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Old 11-16-2009, 04:54 AM   #1
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Default AK Fermentation Chamber

It's getting cold up here in Alaska. The temps in my garage have started to plummet (about 5 degrees F outside = 55-60 in the garage), so I decided to build a home for my brews. Four to six buckets/carboys hanging around the house was too much for SWMBO, and it gives me a reason to build brewing stuff, so I was game.

Outside View


Inside View


Right on Target


As you can see, it holds the temp right on 70. I'm using a ceramic heat lamp and temp controller from the local pet store (intended to keep "exotic" pets at their ideal temps).

I can squeeze 4 buckets/carboys in there at a time and can still get to all of them for testing. Next up, figure out an easy way to cool one of these so I can start lagering.

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Old 11-16-2009, 05:29 AM   #2
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so the temp controller just turns the heat lamp on and off at the socket or something?

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Old 11-16-2009, 06:00 AM   #3
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Thumbs up from a fellow Anchorage brewer!

I've thought about building a similar chamber in my garage. My garage is "semi-heated" (I keep the thermostat as low as it'll go) and maintains an ambient temp of 44-48 in the winter. I should probably just switch over to lagering this time of year!

P.S. let me know how the Stinky Hermit Stout turns out, been thinking about that recipe myself.

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Old 11-16-2009, 06:05 AM   #4
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Thumbs up from a fellow Anchorage brewer!

I've thought about building a similar chamber in my garage. My garage is "semi-heated" (I keep the thermostat as low as it'll go) and maintains an ambient temp of 44-48 in the winter. I should probably just switch over to lagering this time of year!

P.S. let me know how the Stinky Hermit Stout turns out, been thinking about that recipe myself.
My garage is heated off the house thermostat so it varies wildly.

Re: the Stinky Hermit. It's AMAZING. This is my second time making it (long live Arctic Brewing Supply). If you can get me a 1/2g growler I'd be glad to fill it with a sample for you. PM me your email address if you are interested.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:07 AM   #5
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so the temp controller just turns the heat lamp on and off at the socket or something?
Basically. The controller plugs into the wall outlet (ok extension cord) and the lamp plugs into the controller. Operates just like the "kegerator" controllers out there, but for heat only. Ran me $30 at the local pet store.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:58 AM   #6
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hmmm. sounds like it would work with a heat pad as well in a small insulated fermentation chamber such as yours. thanks.

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Old 11-16-2009, 07:03 AM   #7
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Could the light from the lamp have any ill effects on your carboy'ed beers?? I recently got a chest freezer off CL, but ambient temps for me are getting low, so I put a small space heater in it (kept very low, of course.) I thought about a heating lamp, but I don't want 5 gallons of skunk.

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Old 11-16-2009, 07:49 AM   #8
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Could the light from the lamp have any ill effects on your carboy'ed beers?? I recently got a chest freezer off CL, but ambient temps for me are getting low, so I put a small space heater in it (kept very low, of course.) I thought about a heating lamp, but I don't want 5 gallons of skunk.
Heatpad would work as well. It is a ceramic heater so it doesn't put off any light. NO SKUNK!!!!
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:20 PM   #9
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any what temperature range your controller will work up to?
and how hot do you think you can get your chamber with that ceramic bulb?
im looking into making a multi purpose chamber, but it needs to get pretty hot ~130*F

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Old 11-20-2009, 02:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by KevyWevy View Post
any what temperature range your controller will work up to?
and how hot do you think you can get your chamber with that ceramic bulb?
im looking into making a multi purpose chamber, but it needs to get pretty hot ~130*F
My controller maxes out at 105F. In theory, you could build a chamber that would support that heat, but I would be worried about fire risk using the kind of lamps I have. They are not intended to run 24/7, and keeping the temp that high would definitely tax them.

If you don't mind me asking, what would one do with a 130F chamber? Sauna, torture, yoga? Please tell me it's not for brewing...
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