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-   -   Homemade Ferm Chamber (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/homemade-ferm-chamber-301289/)

HopHead73 02-05-2012 02:51 AM

Homemade Ferm Chamber
 
Just got my new temperature controlled fermentation chamber up and running. Wanted to see what everyone thought and if anyone had any thoughts on it.

I took a 60qt Igloo cooler and made a platform to raise the carboy so it can sit evenly and installed a Jager 50watt aquarium heater.
http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...4/DSC01113.jpg

Then I took insulation foam and shaped it to fit snuggly on the cooler acting as a new lid and cut out an opening for the top of the carboy and then gorilla glued it together.
http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...4/DSC01114.jpg

And finally I filled with 5 gallons of water and used a thermowell with a Johnson Digital Temp Controller which the aquarium heater is hooked up to. Since its winter the aquarium heater will keep the temp from dropping and in the warmer seasons I can just add frozen water bottles to drop the temp.
http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...4/DSC01149.jpg

It's only been up and running 4 hours and seems to be working well with a Founder's Breakfast Stout Clone in there.
Anyone have any suggestions for upgrading this system?

kh54s10 02-05-2012 02:57 AM

That is nice. For me, my swamp cooler is in my den where I spend most of my time so I have to cool even now in February. It is easier now though than it was mid summer.

SamBrewer 02-05-2012 12:30 PM

nice! I'm using this solution for every belgian beers I make!
You also need an aquarium pump! you have to create some water movements to uniform the temperature and also to reach the temperature you want. otherwise you'll notice by using a termometer that the water temp is some degrees below the set temp on the aquarium heater

HopHead73 02-05-2012 04:06 PM

I was definitely thinking about adding an aquarium pump.
It is only 5 gallons of water and seems to be working well though, I'll have to give it more time and see if it is needed.
Also, the temperature controller that is hooked up to the aquarium heater is in a thermowell so the temperature that it is reading is the core temperature of the beer and not the surrounding water in the cooler. so the heater is only turned on when core temp drops and not the water temp.

SamBrewer 02-06-2012 06:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HopHead73 (Post 3745879)
I was definitely thinking about adding an aquarium pump.
It is only 5 gallons of water and seems to be working well though, I'll have to give it more time and see if it is needed.
Also, the temperature controller that is hooked up to the aquarium heater is in a thermowell so the temperature that it is reading is the core temperature of the beer and not the surrounding water in the cooler. so the heater is only turned on when core temp drops and not the water temp.

that's the best solution to have control of the real fermentation temperature. good job :mug:

AWKBrewing13 11-10-2012 11:23 PM

i have a question for this. I have a very long cooler at my moms house that i wanted to use for something like this.

I make 2 gallons batches and ferment in a 3 gallon car boy and then can rack to two sanitized 1 gallon growlers.

Do I need a lid on it? i want to keep temps around 65 for my apartment for doing ales. suggestions? i already have an aquarium thermometer. and i could make a lid from wood and insulation so i can reuse the cooler for other purposes.

thoughts?

HopHead73 11-17-2012 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by AWKBrewing13 (Post 4577521)
i have a question for this. I have a very long cooler at my moms house that i wanted to use for something like this.

I make 2 gallons batches and ferment in a 3 gallon car boy and then can rack to two sanitized 1 gallon growlers.

Do I need a lid on it? i want to keep temps around 65 for my apartment for doing ales. suggestions? i already have an aquarium thermometer. and i could make a lid from wood and insulation so i can reuse the cooler for other purposes.

thoughts?

I would definitely make a lid for it. My lid helps keep the core temp of my carboy during fermentation within 1-2degrees of my target temperature.
Without a lid the water around the carboys will warm up quicker and in return will let the carboys get too warm.

Fermentation temperature control is one of the biggest things anyone can do to help improve their homebrew.

Nagorg 11-17-2012 09:25 PM

I'm not sure that aquarium heater should be hanging out in the open air. They are desiged to heat water so it's expected to be in water. The glass tube may crack unless you stick it in a jug of water or something like that.

EDIT: I think I'm now readng that the heater is in water inside the cooler.. If so, cool! :)

HopHead73 11-18-2012 12:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nagorg (Post 4599227)
I'm not sure that aquarium heater should be hanging out in the open air. They are desiged to heat water so it's expected to be in water. The glass tube may crack unless you stick it in a jug of water or something like that.

EDIT: I think I'm now readng that the heater is in water inside the cooler.. If so, cool! :)


Yeah, put your carboy in the cooler, Fill it with Water so the carboy is submerged and then put your aquarium heater in there hooked up to the digital temp controller and put the lid on.
If you need to warm up your fermentation the heater will warm the water around the carboy and in return will warm up your fermentation. If you need to cool down your fermentation then just throw a frozen water bottle in the cooler and it will cool down the water and cool down your carboy core temp.

I have found with this chamber, or any other chamber you may build from an old fridge or chest freezer, that you will notice a great increase in the overall outcome of your beer.

StMarcos 11-22-2012 04:56 AM

You don't know if you don't need the water circulator unless you measure the temp at at least 2 vertically spaced spots. Believe me, thermal stratification is a big issue. Get a small aquarium powerhead to get some movement in the thermal bath.


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