Observations and update:
1 - Temperature control has been dead on solid. I'm using a Eheim 300W aquarium heater. The aquarium guys rave about Eheim's quality, and I am thoroughly impressed. Has kept temps within range with no problem. Currently there's a rainstorm in Denver and our outside temperature tonight is 49 degrees but my fermentation chamber is sitting pretty at 64 with Notty working away.
2 - Back to the Eheim 300W heater, there was one night where temps dipped to about 35 degrees. I came out to my garage in the AM to go to work at 6:30AM and the freezer was on. Again, promising. The Eheim heater is great.
3 - I'm using approx 20-30 mil EPDM 7 foot x 10 foot ponder liner I bought from Lowes for $39 (link
). It's done a great job and even though the 300W heater may be touching the liner at times, the stuff is so thick and made out of such great material that it doesn't melt etc.. EPDM is industrial sturdy and the best quality you can get in pond liner.
4 - I have a Eheim 80 gallon per hour pump in there that I bought for $14 bucks online. Drinking the Eheim Kool-aid again, but temps remain awesomely steady so I assume water is circulating well.
5 - I have a probe in the bath water and a thermowell in the carboy. Both are within .5 degrees Fahrenheit of each other. My STC-100 is maintaining well.
6 - I have had little to zero evaporation in the water bath inside the freezer. I bought some polypropylene balls design for water baths to hold thermal heat and reduce evaporation (they float on top of the water bath), but I am considering returning them.
7 - Zero sign of mold. Considered mixing small parts of vinegar to the water bath but no foul stenches as of yet, no signs of mold whatsoever.
Pretty ecstatic overall with my fermenter with dead on temp control in the unheated garage and feel like I've done this on a good budget.Total Bill:
$50 Craigslist Freezer
$14 Aquarium Pump from Eheim
$32 Eheim 300W Aquarium Heater (Overkill on the Wattage - it's only a 2-3 gallon bath but I want heat fast)
$15 Thermowell from Stainless Steel Brewing
$39 EPDM Pond Liner from Lowes
$0 A bunch of water out of your garden hose$170 - Total