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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Simple Conical Fermenter Cooler Idea. Will this work?
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Old 04-30-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Simple Conical Fermenter Cooler Idea. Will this work?

Any and all ideas, advice, plans, criticisim, etc would be greatly appreciated.

I'm renting a poorly insulated house in central texas and now have a Plastic conical fermenter. I Don't have room for another fridge to put the conical in to control temps, but I have room near the keggerator and don't mind punching some holes in the freezer to do this.

Cost is a big part of this, also simplicity. Lets go as cheap and easy as possible. I've seen some really involved systems and would rather just go back to Carboy in the rubbermaid with water/wet T-shirt for the summer months.

I have the spare coils and plenty of hoses laying around.

An aquarium pump would be my first idea but I don't know if they could handle the frozen liquid glycol.

From reading other similar minded posts I know I would have to insulate the lines.

I think I need to create a way to bleed all the air out of the system or the pump would cavitate. Yes/no?

Ambient Temp in the house when we are gone is around 85 F. If we try to lower that our Electric bill goes upwards of $300 and the wife really doesn't dig that. I would like to keep it ale temps only. I have a Corny for Lagers that fits inside the keggerator.


Thanks for any help.

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:23 PM   #2
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Quick thought, could you wrap the coils around the exterior of the fermenter VS. submerging them in the beer?

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Old 04-30-2012, 04:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by worksnorth View Post
Quick thought, could you wrap the coils around the exterior of the fermenter VS. submerging them in the beer?

Thats the basic idea of this: http://morebeer.com/view_product/107...cal_-_14gallon

I am building a plastic conical fermenter. All parts and wooden stand will be under 100$.

Plastic doesn't conduct cold or heat very well and everything I've read here says for the plastic ones it just doesn't work very well.

Thank you for the thoughts.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:40 PM   #4
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i've thought of this too. In my thinking through it, i was worried that running glycol at ~0*F would cause freezing at the site of the coils before tripping the temp sensor. Ive seen the pics of guys running the glycol systems externally and having frozen condensate on the outside of the coils in an 80*F garage. I think that if you were to run glycol out of the fridge (34*F?) you would have plenty of temp differential to remove heat.

(i'm remembering something about a liquid not freezing until the entire body of liquid reaches freeze point? but i was thinking that the coils being so cold and providing a nucleation point could cause an ice buildup?)

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Old 04-30-2012, 06:35 PM   #5
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I have a friend that is doing something similar and he is just running the lines into a giant cold room/fermenation room that is set to 34-36cish. I think he said he is just going to have a giant glycol reservoir in the cold room and recirc it through the coils in his fermenters. (He is builing a small brewery). The cold room is only for the bright tanks/lagering, etc.

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Old 04-30-2012, 06:42 PM   #6
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anonymousbrew: Makes me wonder if I'll be ok as long as I am going for Ale temps. The exothermic yeast and the house temp would keep the fermenter well above freezing and prevent ice? Or use another's idea and go even more simple with just water running from the refrigerator not the freezer.

Varroa: Thanks. Kind of reassuring.

Both: Thank you for the input.

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Old 04-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #7
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how about recirculating a bucket of vodka/grain alcohol sitting in the freezer?

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Old 05-01-2012, 02:40 AM   #8
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Also, you don't want copper coil in contact with the fermenting beer. I don't have the links available but do some searching here to find info. Copper is ok in the boil, but toxic in the ferment.

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:22 AM   #9
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That is what I am doing with my plastic conical. I coiled some 5/16" SS tubing and pump water thru it with a Harbor Freight pond pump. I placed a 2.5 g container of water in my keezer and tied it to an e-bay aquarium temp controller. My keezer doesn't get to freezing, but you will freeze if you put it in the freezer. Could you place it in the kegerator so you won't have to worry about freezing?

I fermented out some lagers at 50 degrees without any problem during the cooler months and use it for ales all the time.

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Old 05-01-2012, 05:58 AM   #10
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bobjohnson: Thanks, That was the plan I read the same info also.

Bullbythehorns: Thanks. I'm curious why everyone that does this kind of setup goes for the aquarium temp controller vs a Ranco? Is it just a price thing?

I have the same thread going on theelctricbrewery forum as well. Everyone is saying that I can get the job done without using glycol in the freezer and just go water in the fridge.

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