Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

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Old 04-16-2010, 03:15 PM   #11
artyusmc
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you made it, it works and looks like a cool diy project

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Old 04-20-2010, 02:58 PM   #12
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Very cool. I've had some ideas like this, but have not tested them out yet. I bought some parts, and will do a trial 'soon', but I thought I'd get these ideas out there, you can probably run with it.

My general idea #1 is similar to yours, but INTERNAL to the fermentor. Pump chilling fluid into a thermowell inserted into the fermentor. Put your temperature probe on the outside of the carboy, well insulated from ambient (tape it and tape foam over it).

For a carboy, use a carboy cap and stick a SS thermowell device (buy, or make from SS or a chrome water supply tube - plug one end) in through the large hole, use a hose on the smaller one (or cut it open) to connect your airlock. Run a 1/4" OD vinyl hose from the pump down to the bottom of the thermowell. Now (and a drawing/pictures would help here, I'll try to post one later) you just need to rig up a PVC Tee and caps, and run the vinyl hose through one end, and the chill fluid would 'return' through the open end of the thermowell - a hose on the Tee would return this to your cooler. So it would be a co-axial setup, just break out the two streams for in/out, if that makes sense. This is all low pressure, so some silicon caulk should be good enough to seal it all up.

True, this would not be much surface area, but you have chilled metal in direct contact with the beer. I bet that is better than the larger surface area going through glass. And you don't lose any cold to ambient, it almost all goes right into the beer. It also makes it really easy to insulate. I'd wrap that carboy with as much scrap bubble wrap as I could scrounge, and wrap the hoses. It should also reduce any condensation problems, the coldest parts are inside the fermentor, not exposed to outside air/humidity.

With a bucket fermentor, you have added options. You can get annealed SS tubing that is easily bent into a loop, and drill two added holes for grommets and just run the loop inside the bucket. I got some SS tubing on amazon from a company called 'small parts'.

My idea #2, would be to try some tire inner-tubes around those carboys. Add a tire stem on the opposite side, and pump the chill water through the tube. Certainly not as good as metal for transfer, but it might be good enough, and certainly easier.


BTW, your pump looks pretty small - and that is a GOOD thing. Most people want to put a big pump in there, but the pump creates heat and is counter-productive. The carboy can only transfer the heat at a fairly low rate, pumping the chill water faster than it can absorb heat really does almost nothing to speed the process, and the pump just melts the ice. Do you have a link for that pump?

Here is the pump I bought to play with:

http://www.jebao.com/english/displayproduct.php?proid=50965

It doesn't detail this out there, but it is a 12V DC pump, .8A xfmr, so it could be hooked directly to a cheap home thermostat, avoiding the cost of the controller (though you probably need to extend the thermistor to create a 'probe'), and also all low voltage around that water.

Hope these ideas help, I will try to get pics up later, but I hope the description was enough to get the ideas flowing.

-kenc

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Old 04-20-2010, 03:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrispykid View Post
You've already got me thinking about ways I could adapt the concept to my setup. My initial thought is that I could use my existing cooler with the carboy inside it and just drop my immersion chiller in the water next to the carboy and run glycol through it from a second small cooler with ice to maintain my fermentation temp. The cooler is pretty well insulated and if I start at my target temp it shouldn't take too much juice to maintain temp right?
Don't bother with the immersion coil, just pump the cold water from the cooler with ice packs to the carboy cooler. Only trick is, you need to get the water to return so it does not spill over. There was another thread on that where the guy used an overflow tube setup going down to the tap on the cooler. Lots of ways to skin that cat.

-kenc
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:58 PM   #14
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kenc: I thought about this too, but with thin diameter copper coil to make basically an immersion chiller that goes into the carboy. The only problem I discovered was getting the tight bend necessary at the end of the coil to get the whole thing into the carboy opening. It might take soldering or a bend of vinyl tubing silicone glued to the ends. Not sure about this direction though, as sanitation would be my main concern.

One thing you point out about my small pump is the size - it was the smallest I could find for reasons of heat like you mention, as well as electricity use. The flow of water through the jacket is quite slow because I flattened the copper coil to make more surface area contact with the copper sheet. This had the added benefit of restricting the flow of water. I got the pump here:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=45303

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Old 04-20-2010, 10:28 PM   #15
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It looks like you spent roughly $220. I just picked up a large used minifridge for $60. I figure I'll spend another $60 max making a controller. And my estimated utility cost is $34/year, if the fridge is running all the time.

Good idea. But I'm not sure you came out ahead.

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Old 04-20-2010, 11:23 PM   #16
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Beernik: I'm ok with that. I actually had some of the items on hand from other projects and I figure when my square footage increases (move to suburbs or bigger apartment), I'll have the controller and thermowell to use with a dedicated fridge. The point was to take up less space than a minifridge, and because my desk is a foot from my carboys, maintain temperature without the added heat and noise that a compressor driven refrigerator gives off. It's already 80º in here - run a compressor a few times a day and it would definitely get hotter. I could have just used the swamp bucket I was using and not spent another dollar, but where's the fun in that?

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Old 04-21-2010, 02:00 AM   #17
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Maybe I've lost too much high range hearing from construction, but I don't think the compressor on this this is that loud.

I'm sorry for being a bit of a dick earlier. I can understan not wanting to make your office hotter. I'm just prejudiced against tge evap systems because I live in the desert and solutions that use more water generally aren't cheaper for me.

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Old 04-21-2010, 01:37 PM   #18
kenc_zymurgy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Breuckelen View Post
kenc: I thought about this too, but with thin diameter copper coil to make basically an immersion chiller that goes into the carboy. The only problem I discovered was getting the tight bend necessary at the end of the coil to get the whole thing into the carboy opening.
...

I got the pump here:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=45303
I don't think you want to use copper in wort/beer for long periods - the low pH will eat at it. I guess it's OK for boil times, but I'd go SS beyond that. I think there is some info here somewhere on toxicity of copper in wort/beer.

I bought "Stainless Steel 304L Seamless Annealed Tubing 3/16" OD x .132" ID x .028" Wall 36" Length"; $7.98 on Amazon from "Small Parts". I was able to very easily bend this around a coffee can, I don't know how tight you could go, I don't want to kink this as I may need it all, but I was impressed how easily it formed and I bet I could go much tighter than that. Small enough to get in a carboy neck with a bigger OD tube - I dunno? But I still think a single tube with co-axial feed will do the job. One of these days I'll get it set up and test it.

Thanks for the pump link. I feel better with the 12V one around all that water, but obviously these are used all the time in water, so it's just me being nervous I guess. Mine was about 2x the cost though, that looks like a good deal.

-kenc
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Old 05-04-2010, 01:37 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenc_zymurgy View Post
Don't bother with the immersion coil, just pump the cold water from the cooler with ice packs to the carboy cooler. Only trick is, you need to get the water to return so it does not spill over. There was another thread on that where the guy used an overflow tube setup going down to the tap on the cooler. Lots of ways to skin that cat.

-kenc
Good call - you just saved me about $65 on copper. I did some googling and found the thread you were referring to. Some great ideas there and they've definitely influenced my thinking.

Glad I came back to this thread.
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Old 05-04-2010, 04:54 AM   #20
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Great idea!!! I love this do-it-yourselfer stuff.

Although, I think I like brewing so much that I'd move to Indiana or something just to get a little elbow room.

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