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Old 08-18-2012, 03:17 AM   #1
marcb
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Default DIY Glycol/Water Chiller for Jacketed or Coil Wrapped Fermenters

I recently lucked into a jacketed 1BBL fermenter on CL. It is built like a tank and needed some work (and vigorous cleaning). I added a blowoff and thermowell and decided to make it heated/cooled to maintain stable fermentation temp while living out in my sunny california garage. Initially some lunkhead used galvanized fittings on the jacket which required a new extremely large wrench to get it loosened but after a good clean up and removal of all the galvanized rust and crud it was good to go. I sourced a 1/10 hp aquarium chiller for about $100 on CL and bought an aquarium pump on amazon for about $20 to circulate the water through the chiller from a 10 Gallon Rubbermaid round cooler ($40 home depot). I also incorporated a 1/5HP sump pump (~$40 on amazon) and a drum silicon belt heater from ebay (~$100). I plan on wiring a Ranco dual stage controller to control the sump and the heating belt with the probe into a 24" sanitary thermowell from Brewershardware.com. Long story short for about $600 I have a +/- 1 degree fermentation rig for 30+ gallons of beer!

diy6.jpg   diy4.jpg   diy3.jpg   diy2.jpg   diy1.jpg  

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:48 AM   #2
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Freaking sweet! What did the tank use to be?

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:49 AM   #3
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Subscribed!! Love it

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:58 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyled93
Freaking sweet! What did the tank use to be?
I think it was built in the 80's, mostly out of 1/4,3/8 and 1/2" stainless and weighing in at about 300 lbs. my best guess is that it was a turnkey extract brewery as it has a heat skirt (notice how it is heat discolored in the bottom pic) and came with a burner. It holds pressure and had 3, 1/2" couplings welded on top. I added the 1 1/2" sanitary fitting and the tee for blowoff and thermowell to match my morebeer conical's functionality as well as a 2" butterfly valve on the output of the cone for dropping trub.
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Old 08-23-2012, 12:14 AM   #5
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Default update!

initial testing has proven successfull controlling cooling with aquarium chiller. Pumping the 50 degree cooled water through the jacket with a sump pump seems to work well and the 750 watt drum heater kicks major behind! Next up is to get the dual stage ranco wired up and hopefully I'll be fermenting 25 gallons of Belgian tripel in here this weekend! Any idea on how to make my photos line up correctly? this is driving me nuts.... any tips?

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Old 08-24-2012, 02:17 AM   #6
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I like the idea of using an aquarium chiller. Never thought of that and wasn't sure how cold they got!

How long did it take to get to temperature?

For my DIY jacketed fermentor I used a water fountain and diaphragm Pump. It works pretty well for 15 gallon batches...

Great build and idea though!

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:18 AM   #7
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Dude, I like the Brewhemoth (and the water fountain!) Are you happy with it? I have a few friends that are looking in that range and have some questions about the cone not being 60 degrees and still being effective at minimizing the dead yeast contact with the beer.... The 1/10th hp aquarium chillers are intended to work with 30-80 gallons. For 80 gallons they offer a -10 degree differential from ambient and at 30 gallons they offer a -30 degree diff. In my case I am using a 10 gallon reservoir so I tested it by putting 70 degree ground water from the hose into the reservoir and recirculating it with the aquarium pump (let me know if anyone is interested and I'll post pump models and amazon links) through the chiller. If the chiller is on the ground next to the reservoir (0 head) the chiller is much more efficient for some reason. With the chiller on top of the reservoir it takes an hour or two to drop the temp of 10 gallons of water 25 degrees. I keep it set at 48 degrees in my 85-90 degree summertime garage and it doesn't seem to tax it or run all the time. I then use a sump pump tied to a ranco to kick in and pump the water through the jacket to cool down the fermenter. I have only tested with PBW but it seems to move the needle a few degrees within a few minutes from ambient even with 30 gallons in the fermenter. Since I do mostly ales I like to start the first 24 hours of active fermentation around 65 and (if a Belgian) I will let it climb up to 70/71 over a couple of days to finish off. Things like Pliny I hold at 67-68 for the duration and being able to chill in the summertime is key! I get my shiny new 27 gallon heated/cooled Morebeer conical in about a week so I am looking forward to comparing the temp control on both to see how tight this system is when compared to the pelteirs on the more beer rig.

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Old 08-25-2012, 01:46 PM   #8
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Thanks!

Yea, I really like the set up so far. The only downside if any is the chilled water line is 1/4", which is good and bad really. The bad is I have to use a diaphragm pump due to the amount of piping used and the good being the fountain barely runs to maintain temp. I originally contacted the fountains manufacture and they guaranteed that at 8gph with 90 ambient outside temp they could provide constant 50 degree water. Granted I think I have only about 40 oz of water in the loop which also allows the loop to cool quickly. The complete setup is a 50 foot 1/4" copper line wrapped around the outside then covered by Armaflex HVAC insulation. I have tested it with water so far and am able to maintain 50 degrees. I guess We will see what happens during active fermentation. I added some more photos.



As far as the brewhemouth, I would recommend this to anyone! It is a great product for an excellent price . It is pretty hard to find a SS conical fermentors that is 22 gallons for 500 or so dollars. I don't think the conical not being at 60 degrees is an issue. Some people say it is but in my opinion, by the time active fermentation is close to over you are usually removing the remaining trub and dead yeast from the bottom port so that you can pull beer through the racking port. Just my thought.

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Old 08-25-2012, 05:16 PM   #9
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Great pics and build. Thanks for the recommendation on the Brewhemoth - I contacted them to see if they would/could build a bigger one and they never responded. I like the made in USA fact as well as what I have heard from people that use them. My stable now includes a heated/cooled 14 Gallon Morebeer v2 Conical, the beast above (1BBL 300lbs of SS) and I have a 27 Gallon Morebeer heated/cooled unit coming in the next few weeks. Now I just need to get out to the garage and find time to brew!

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Old 09-07-2012, 04:38 AM   #10
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Lots of testing with water and starsan, temp holds great and chiller as well as the band heater work well! First real test, 25 gallons of high gravity Belgian Tripel this weekend, starts off at 65 degrees and ends up at about 71 several weeks later. September is typically one of the hottest months around here in Cali so this thing is going to get quite a workout!

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