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Old 01-02-2013, 04:40 PM   #1
3RiverBrewer
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Default Ferm Chamber/Grain Mill/Grain Storage.. All in 1

So I have finally convinced myself (my fiance actually) that I needed a designated grain and fermentation area. I've found out if you leave enough equipment laying around and make enough mess around the house... the convincing part is much easier .

The final straw was with the Belgium Wit that I am currently making. I refused to move it down the basement (58F ambient in the winter) because it wouldn't ferment and had it sitting right next to a heating duct in order to get it around 70F (still not ideal). The agreement was I could build/do whatever i needed to but it had to leave the living room that day.

In the short term it is sitting in my basement bathroom with a space heater which has been keeping it at 74F. Obviously this is probably one of the least efficient ways to do this so I am building a fermentation chamber and building in a milling station and grain storage.

Here is where I'm at so far. The frame is build and the start of the fermentation chamber is being constructed. The fermentation chamber is going to be for ale's only not for lagering (future plans for that as I should be able to get a free chest freezer in the coming months).

Having some issues with the fermentation chamber which is 100% on me due not having a truck to get the material's i wanted and instead I've been forced to compromise.. As you can see I had to use styrofoam insulation which is nearly impossible to my exact specifications. I am thinking of buying some fiberglass insulation (because it will actually fit in my car) and just covering it with left over particle board that have. I haven't seen any other builds using fiberglass insulation though so I'm not sure if I'm missing something.

Also I'm not sure which temperature control to buy. Idealy I would just like to heat the unit with a light bulb or a space heater and maintain the temperature between 65-80F. Any suggestions?

The grain mill/grain storage should be relatively easy to do once I get the fermentation chamber done then its just a matter of putting the finishing on.

I couldn't get the 8x4 pink insulation that I wanted

frame.jpg   ferm-chamber.jpg  
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Fermenting: 1. Breakfast Stout 2. Pumpkin Wheat 3. Centenial IPA

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:08 PM   #2
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I own this controller, and highly recommend it. It's dual-stage, so it heats and cools depending on what's required. http://www.dwyer-inst.com/Product/Temperature/TemperatureSwitches/DigitalPanelMount/SeriesTSS2.

As for roll vs. sheet insulation, I think the main reason for rigid insulation in these builds is space and/or moisture exposure. Fiberglass insulation loses it's insulating capacity the more it is compressed. You would need a couple of layers of fiberglass insulation to equal the R-value of rigid foam. That's a lot of wasted space/material.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:19 PM   #3
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And you would most likely want to line the inside wall with plastic between the insulation and the inside layer to keep mildew/mold/etc down to a minimum.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:23 PM   #4
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grain dust contains all sorts of bugs and bad stuff, not to mention huge amounts of Lactobasillus. you don't want that stuff right next to your fermenters. you may want to make the mill a bit more portable and store it away from the cabinet...

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:33 PM   #5
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Consider a dual output controller with a single temperature probe. I use the ole "bulb in a can" approach with a 4" inductor fan to circulate the warm air. I was warned by several people, more experienced than me that the chamber may get too warm during the primary fermentation, as the heat given off during the early phases may need to be discipated. I installed 2 computer fans (wired together)....one pulling cool air into the chamber from a port created in the floor of the chamber and another exhausting warm air high and out the back of the chamber. With the single input/dual output temp. controller it will provide power to whatever application is needed based on the temperature in the chamber. Wasn't sure if it was overkill or not, but I'm glad I did it. My basement has an ambient temp. of 64 degrees and when I have 10 gallons of wort chugging away during the first few days of fermentation, the cooling components work well to keep the temp. down in the chamber. Once the aggressive fermentation subsides, then the heating components kick on to maintain a warm enough temp. in the chamber. Has worked like a champ!

Here's a link to the control system that I built:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/hopp...74/index6.html

Here's a link later in the thread of the controller in action with the chambers:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/hopp...74/index8.html

Good luck!

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Old 01-02-2013, 07:58 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the input so far!

Reelale/drunkle: Thanks! I figured there had to be a reason why people didn't use the fiber glass insulation. I think I might just have to rent a truck or take some box cutters and cut it on site to fit it in my car (maybe I can use this to finally get a truck... but i dream).

Slakwhere: I understand your concern and it is justified but do you think that would really be a problem if they are 6 feet away and with 2 barriers (including several layers of insulation)?

Hoppo: I have studied your builds inside and out haha a true inspiration. I will have to look into the single input double output controller that makes a lot of sense. Perhaps overkill but I guess I need to strike while I have the chance.

More pictures to follow.. I'm going to focus on the basic build of thisat least for now before I get to much further into this fermentation chamber build. I'm thinking a light and dark stain for this build wood look nice... Maybe minwax natural and minwax English Chestnut?

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Old 01-02-2013, 08:07 PM   #7
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the issue is that you won't always get 100% of the dust cleaned up for every use, and i could see it becoming an issue as the dust works itself into all the little cracks and cervices as time goes on. but it might just be paranoia. if you fill your vessels near your brewstand and transport them to the chamber sealed with yeast n airlocks already done i doubt it's a huge problem. keeping the dust clean will help a ton as well.

as for foam board, i did my garage doors a couple months ago, and the homedepot guy helped me cut it on site. he took a drywall square, ran his razor along one side of the cut, then flipped it over and "broke" it against the cut, then cut the other side with the knife freehand by folding it on itself to create a groove to guide the knife. basically the same way you do drywall. we broke it into sections that would fit in the truck but still met the overall dimensions i needed, so i cut more when i got home. worked great.

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Old 01-03-2013, 10:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slakwhere View Post
grain dust contains all sorts of bugs and bad stuff, not to mention huge amounts of Lactobasillus. you don't want that stuff right next to your fermenters. you may want to make the mill a bit more portable and store it away from the cabinet...
Second this. Last two brewing activities that you want near each other....
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slakwhere View Post
if you fill your vessels near your brewstand and transport them to the chamber sealed with yeast n airlocks already done i doubt it's a huge problem. keeping the dust clean will help a ton as well.
I fill my carboys on an entirely different floor and I plan on putting some silicon sealer to ensure no dust gets in.

Question: What kind of top should I have on this?

I was going to go with particleboard/plywood with tile on it but I just ran into close to unlimited 2 foot x 1 foot x 1 inch think maple for free (benefits of a company that with wood... so now I'm considering staining it and just going with all wood... thoughts?
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On Tap: 1. Citrus IPA 2. Pumpkin Ale 3. Scottish Wee Heavy 4. Glacier White IPA

Fermenting: 1. Breakfast Stout 2. Pumpkin Wheat 3. Centenial IPA

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