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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Kegerators and Keezers > Home bar/keg chamber/ferm chamber build
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:18 PM   #1
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Default Home bar/keg chamber/ferm chamber build

Welcome to my home bar/ keg chamber / fermentation chamber build.

Introduction:
My friend started brewing mid 2012 and it piqued my interest because I am pretty big into DIY. I wanted to taste his beers before I got myself started into brewing. After all, why would I want to spend money on this hobby just to get a crappy product? After I tasted his first brew I found it very tasty…a little astringent due to no temp control, but still very tasty. I decided to jump in head first and use my tax return to buy a deluxe starter kit from northern brewer. I brewed my first extract batch in March 2013 and I was immediately hooked. After brewing my first batch (a partial boil extract with steeping grains, Northern brewers Caribou Slobber) I was hooked. I immediately went out and bought a turkey fryer with a 7 gallon pot so that I could do full boils. A year later I upgraded to a 15 gallon pot and did my first all grain…loved it! My next project….Temperature control.
I decided that once I got my tax return back in march (2014), I was going to build myself a fermentation chamber. I had many iterations of ideas of how to achieve this. I started out wanting to build small single carboy vessels cooled with peltier devices…this didn’t really pan out as peltier devices are not too efficient and they are only good for keeping temperatures to about 10 degrees below ambient, unless you have superb cooling for the hot side. You have to put a lot of work into these to get them to work well. Next I decided on a chest freezer, but I wanted to hide it under a counter. After some research I found that for the size of freezer I wanted, my counters are not deep enough to hide them the way I wanted. So I finally decided on building my own fermentation cabinet using either a mini fridge or a window ac unit. Lucky for me the basement in my house was set up as kind of a mother-in-law apartment. It has a kitchen with stove hook up and washer and dryer hook ups in the bathroom. The kitchen has really worked out great as small basement brewery. One wall of the kitchen has some small shelves attached to the ceiling. Underneath is where you would put the stove and maybe a fridge. This is where I decided to build my cabinet. Since the wall is about 10ft long I decided to use the whole space for my cabinet which I decided to build it into a bar/ fermentation chamber/ keg chamber. For the size of it I decided against the mini fridge and started designing it with a window AC as the cooling unit.

The Build:
It took a lot of planning and designing as I have never done a big project like this before. A lot of research and constant changes …It probably took about 2 or 3 months to plan this before I started building. I believe I started building this past June….and still building. I almost have the cabinet and chambers done. I decided to use Cedar as my finished wood because it looks nice and it’s cheaper than a lot of other wood. The only caveat is that it’s soft so it dents and damages easily. I applied Tung oil to the cedar to make the grain pop then put 2 layers of shellac over top to seal it.

Took the shelf off the wall


Painted the wall


Got some of the new electric wire pulled and the first piece of the bar built. The hole in the wall is the air return. I had to build around this.



Its all coming starting to come together


The piece on the left was cut from the piece on the right. I applied tung oil to it…looks good


Put 4 electrical outlets in here to power various things ( temperature controller, fans for fermentation chamber, lighting…anything else I decide to add


The left chamber is the ferm chamber. Temps will be controlled with a cheap version of the brewpi fermentation controller that I found in this thread: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/howt...-cheap-466106/
Two PC fans will blow the cold air from the keg chamber into the ferm chamber to cool it. I found a small cheap heater at Walmart.


Put on the cedar face frame and kickplate and stapled some reflectix to the inside


Put in some 2” rigid insulation from HD and my cheap window ac unit off of craigslist

And the cabinet doors
I put the top on yesterday and the AC brought the chamber down to 35 degrees in less than 5 minutes. Time to caulk/great stuff and reflectix tape the seams.


Found this on craigslist, I will be mounting this to the wall and have my keg taps coming out of the front.

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Old 09-18-2014, 07:19 PM   #2
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Time for an update!


One of my friends works for an HVAC company and told me he could bend some sheet metal for the inside of the chambers.



Inside the fermentation chamber and my homemade brewpi temp controller thanks to fuzzewuzze (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/howt...-cheap-466106/). I have it displaying on my ipad.



The fans that blow the cold air from the keg chamber into the fermentation chamber



The window AC unit. I cut off the temp probe and soldered in a 10K ohm resistor. The temp is always at 87 degrees.



Caulked all the seems and now its pretty much ready.

I need to take another couple of pics tonight. I brewed on monday and its keeping temp very good. Its set to 60 degrees and the chamber and controller are keeping it within .5 degrees of my setpoint.

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Old 09-18-2014, 07:19 PM   #3
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All sealed up



My first controlled beer fermentation!
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:20 PM   #4
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:21 PM   #5
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:21 PM   #6
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:26 PM   #7
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Looking forward to more pictures!

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Old 09-19-2014, 03:09 PM   #8
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awesome build. Can't wait to see it ready for action.

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Old 09-19-2014, 03:29 PM   #9
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Looks amazing. My only concern the AC unit overheating from being enclosed...

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Old 09-19-2014, 07:06 PM   #10
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There is a cutout on the right side that the AC unit sticks out of to expel the warm air. Also the cabinet door is not airtight so any air can be vented through there. I turned it on for a test run with the foam tops on the keg chamber and ran the AC for about 5 minutes until the chamber got down to 35 degrees. The middle vents of the AC dont blow out hot air so I'm not really worried about the middle being enclosed.

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