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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > 15 Gallon Conical Fermenter Cooling System
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:10 PM   #71
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reviving an old thread with some questions about pumps and cooling options. I am looking to add a stainless cooling coil to a roto-mold 14 gallon plastic conical. I have a few refrigerator options- little 'cube' style dorm fridge, slightly larger 'office' fridge, or space in a chest freezer.
I am pretty set on using a submersible pump. This get's pretty good reviews
http://www.harborfreight.com/submers...ump-68418.html
is it too powerful for 10' of 1/2" tubing going to a 25' 3/8" SS coil with about a 5' lift?
I have a spare 'ebay' stc1000 controller, but haven't ordered the stainless tubing, fittings and haven't bought a pump yet, so I can upsize or downsize any part of the chilling system if it would improve the performance or reliability.
I generally brew in 11 gallon batches, and while partial to ales, would like to be able to do a lager and, more importantly, cold crash in the fermenter.

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Old 01-23-2013, 03:21 AM   #72
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save your money on that pump. This is the one i've been using with almost pure glycol and no problems. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o02_s00_i00

It runs even when the water mix I had froze almost solid in the dorm fridge. (thats why I mix heavy on the RV Antifreeze side.)

Also you'll want whatever you use as a reservoir to be almost sealed so it doesn't evaporate onto the cooling element inside the fridge. Then in between batches thaw out the fridge. I used one of my old 6 gallon fermenting buckets with holes the same diameter as the hose drilled in the lid. It takes some force to push the hose through em but it almost seals air tight. You don't want to make a sealed system because you'll have to mess with pressure release valves and bleeding it etc.

I've done 15 batches through it and love it. Simple, easy to clean, light and easy to move.

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Old 01-24-2013, 03:28 PM   #73
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So glad to see this thread is still inspiring others to use these budget conscious conicals as fermenters. We've encountered absolutely zero issues with our initial design, probably 7 ten gallon brews completed in it. We've actually added a 150 W ceramic bulb heater on the heat side to maintain temps during these cold winter months. Was down in the teens the past 2 nights and this little lamp kept the temp humming right along. Would love to hear others success stories using a similar system.

We were actually featured in the AHA Pimp My System section for this rig. I'll try to get a link up to it here shortly. Cheers!

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Old 01-24-2013, 03:39 PM   #74
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Must be nice to have cold temps!! Been riding my motorcycle to work this week. Central Tx.

Yea I'm a success as well. Love it and even thinking of buying a second. Then alternate batches on the cooling system. Leave it on the fridge for primary fermentation and then switch for the next batch. Im not an expert but since the yeast does the bulk of its work, is most stressed during primary fermentation i would think thats when temp control is the most important. Then being able to just leave it in a conical with the trub dumped for a couple more weeks or months would be nice.

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Old 01-31-2013, 04:54 PM   #75
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DPA View Post
save your money on that pump. This is the one i've been using with almost pure glycol and no problems. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o02_s00_i00

It runs even when the water mix I had froze almost solid in the dorm fridge. (thats why I mix heavy on the RV Antifreeze side.)

Also you'll want whatever you use as a reservoir to be almost sealed so it doesn't evaporate onto the cooling element inside the fridge. Then in between batches thaw out the fridge. I used one of my old 6 gallon fermenting buckets with holes the same diameter as the hose drilled in the lid. It takes some force to push the hose through em but it almost seals air tight. You don't want to make a sealed system because you'll have to mess with pressure release valves and bleeding it etc.

I've done 15 batches through it and love it. Simple, easy to clean, light and easy to move.
Thanks for the tip- I ordered 2 of those pumps today (2 conicals) and have 2 SS coils and fittings enroute from stainlessbrewing.com- hopefully I'll get some pix up in a week or so.
I was also thinking of a sealed 7G bucket and lid as reservoir for the glycol mix. Originally I was thinking pumping from a chest freezer, but now I'm thinking it would be better to use a dedicated 'dorm' fridge for cooling as I can raise it up to reduce the head pressure, as well as turn it off when not in use.
just curious... are you putting your temp probe in a thermowell, or attaching to the outside of the conical?
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:19 PM   #76
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Quote:
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Thanks for the tip- I ordered 2 of those pumps today (2 conicals) and have 2 SS coils and fittings enroute from stainlessbrewing.com- hopefully I'll get some pix up in a week or so.
I was also thinking of a sealed 7G bucket and lid as reservoir for the glycol mix. Originally I was thinking pumping from a chest freezer, but now I'm thinking it would be better to use a dedicated 'dorm' fridge for cooling as I can raise it up to reduce the head pressure, as well as turn it off when not in use.
just curious... are you putting your temp probe in a thermowell, or attaching to the outside of the conical?
Thats exactly what I use. It was virgin lid I sacrificed with 2 holes the exact diameter as the hose so its a super tight fit but not sealed. Dorm fridge is kicking ass. I went as cheap, small and maint free as possible. The thermowell is right in the center of the conical lid running down into the middle of the coil towards the bottom. 21" I think I got it from Bobby m off this forum. Also Stainlessbrewing is great!! Zach is super easy to work with and quick shipping.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:15 AM   #77
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Ours is the exact same way, thermowell running straight down the center with the probe stuck down in it. Loving the system and building a second one now.

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Carboy 2: Empty
Secondary: Vanilla Bourbon Porter
Bottle: Hibernation Ale Clone
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:38 AM   #78
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I have a pretty good seal on my lids using two food grade silicone O rings around the outside perimeter of the lid, which being fairly airtight- requires me to use a blow off tube that is going through the center that I drilled to accept a 1" stopper with a 3/8" blow off tube. I tried doing an open (unsealed) fermentation and ended up with a couple interesting but quite sour brews. Nothing wrong with that but, but It's not something I want to drink everyday.
So my plan is to insulate the fermenter with the probe to the controller on the outside wall of the fermenter under the insulation, and place a digital thermometer into the fermenter ( bobby M thermo bulkhead and CDN quick-read) so I can spot check the wort temp.

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Old 02-01-2013, 03:03 AM   #79
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Off topic, but where in Raleigh are you Modo? I work at Raleigh Brewing Co/Atlantic Brew Supply on Hillsborough and would love to chat with you about your system.

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Old 02-28-2013, 05:03 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 18DPA View Post
save your money on that pump. This is the one i've been using with almost pure glycol and no problems. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ls_o02_s00_i00

It runs even when the water mix I had froze almost solid in the dorm fridge. (thats why I mix heavy on the RV Antifreeze side.)

Also you'll want whatever you use as a reservoir to be almost sealed so it doesn't evaporate onto the cooling element inside the fridge. Then in between batches thaw out the fridge. I used one of my old 6 gallon fermenting buckets with holes the same diameter as the hose drilled in the lid. It takes some force to push the hose through em but it almost seals air tight. You don't want to make a sealed system because you'll have to mess with pressure release valves and bleeding it etc.

I've done 15 batches through it and love it. Simple, easy to clean, light and easy to move.
Submersible pumps are definitely the way to ... no issues with losing prime. I need something with more power to pump than these however. My setup is 10' of 1/2 I.D. on both inlet and outlet with a 25' coil of 3/8" stainless tubing in the middle. Pumping water it flows, but the extra viscosity of the 50/50 glycol-water mix just slows it down to zero once I put a 4 foot head pressure on it. I'm glad it works with your setup, but i guess just too much resistance in mine.
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