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Old 04-26-2011, 01:16 PM   #1
Zrab11
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Default Fermentation chamber

Hey,

IM new to homebrewing. Actaully havent even brewed my first batch yet. Just about 3/4 of the way through Palmers book. But i had a question. I feel that the fermenting process is really important and i feel keeping it at the Right tempertaure and not letting it go up or down more than 1 degree is pretty important. Correct me if im wrong.

So i wanted to know what is the simplest and best way to make a fermenting chamber? Ive heard the idea of sitting your carboy in a rubbermaid tub and willing it with water then buying a aquarium heater/thermometer and heating your water up to a desired temp so you can ferment in the 65's and 70's.

Also wondering about using a chest freezer or small fridge?
As i have a already Big 6 ft long freezer for cellaring thats run off a Rancho temp control. It would be sweet to build a box inside the freezer and be able to run like a heat lamp or something in the box and be able to keep the carboy at like 70degress and the beer outside the box thats still in the freezer would stay at 45. That would just be to save space if i didn't do the rubbermaid fish tank idea? But let me know what you have done with a chest freezer or something like it?



I have no basement and i do have a closet i can put my carboys in but i feel that there is alot of room for temp. swing in the closet. And i feel i would like to control it better than just putting it in the closet and hoping it stay within the temp.

Im pretty handy so please shoot me your idea's or what you have done to make a ferment chamber. Or direct me to the right thead that has info on this?
keep in mind i would only need space for 2 carboys. maybe 3.

thanks for anyhelp or advise?

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Old 04-26-2011, 01:20 PM   #2
JohnnyO
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I use a chest freezer to ferment in with a thermostat attached.

First things first, though. Brew a batch. I understand about wanting to read up on everything and plan everything out. But you can get way too caught up in the planning. Brew a batch and see how easy it can be to make (at least) decent beer. Then start plotting...

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Old 04-26-2011, 01:23 PM   #3
strat_thru_marshall
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just search "fermentation chamber" on here. theres tons of different threads dedicated to people's builds.

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Old 04-26-2011, 01:24 PM   #4
350_Malibu
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I store my fermenters on my dining room floor. No special chambers needed. The house heater keeps the room @ 65-68F constant and the beer pretty much stays at a constant 66F. Unless the weather is hot, and you need to cool it, then no chamber should be needed.

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Old 04-27-2011, 03:03 AM   #5
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Temperature control is most ideal, but you can get good beer by just winging it. I mean brew a batch and set it in a closet that stays around 60-70 and it will ferment out. Well at least for ales. If you let your beer sit for several weeks any mistakes from not being temp controlled will finish off. I have brewed hundreds of gallons before i ever worried about temp control, out of those none of my beer was ever undrinkable.

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Old 04-27-2011, 03:08 AM   #6
strat_thru_marshall
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to quote a very famous homebrewer:

"the difference between professional brewers and amateur home brewers is fermentation temperature control!"

remember, the yeast make the beer...we merely prepare the wort. Fermentation temp control is everything. It's one thing to make beer that "isnt undrinkable", its something else to make beer at a level to compete with the best commercial breweries.

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Old 04-27-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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You're correct that ferm temps are really important. Not that good beer can't be made under less than ideal conditions, but if you're anything like me, those first couple less-than-ideal batches are miles away from ferm-temp controlled batches. Of anything I've done since starting a year and a half ago, that and proper yeast pitching amounts have made the biggest differences in quality for me.

That being said, I started out with a swamp cooler (the rubber tub) and it worked great. The key part of that is that fermentation will generate heat, so if you put your fermenter in a room that is at 68 degrees, the temp of the beer is actually around 73-78 degrees. Just putting the fermenter in a tub of water allows the water to soak up that extra heat and keeping the temp near 68. Unless you're putting it somewhere cold, you probably don't even need a heater (generally we're more concerned with keeping temps lower, at least for a majority of beers). Do a search for swamp coolers and you'll find lots of other little tricks, like freezing water bottles to drop in, draping a t-shirt over the fermenter to wick up water to evaporate, putting a fan on it to evaporate more, etc.

If you want to step up to an actual chamber, your idea might work. I could see if you had a two-stage controller, one could control the light bulb and the other could control a fan to pull air from the colder conditioning section to the fermenting section. I'd check to see if someone has successfully pulled it off first, but it sounds like it might work. If you're only planning on having one beer fermenting at a time, you could consider a mini-fridge. I "borrowed" an idea from someone else on the board (think it was called mini-fridge fermenter if you search for it). Basically you just pull the plastic insides off a mini-fridge door, maybe build a collar if your fermenter still won't fit, and ferment in there. I generally leave a beer in there for two weeks, then pull it out to condition in the primary for another few weeks while the next beer goes into the chamber.

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