Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Fermentation Chamber - separate from but powered by a chest freezer
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 07-07-2012, 06:44 PM   #1
BobTheFourth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 62
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default Fermentation Chamber - separate from but powered by a chest freezer

First of all, this is my first post in this forum, so Hello Everyone!

I'm about to make the switch to kegging my homebrew instead of bottling, because bottling is a pain in the butt. My plan is to use a chest freezer to hold the kegs - I've picked out one big enough to hold four, plus a carboy on the hump. But that's just the background - it occurred to me that I may be able to use this machine to power an external ale fermentation chamber as well, and was wondering if anyone had tried this and what the results were. Searches on this forum and the internet didn't really turn anything up that sounded similar to my idea.

What I was thinking of doing is adding a collar to the chest freezer and hooking up some 3-4" diameter insulated ducts - one for an inlet and one for an outlet. These would run to an insulated chamber big enough to hold a couple carboys. A temperature controller would turn on a fan mounted in the exhaust duct when the temperature dropped below a typical ale fermentation set point, thus circulating cold air up from the freezer.

Another (more expensive) option I considered was using a system of copper pipes & coils filled with water to move the heat instead. This would require the temperature controller to modulate a small pump, but might be more efficient and responsive. The coil in the freezer could be immersed in a cold water bath to improve heat transfer.

Thoughts? Sound crazy, or doable?

__________________
BobTheFourth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-07-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
befus
Mr. Infecto
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
befus's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Rogers, Arkansas
Posts: 592
Liked 13 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

Doable.

__________________

Award winning:
Northern Brown Ale


"Guess I'll watch some TV, cuz it's nice to see people more messed up than me."

Primary:
Bottled: Wee Ain't Heavy (Wee Heavy);
Kegged: Brown Rhyno Old Ale (Rye Knot+ clone); Second Amendment Vanilla/Bourbon Porter; Pale Ale (a'la EdWort's Haus Pale);
On Deck: Northern Brown; Kolsch; Apricot wheat,

befus is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-08-2012, 01:31 AM   #3
kev
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 134
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Default

The air only sounds good.mount your supply duct low to the bottom, your return duct should be up at the highest point. That is also where you want to mount the thermostat. No such thing as too much insulation for fermentation chamber, all the way around. Just make sure that the thermostat/ temp controller has access to return air. Don't over fill chamber with fermenters you want good air flow or it will not work. Bad side is that all fermenters will be at same temp. Water coils could likely freeze. And you have to factor in viscosity, air elimination in your piping, can the pump handle the cold water? And the air would be a cheaper build. Just my thoughts good luck keep me posted as to how you make out. Cheers

__________________
kev is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-08-2012, 01:54 AM   #4
FatBaldBeerGuy
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Swan Point, Maryland
Posts: 92
Likes Given: 5

Default

This sounds like an amazing idea, looking forward to progress.

__________________

On Deck: Irish Red
Primary: Saison
Secondary: Black IPA
Kegged:
Drinking: All gone!!!

FatBaldBeerGuy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-08-2012, 04:12 PM   #5
BobTheFourth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 62
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

Thanks for the votes of confidence. I was pricing out the water-based system a bit and decided it would end up costing as much as just buying another small freezer, so I'll probably go with air just based on cost. I'd like to figure out a way that I could have multiple independent chambers if possible, so that I can have a primary and a secondary going at once with the appropriate cooling - suggestions to that end would be excellent. I'm not sure how the ductwork would have to be arranged - I don't want to have too many holes in the collar and too much ductwork cluttering up the inside of the freezer. Having only one inlet and outlet in the freezer would be best if I could do it that way.

__________________
BobTheFourth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-10-2012, 05:25 AM   #6
kev
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 134
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

Default

A couple more thoughts. I forgot to mention that you are going to need to add dampers in the supply and return ducts to keep cold air from bleeding into fermentation chamber and cooling down too much. Also the more warm air you move you finished beer will also warm. If you want multiple chambers you will need more ducts, especially if you want each one to have its own temp. Difficult but nut impossible. Don't forget to add a t-stat for each chamber. I don't want to be a kill-joy, I want to see you succeed. Good luck keep us posted. Cheers

__________________
kev is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-10-2012, 05:46 AM   #7
Cromwell
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Posts: 778
Liked 73 Times on 60 Posts
Likes Given: 132

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobTheFourth View Post
Thanks for the votes of confidence. I was pricing out the water-based system a bit and decided it would end up costing as much as just buying another small freezer, so I'll probably go with air just based on cost. I'd like to figure out a way that I could have multiple independent chambers if possible, so that I can have a primary and a secondary going at once with the appropriate cooling - suggestions to that end would be excellent. I'm not sure how the ductwork would have to be arranged - I don't want to have too many holes in the collar and too much ductwork cluttering up the inside of the freezer. Having only one inlet and outlet in the freezer would be best if I could do it that way.
I think this will work reasonably well, but I'm not an expert in this. I'd build the ferm chamber from insulation, and just put in a foam board divider to separate the two temperatures. You do need a controller with temp sensor in each chamber, but a fan blowing cold air from the freezer can go to the cold side of the ferm chamber, and another fan can blow cool air from the cold side to the warmer side of the ferm chamber. It just requires 2 temp controllers, and 2 computer fans and probably a flap. Easy peasy.
__________________

Primary: Beer / Secondary: Beer / Lagering: Old beer.

Cromwell is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-10-2012, 08:10 PM   #8
BobTheFourth
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Lynchburg, VA
Posts: 62
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by kev View Post
A couple more thoughts. I forgot to mention that you are going to need to add dampers in the supply and return ducts to keep cold air from bleeding into fermentation chamber and cooling down too much. Also the more warm air you move you finished beer will also warm. If you want multiple chambers you will need more ducts, especially if you want each one to have its own temp. Difficult but nut impossible. Don't forget to add a t-stat for each chamber. I don't want to be a kill-joy, I want to see you succeed. Good luck keep us posted. Cheers
Yeah, definitely dampers at the inlet and outlets from the chambers and the freezer. Though I'd think if the freezer and the chamber were at the same height, I wouldn't have to worry too much about bleeding since the cold air would naturally settle. Hopefully I won't have to worry too much about the kegs warming up - 10-20 gallons of beer is a lot of thermal mass.

I'm hoping to have only one tube in and one out of the freezer, and having the cold air split up in some sort of manifold. I just need to figure out a way to keep the chambers from drawing air from each other instead of the freezer. Maybe some dampers functioning as check valves could help with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cromwell
I think this will work reasonably well, but I'm not an expert in this. I'd build the ferm chamber from insulation, and just put in a foam board divider to separate the two temperatures. You do need a controller with temp sensor in each chamber, but a fan blowing cold air from the freezer can go to the cold side of the ferm chamber, and another fan can blow cool air from the cold side to the warmer side of the ferm chamber. It just requires 2 temp controllers, and 2 computer fans and probably a flap. Easy peasy.
I'm thinking about this as well. I'm just not sure how well it would actually work with them being separately controlled. There may be situations where I have stuff in the "hot" chamber but not the "cold" chamber (or vice-versa) and it would be more efficient to be able to deliver the air there directly. And if only one side was "running", it might have trouble pushing enough air through the other chamber to keep circulation going (and if it could, it might upset the temperature in the other chamber, especially if the cold chamber is running and the hot chamber isn't). But this option does potentially solve the ductwork issue, and having only one chamber with a divider is easier to build and manage, so its worth exploring this option some more. I may be over-thinking the disadvantages.
__________________
BobTheFourth is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-10-2012, 08:31 PM   #9
BBL_Brewer
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
BBL_Brewer's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Kokomo, IN
Posts: 3,701
Liked 429 Times on 297 Posts
Likes Given: 323

Default

Sounds like a cool idea. The only thing I can think of that may cause a problem is the BTU rating of the freezer. With multiple fermentation chambers and kegs comming in and out you should make sure that the freezer can handle the load and keep up without stressing. I would also try and put this somewhere where ambient temps won't fluctuate much. Good luck with the build, let us know how it turns out.

__________________
Slots Down Brewery
Stick with the plan....not the sparge.


Never Ending Liquid Yeast - How to Farm Yeast and Freeze it.

BBL_Brewer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-10-2012, 08:46 PM   #10
Xpertskir
Feedback Score: 6 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Morgantown, Wv
Posts: 2,086
Liked 413 Times on 268 Posts
Likes Given: 21

Default

Great idea, but seems a bit unnecessary.

The problems I see

Cost and effort vs the alternative, which is a CL chest freezer(with or without a collar)with a 65-75 dollar temp controller(my 2 carboy holding unit cost me 135 out the door). I can lager, you will not be able to with your set up.

The biggest issue with this is logistics. This would force you to serve and ferment in the same place. For me serving is in my bar room and fermenting is in another room all together.

Also, the possibility of over taxing your compressor is also possible.

I would say if you love to tinker, have a logistical set up for serving and fermenting that makes sense, and are open to the possibility of this not working out...full steam ahead.

__________________
Xpertskir is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Chest freezer for fermentation? skidkid267 Fermentation & Yeast 19 10-06-2012 12:07 AM
Chest freezer fermentation chamber for 2+ carboys julian81 Fermentation & Yeast 18 07-03-2012 05:31 AM
Fermentation Chamber - Chest or Upright Freezer stvcoburn Fermentation & Yeast 16 04-09-2012 04:29 AM
New chest freezer for fermentation! Diesel48 Fermentation & Yeast 14 07-12-2011 04:07 AM
Chest freezer fermenation chamber and fresh air flow worldzfree Fermentation & Yeast 2 12-16-2010 11:29 PM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS