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Old 01-08-2013, 09:31 PM   #1
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Default In desperate need of help for a fermentation chamber build

So I was recently presented with the opportunity to purchase a small chest freezer, and of course I took it! When I looked at the freezer, I thought it would be the perfect size for a fermentation chamber. It's about the size of a dorm fridge, maybe a little bigger, and is top loading.

I picked it up today. Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I found that none of my carboys will fit. Turns out there is a step on the bottom to go around the compressor, and that causes it to be too narrow to fit a carboy. The carboy will easily fit on the shelf, but then the lid wont close with the airlock on.

I considered trying to modify the step. I'm sure it's possible, but more work than I want to do right now. That leaves my options as:

Build a collar to raise the lid, much like people do with keezers

or

Sell the freezer and try again with a bigger one

The Fed-Ex guy will be here any minute to deliver my new temp controller, and I planned on going to the LHBS to buy my first lager kit tomorrow. Please give me some tips for building a collar!

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Old 01-08-2013, 09:37 PM   #2
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Could you put a 90 degree angle coming out of the bung hooked to a hose that goes to a container with liquid in it as an airlock.

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Old 01-08-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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Build a collar. You can fashion it so that its removable then you can always convert it back and sell it later.

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Old 01-08-2013, 09:54 PM   #4
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Could you put a 90 degree angle coming out of the bung hooked to a hose that goes to a container with liquid in it as an airlock.

Oh believe me, I thought of that! Unfortunately, the lid of the freezer touches the top of the carboy and leaves the lid open about 1/2", and that's without a stopper in the carboy.

I searched the forums and it looks like guys are using a variety of different woods for collars. This doesn't have to be attractive, so I am tempted to use 2x8 or 2x10 doug fir. I can rip the edges to get rid of the round over. Or I could use plywood, maybe 3/4" glued together to make 1.5". What I don't know is how to seal the lid to the collar. Also, how important is it to insulate the collar.
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Old 01-08-2013, 09:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60sd
Oh believe me, I thought of that! Unfortunately, the lid of the freezer touches the top of the carboy and leaves the lid open about 1/2", and that's without a stopper in the carboy.

I searched the forums and it looks like guys are using a variety of different woods for collars. This doesn't have to be attractive, so I am tempted to use 2x8 or 2x10 doug fir. I can rip the edges to get rid of the round over. Or I could use plywood, maybe 3/4" glued together to make 1.5". What I don't know is how to seal the lid to the collar. Also, how important is it to insulate the collar.
Doh!!

I believe Chris from BeerGeekNation ferments in a 5 gallon food grade jug that looks shorter that a carboy. Check it out on YouTube

That may work
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:06 PM   #6
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You must have one of those 2 cu Ft freezers. Is it an Avanti? I looked at those, but went with a 3 Cu Ft model instead.

A collar is an easy build. It will only cost a few bucks. You probably want at least a 2x8 for this. Maybe a 2x10. Make sure you have at least an inch clearance between your airlock and the lid.

You want to insulate the collar. You can use rigid foam board. Just glue it on.

Use silicon to seal the collar to the freezer.

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Old 01-08-2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-boy View Post
You must have one of those 2 cu Ft freezers. Is it an Avanti? I looked at those, but went with a 3 Cu Ft model instead.

A collar is an easy build. It will only cost a few bucks. You probably want at least a 2x8 for this. Maybe a 2x10. Make sure you have at least an inch clearance between your airlock and the lid.

You want to insulate the collar. You can use rigid foam board. Just glue it on.

Use silicon to seal the collar to the freezer.
It's a Kenmore. Don't see a model number, but it says "Heavy Duty Freezer" on the handle. Also didn't see the capacity on any of the tags... What's the best way to seal the lid against the collar?

BTW, Thanks for all the quick replies. The plan now is to build the collar AND buy my ingredients tomorrow for brewing on Thursday. I'll post pic's of the build and/or finished product.
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:20 PM   #8
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I used a 2x8 fir board to make mine. They are really easy to make. You will need to insulate it or your temps will fluctuate too much.

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Old 01-09-2013, 10:52 AM   #9
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If the carboy fits but without the airlock can you pick up a plastic carboy and drill a hole in the neck for a bung and blow off tube that sits in a container of water/sanitizer? Maintain the integrity of the freezer and conserve energy?

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:04 AM   #10
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Well, here it is:

(Not good at attaching pic's so I'll give the narration first)

I got a 2x10x8 piece of doug fir. My home depot didn't have kiln dried in that dimension, so this stuff was still pretty wet.

I cut it to size with my circular saw, since mt miter saw cant take stock that wide and I don't have a radial arm saw yet. Then I ripped the rounded over edges off on the table saw. Then I assembled a "Box" using deckmate 3" screws and titebond wood glue. I used a 3/8 spade bit to countersink the holes. I'll fill the holes with dowels later.

Then I set the lid of the freezer on the "box" and marked the location of the holes. Problem is that the spring loaded hinges dont sit flush, so my holes were a touch too low. If anyone is drunk enough to use this as a guide, I recommend marking the holes at the top of the slot on the hinges, rather than the center. I used a 5/8" spade bit to countersink the opposite side of the holes.

Then, and I should have done this first, I applied some peel and stick weather stripping to the top of the collar.

I attached the lid to the collar with #10x2" screws. After the first fitting, the lid wasn't closing all the way. I ended up having to use a round file to enlarge the slots on the hinge to give enough movement to allow the lid to close.

Then I laid a fat bead of silicone kitchen and bath adhesive/caulk around the edge of the freezer and set the collar and lid in place. I didn't apply any pressure as I'm fairly certain that the assembly weighs enough to acheive a good seal. Plus, I plan to take it apart in the spring and give it a good finish. In the morning, I will caulk the joints on the collar and insulate it.

I have no idea if this will work, but thats what I have for now. At the time of this post, I have a yeast starter going and a grain bill sitting on my counter and I will be brewing it up in the morning. Wish me luck!

100_1666-1-.jpg   100_1667-1-.jpg   100_1668-1-.jpg   100_1669-1-.jpg  
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