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-   -   New fermentation chamber build (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/new-fermentation-chamber-build-102846/)

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 08:26 AM

Fermentation Chamber Build
 
Well, since the weather has been cold these past few months I've been fermenting in my walk-in closet. Yeah...SWMBO has not been particularly thrilled with the glorious smell of fermentation! So, as the warm weather approaches I've been planning out a fermentation chamber build for the garage. I've got a nice workbench that seemed like the perfect place.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0056.JPG

I fitted the fridge in the left hand side, firmly situated against the 2x4 frame of the shelf behind it.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0058.JPG

Next step: add some framing on the floor and the back wall.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0060.JPG

Then some insulation for the back wall and a plywood floor to adhere the insulation:
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0062.JPG

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 08:30 AM

I used 1.5" Rmax insulation from HomeDepot, and also had some leftover 1/2" styrofoam stuff from my previous mini fridge fermentation chamber.
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0064.JPG

I also bought some 1/8" melamine board for the bottom of the chamber, so carboys and crates can easily slide in without damaging the insulation:
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0066.JPG

Here is the partial front wall installed, door to come next:
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0069.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0071.JPG

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 08:33 AM

I used a combination of the 1/2" foam board and the 1.5" Rmax sheathing for the front wall. This will be the side that takes in the most heat from the garage:
http://lh3.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0074.JPG

Front door installed. I used a couple small hinges and some bolt latches to firmly secure the door.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0076.JPG

I had to cut the foam at a 45 degree angle to allow it to close properly.
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0077.JPG

Firm fit all around, but I plan to go over the edges of the foam with some duct tape, just to prevent any wear and tear and to make it look a bit cleaner.
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0078.JPG

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 08:37 AM

Got the Johnson analog controller hooked up, with the lead running along the top edge. I've located the bulb at the far end of the chamber opposite the fridge.
http://lh4.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0080.JPG

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0082.JPG

I plan to put the bulb inside an empty White Labs container with some water. This should keep the fridge from going on/off to frequently.
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0084.JPG

And there you have it...Citrus Wheat in the chamber:
http://lh5.ggpht.com/_tM63e4Rno2Y/SZ...0/DSCF0086.JPG

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 08:46 AM

It took me a total of 2 evenings to complete this project, and about $70 in materials. Not bad since I already had the small fridge and Johnson controller laying around. I learned the best way to cut the insulation is a hacksaw blade. Makes nice clean cuts and doesn't leave too much foam shavings all over the place. I used liquid nails for adhering the foam to the plywood, and some white silicone caulking to seal up cracks and gaps at the seams. It's pretty chilly here so I really can't test how well it holds temperatures, but I think it will work well. All the walls have 2" of foam insulation, in addition to a 1/2" plywood backing. The floor and side walls also have a 1/2" air gap behind the plywood.

The chamber should easily be able to hold 62F, but I"m hoping the insulation will be good enough to maintain lagering temps. I'm not holding my breath for lagering, as my garage does get very hot in the summer. But hey, if it works for ale fermentation temps I'll be happy. I can store 3 6.5 gallon carboys in milk crates, or 4 brew buckets.

dagamore 02-11-2009 09:23 AM

very clean, hope it holds the temps you want :D Grove on.

Stevorino 02-11-2009 11:32 AM

Pretty awesome project! Thanks for posting

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 03:07 PM

Thanks! I hope it works well...I'm stoked to have all operations now located in the brewery! Now all I have to add is perhaps a fermwrap heater on the back wall or a heat lamp. That should enable me to both warm and cool the chamber.

wildwest450 02-11-2009 03:30 PM

Are you going to put a small fan in the fridge to push air? Or do you think it will circulate on it's own?

TwoHeadsBrewing 02-11-2009 03:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wildwest450 (Post 1126804)
Are you going to put a small fan in the fridge to push air? Or do you think it will circulate on it's own?

I was thinking about that, but I'm just going to see how it works for now. I have several computer fans that are just sitting around, so I suppose it would be easy to hook one up to a power supply. We'll see when the weather gets warmer.


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