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Old 06-16-2009, 02:35 AM   #1
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Default I Give Up

Well, if you've seen this thread:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/holiday-lch0701pw-freezer-122466/
you know that I was trying to convert a Holiday brand freezer to a fermentation chamber so that I would have more capacity. After several days and several different configurations, I've decided to cut my losses. I could never make the temperature equalize between the freezer and the chamber. There was always a 10F - 30F difference with the freezer being colder. I have several theories as to why it didn't work, but it didn't. I think I will use the freezer for a freezer for now, and possibly convert it to a kegerator later. I will pick up a refrigerator off of craigslist to make my lagering chamber. - Dwain

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Old 06-16-2009, 03:40 AM   #2
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You are almost there, the fan needs to run all the time to move the heat into the freezer. Air flow through the freezer wil give it the best chance for cooling but the heat exchange is just the interior walls. The freezer is not designed to move large amounts of heat but move a small amount of heat across a big temperature difference. A simple analogy of the cooling appliances is:
Room air conditioners- Move a large amount of heat across small temperature difference.
Refrigerator - move a medium amount of heat across a medium temperature difference.
Freezer - move a small amount of heat across a large temperature difference.
Freezers are not the best choice for extended enclosures because of small amount of heat exchange, refrigerators with coil/blower systems work better for that job. The other thing you have to deal with is the flow of moisture from warm to cold areas, the larger the temperature difference the faster the moisture will migrate. That is the bane of window ac cooled rooms because of the air exchange through the various holes in the ac unit casing moving moisture into the room and on to the cold evaporator coil. The ideal is a room with all the air/moisture leaks sealed so the indoor coil does not ice up as quick like commercial walk ins.

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Old 06-16-2009, 04:10 AM   #3
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Kladue,
Thanks for the response. I did run the fan all of the time for a couple of days. I even had it ducted so it would increase the air flow. The temps got closer but wouldn't equalize. Also, because the freezer uses the outside shell as part of the heat exchanger, I had to insulate part of the outside skin that was in contact with the chamber which in turn reduced the surface area that it could use to give up the heat. This would make the rest of the freezer outer walls get too hot to keep your hand on.
My plan was to have my "beer" room. Inside, a chamber to lager 20 - 25 gal. in. The room itself would be air conditioned and kept at 68F - 70F to ale in. I still plan on doing this, but now with a refrigerator. I'll actually probably make a kegerator out of the freezer and give it to my sons for Christmas. - Dwain

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Old 06-18-2009, 07:18 PM   #4
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Here is an idea/question...

Could you run your freezer at it's coldest setting, make your chamber large enough to accommodate the amount you want to lager and then have your thermostat control set to your fan control in the chamber?

So your freezer is set to 0F and you lager at 37F. The fan would turn on and run until it reached stasis at 37F. The freezer compressor/thermostat would ensure the freezer stayed as cold as necessary. Then you could use the freezer itself to store yeast/hops/etc.

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Old 06-18-2009, 07:24 PM   #5
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Did you have another duct to recirculate the air? Pull the warm air out of the second chamber into the cooling fridge while the cooling fridge is pushing cold air into the warmer chamber. This should recirculate all the air in the entire system to equalize it.

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Old 06-18-2009, 09:08 PM   #6
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Cyberbackpacker, I didn't think about that. I think I'm going to just get the refrigerator and build a lager closet. Then, I'll use the freezer for storing hops, etc. until my sons talk me out of it for a kegerator!
IrregularPulse, yes, I did have it ducted so that there was a strong return air flow.
I know I could make this work, but due to space constraints, it's not worth it to me. The beer room was an after thought when I built my shop. So, if I use this freezer instead of a modified fridge, it won't be user friendly. Thanks - Dwain

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Old 06-18-2009, 09:13 PM   #7
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/smaller-son-fermentation-chiller-79556/ seems the way to go for ales.

If i start doing Lager, I would either wait till i have an empty keezer, or get a minifridge that will hold the fermenter.
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Old 06-18-2009, 09:27 PM   #8
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Arkador, Let me know how this works out in Ft. Worth. I would be afraid of going through so much ice that I would need a freezer just to keep up. Plus the draining. But, I've been wrong before (see title of this post!)
The reason for the lager chamber is to do MORE! The rest of the room will be a/c'd to between 68F & 70F so there will be plenty of room for ales. - Dwain

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Old 06-18-2009, 09:44 PM   #9
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I only do 5gal at a time, and will be doing this in the coldest room in the house. I expect to have about 20x bottles for ice. Keeping 10 in it, and swapping them morning and night. My wife keeps the house at almost 75 in the summer, and I am looking to do temp control for just my ales so i can ferment them in the upper 60's.

I don't do lagers, and this DIY fermentation chamber looks like it should work. by freezing plastic water bottles, there in no draining, just re-freezing

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Old 06-18-2009, 10:06 PM   #10
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I was just thinking about the sweat from the bottles. Looking at the photo in the link, there seems to be water at the bottom. Could be a spill or anything, but I'd still ask Steelerguy. Just a thought. Good luck and let me/us know how it turns out.- Dwain

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