugly enough without them.

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Old 05-03-2005, 09:12 PM   #8
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Default Build Complete

Well, it's done. I took some pics and slapped together some web pages on prices, supplies. Sorry the site is a little slow but my upload speed isn't so hot at the house...

Think it turned out great however and have an ESB 'chillin' inside.

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Old 05-03-2005, 09:23 PM   #9
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Will this type of cooler work in a garage in the Texas summer?? 90 plus degrees!!!

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Old 05-03-2005, 09:49 PM   #10
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I believe I read in the instructions that the guy who created this lives in the desert somewhere and ferments in his garage when it's 95+. I got another 20 days or so before we're at a consistent daytime temp of 100+ for the next 3 months so I'll let everyone know of performance. We do cool off nice at night here though to mid-upper 60's

I'm keeping mine in the garage... worst case scenario is you have to have more ice than 2 jugs in it and change more often but I'm sure it'll function just fine.

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