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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Mother of a fermentation chiller - How much ice?
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:31 AM   #1
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Default Mother of a fermentation chiller - How much ice?

Hi everybody,
I've build with a friend a mother of a fermentation chiller fit enough to fit in my little closet. It consists of 0.5 inches plywood surrounding 1 inch insulation foam (extruded). On this insulation foam, I used Reflectix insulator to gain more insulation.

It its interior, it is about 17.5"x19.5"x 22".

Today, I did a test run with it. I put two one liters bottle of water in it, and it went from 23.5 C (74.3 F) (the temperature of my apartment) to 20C (68 F) in about 7 hours before slowly decreasing to 20.5 now (68.9) (13 hour after the start of its initial run).

Right now, I'm not having what I thought I would have. I thought I would rapidly have my 18 C (64.4 F), but instead, I never reached it. Which I don't like, because I still didn't brew any beer because I wanted to have good temperature control beforehand, and I spent a lot in this.

How much ice should I put in it to have better results? Three liters? 4? Should I have transitionned more quickly from two liters to two other liters? Because, all in all, all the time, I only used one set of two one liters of ice (Guess I'll be trying this!).

The big problem is -- I'm limited in my congelator's space. SWMBO agreed to let me space for 2 liters of ice -- I don't think I can push my luck way further than that (maybe 3 liters?). Maybe while I'm using three liters, I can put three others liters in the congelator, ready to be switched when the need calls...

Any input appreciated -- at this point...

Positive point : at least, the temperature in my fermentation chiller is lower than my appartment's temperature for at least 5 Fahrenheit (it's a bigger number in Fahrenheit) for some hours...

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Old 10-13-2009, 02:11 PM   #2
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A conundrum for sure -
I used (4) 1 gallon jugs in mine, swapped out twice a day (two at a time) before I automated.

Since space is an issue with your SWMBO, perhaps buy her a nice upright or chest freezer, she'll love having all the extra room, and you can argue for more space for your 2-liter bottles (perhaps 6 of them)

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Old 10-13-2009, 03:51 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hang Glider View Post
A conundrum for sure -
I used (4) 1 gallon jugs in mine, swapped out twice a day (two at a time) before I automated.

Since space is an issue with your SWMBO, perhaps buy her a nice upright or chest freezer, she'll love having all the extra room, and you can argue for more space for your 2-liter bottles (perhaps 6 of them)
4 1 gallons jugs? Damn...

Well, in a appartment, the chest freezer isn't the best solution... The room is very limited. In fact, we're very limited in space in the congelator and in the appartment in general. If I could just buy a chest freezer, I wouldn't have built the mother of a fermentation chiller in the first place.

I thought that with very minimal dimensions, I could use less ice. I think that the best solution for it right now would be to use maybe three one liters bottle in a very rapid rotation. Before doing that, I could, for the winter, put my MofC outside at the beginning so I wouldn't have to first cool the interior with the said ice and would only need to maintain the temperature.

This morning, I realized I had left the thermal probe under a dictionnary (in the MoFC) which might have falsified the datas a bit.

Damn it... I'll try to gain some space in the congelator...
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Old 10-13-2009, 05:54 PM   #4
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My one-gallon jugs weren't totally thawed when I swapped them out - it was a matter of convenience. Two fresh jugs in the morning before work, two fresh just in the early evening, on return from work. Two in the freezer at any given time...

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Old 10-13-2009, 05:57 PM   #5
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With mine once its down to temp I can keep it there with 1 12oz frozen bottle swapped out 2-3 times a day. During hard fermentation it needs 2 12oz bottles.

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Old 10-13-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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I use rotating jugs. Two in my chamber and two freezing. Takes the same amount of space in the freezer, just having one pair freeze up while the other pair melts in the chamber.

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Old 10-13-2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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I'll run some more tests then. I guess I have to gauge more carefully my fermentation chiller.

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Old 10-14-2009, 04:15 AM   #8
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OK, so I have another question here.

Here's some data I took while monitoring my MoFC.



I put it outside, where it's cold (I'm from Montreal), and after the interior has reached the desired temperature, I placed the ice in it, closed it AND I took it back inside my appartment afterwards. I'm only doing a maintain temperature test around 18 C (64.5 Fahrenheit). There's nothing in its interior.

I'm worried by the fact that the fan has to start every four minutes once the desired temperature is reached. I know I only used 0.5 inches plywood and 1 inch foam board + a layer of reflectix insulator, but... Isn't a warming of almost two fahrenheit degrees in four minutes a little too much?

Does it mean I might have a major air escape somewhere? Or is it normal for you guys?

Thank you!

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