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Old 09-25-2012, 06:31 AM   #31
glmouras
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Here in Ohio, I use a 26 gallon conical, and brew several 20 gallon batches each year, starting right about now when night time temperatures begin to drop into the 30's. I have an attached garage where I can do all my brewing out on the concrete floor where I can sterilize, brew, and clean up everything up afterward with a hose. Once the wort is in the fermenter (on wheels and extensions of course) I push it off to the side, and use a thermostatically controlled electric heater to maintain the garage temperature right where I need it to keep the brew at the proper temperature. Since the garage is attached and well insulated, the temperature never falls below 45 degrees even without the heater, and for most of the year, it doesn't take too much to keep it in the fifties or sixties. It's like having a giant walk in, and my wife likes the added benefit of having a relatively warm car on cold mornings too. Of course, I can't brew that way in the summer, but when you're cranking out 20 gallons at a time, you can brew a year's worth pretty quickly, and if I get in a pinch, I can always do a batch in the basement where it stays pretty cool. I usually put 15 gallons of each batch in a regular half barrel, and the rest in a 5 gallon keg, carbonate them both, and then fill bottles from the 5 gallon keg. I try to drink the kegged beers that taste better "young" first, and let the others age for summer time consumption. This approach is working really well for me right now, but eventually, I plan to build a barn, and when I do, I plan to include a room that I can cool or heat so my brewing won't be limited by the time of year.

I've found that the larger batch sizes are much more forgiving and easier to duplicate, and some of the beers I brew, like my porters, taste really great when they've had a year in the keg to settle and develop character. I'm not knocking bucket brewing, but I just got tired of chasing one batch after another trying to keep beer on hand. It takes the same time to brew 5 gallons as it does to brew 20, and I was spending all my time brewing and not enough time drinking it!

Happy Brewing - Highlander

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Old 09-25-2012, 10:38 AM   #32
lehr
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Kenmore allfridge works well after you remove the plastic inner door/shelf.

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Old 09-26-2012, 08:37 AM   #33
glmouras
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lehr View Post
Kenmore allfridge works well after you remove the plastic inner door/shelf.
One of these days I'd like to examine what MoreBeer is using to cool and heat their temperature controlled fermenters. I'm pretty handy with mechanical stuff, and wrapping some sort of heat exchanger directly around the body of the fermenter seems like it might be the best approach. Just adding heat would be easy, but cooling is more challenging, and being able to do both complicates things a lot. I wonder if they are using Peltier modules? That could be a perfect solution ....
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:36 PM   #34
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I'm thinking about building a conical out of a spare sankey. I am planning on wrapping some copper tubing around and pumping glycol from a small chest freezer for cooling and flexwatt for heating. Then insulate with reflectix. It seems like a lot of extra work, BUT it would also allow me to eventually have two different conicals at two different temps (something that's a lot harder in a ferm chamber). I can simply add a pump to the glycol chamber with a separate temp controller for each conical.

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