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Old 07-01-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
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Default 5000 BTU Crawl-In Fermention Chamber

I normally don't brew in summer. It's just too hot in the garage and my basement HVAC is set to 72. I normally ferment in the basement in winter where I keep the temperature set at 68F. The keezer is also down there. But it is hard on the back carrying 5-10 gal of fermenting wort down the stairs to ferment, then back up to the garage for crash cooling in a fridge and kegging. Then back down to the keezer. The basement is already completely finished with wood flooring, my office, a full bath, an entertainment room and a 14x26ft seven seat, two tier home theater. So, there will be no extensive remodeling to allow an electric brewery.

We have a 3-car garage and I have made a portion of that a brewing area. I put together this 4x4x4 ft fermentation chamber using 4x4 lumber, OSB, foam insulation and a new GE 5000BTU AC unit that is controlled by an STC-1000. The AC is a very simple model with only an on/off switch. So it should work well with the STC-1000 or a CoolBot. It is on casters so I can roll it around. It fits into my little brew corner and it will have shelves that sit on top of it to store my equipment. Yesterday, I wired up the controller and plugged in the AC. That was before I added any insulation or doors. The top was also not affixed and only sitting in place. I propped two OSB panels by the door opening and fired it up. With all those potential air leaks and NO insulation, I achieved 18.3C (~65F) in about 10 minutes. The ambient temperature was about 88F.

Here is a photo taken last night after I added most of the foam insulation. BTW, the floor is 4x4 with OSB on top and bottom. The 4" space is tightly filled with blow-in insulation. All seams are now caulked and I still need to add some Great Stuff foam as well as some weather stripping, doors and maybe a tile floor.

The second photo shows the AC unit and you can also see the STC-1000 near the front side.

dsc_0358.jpg   dsc_0359.jpg  
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:26 PM   #2
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What are your plans to drain the ac? Anything special or just drain to a bucket? How much are you into this project financially, if you dont mind sharing. I am trying to build a Ferm chamber on somewhat of a reasonable budget, that is why I ask.

Oh and looks very nice so far! Are you sure you want to use tile though? I would think laminate would be much more durable, without the hassle of worrying about glass carboys being on it

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Old 07-01-2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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The AC unit rests on a u-shaped platform made of 2x4 lumber. I am mounting a pan under it with drain that will go right out the garage and into a Nelly R Stevens Holly.

I figure I'm into this about $400. The little GE AC unit was on sale back in April for $99, so I bought it and yesterday was the first time I ever even plugged it in. It is also surprisingly quiet. As far as the floor of the cooler, I don't use glass carboys. I use these which range from about 8gal to 13 gal in capacity. The blue tops are about 7.5 gal, the Speidel is 30L and the two red tops are 13gal. A tile floor would just make it easier to slide them in and around.

dsc_0360.jpg  
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Hog Mountain Brewing Co.
Tap 1: American Brown Ale
Tap 2: Empty - IPA coming 18 May
Tap 3: Empty - APA coming June
Kolsch coming July


Primary:
Secondary:
Cold Conditioning: IPA
On Deck: Kolsch
On Deck: Pale Ale
On Deck: Dusseldorf Altbier

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemingway
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:14 AM   #4
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tonight, I removed the AC unit's temperature sensor and located it outside the chamber. I set the STC-1000 to 10C and boom, right down to 10C. I don't even have doors on it yet...just two pieces of foam blocking the opening.

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Hog Mountain Brewing Co.
Tap 1: American Brown Ale
Tap 2: Empty - IPA coming 18 May
Tap 3: Empty - APA coming June
Kolsch coming July


Primary:
Secondary:
Cold Conditioning: IPA
On Deck: Kolsch
On Deck: Pale Ale
On Deck: Dusseldorf Altbier

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemingway
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Old 07-02-2013, 02:21 AM   #5
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All I need to do now is add the doors. I couldn't resist checking the capacity. That is all my fermentation capability inside. I do have one 7gal bucket from Northern Brewer that is not in there. This represents approx 56.5gal. I doubt I'll ever have more than 20gal fermenting at once.

dsc_0363.jpg  
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Hog Mountain Brewing Co.
Tap 1: American Brown Ale
Tap 2: Empty - IPA coming 18 May
Tap 3: Empty - APA coming June
Kolsch coming July


Primary:
Secondary:
Cold Conditioning: IPA
On Deck: Kolsch
On Deck: Pale Ale
On Deck: Dusseldorf Altbier

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemingway
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:50 PM   #6
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Interesting!

WalMart has this for $99.84 right now...

http://www.walmart.com/ip/General-El...T05LQ/20449871

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Old 07-02-2013, 03:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianw58 View Post
Interesting!

WalMart has this for $99.84 right now...

http://www.walmart.com/ip/General-El...T05LQ/20449871
That looks very similar to the one I bought. But mine is even simpler with only one control knob. The analog controls are what you want, not digital, so that one will probably work. Then, just remove the front panel and carefully just bend the temp probe so that it runs down the side and out of the chamber to the outside. That keeps the compressor on until the STC-1000 shuts it off. I'm only going to be running mine at ale temps, so I hope I don't have a problem with freezing coils. If so, I may have to buy a CoolBot for $300. The CoolBot is really more for a true walk-in cooler.
CoolBot website: http://www.storeitcold.com/
This nano brewery in Buffalo uses CoolBots on their walk-ins:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2aauAB2poc

This is the one I bought on sale for $99.
http://www.brandsmartusa.com/Brand/1...FcNj7AodnEoAUg
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Hog Mountain Brewing Co.
Tap 1: American Brown Ale
Tap 2: Empty - IPA coming 18 May
Tap 3: Empty - APA coming June
Kolsch coming July


Primary:
Secondary:
Cold Conditioning: IPA
On Deck: Kolsch
On Deck: Pale Ale
On Deck: Dusseldorf Altbier

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemingway
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:12 AM   #8
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What are the amps on that ac unit?

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Old 07-04-2013, 08:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
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What are the amps on that ac unit?
It is 10 or 15 amps...I think. I'm out of town, but will look after I return. The STC-1000 is 15 amps and I have an in-line 10amp fuse on the main power in.
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Hog Mountain Brewing Co.
Tap 1: American Brown Ale
Tap 2: Empty - IPA coming 18 May
Tap 3: Empty - APA coming June
Kolsch coming July


Primary:
Secondary:
Cold Conditioning: IPA
On Deck: Kolsch
On Deck: Pale Ale
On Deck: Dusseldorf Altbier

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
-Ernest Hemingway
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:27 AM   #10
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It's 4.9 amps.

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