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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Swamp Cooler - Help me out
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Old 07-03-2012, 08:32 PM   #1
DoneHam
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Default Swamp Cooler - Help me out

Alright. I will preface this by saying that I basically have never built anything in my life (with the exception of a couple of computers and of course middle school wood shop), and I have not done done an excessive ammount of research on making a swamp cooler.

I have a limited amount of space (I have about 2-4 sq. ft. in my tiny apartment for fermenting) and money (I'm not doing a freezer conversion as long as SWMBO is around), but I need a way to cool off my fermentation temps and make better beer. I have an idea and I'd like to know if I am onto something. Please feel free to tell me if I'm way off here.

I want to build a nice, space efficient swamp cooler. Here is my idea:

-Start with a shirt/other fabric thing to go over my fermentation bucket
-Stick that setup in larger contaner with water 4-6 inches of water at the bottom. There is a link to my idea for this container below. Its smaller than it looks - look at the dimensions.
-Cut a few holes in the larger container and mount 3-4 computer fans on the outside blowing air in at the fermenter about half way up. Air would excape through the top.
-add more water every so often.

Links:
My larger container
Computer fans (anything cheap and quiet would do really)
Multi-fan port
Molex to wall adapter (so I can plug it in)

Total cost: about 60 bucks

Let me know what you think. If I'm on to something, I'll build it and report back. Otherwise tell me where I'm wrong, because I am pretty psyched about my idea.

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Old 07-03-2012, 08:54 PM   #2
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I talk about this so much, people are staring to think I work for this company but, take a look a this thread.
I love mine and have used it for my last 2 batches and don't even have to change the icepacks more than once a day if I don't want to. I usually do, twice a day and keep my fermenter about 61-63 degrees.

Swamp coolers work but they are too much work IMO. This is more expensive but I can tell you it does work.

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Old 07-03-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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My swamp cooler consists of a large plastic toy tub from walmart ($6.50). I fill it so the water level is 3/4 the way up my carboy/bucket and use frozen water bottles for chilling. If I use 4 frozen bottles I can drop the temperature 10 degrees and maintain that temp with 1 rotation of bottles per day, no fans, no t-shirts, etc. 2 bottles gets me 5 degrees. I only use the cooler with ice for the first week as necessary and then allow to free rise wither in or out of the cooler depending on the beer and the yeast being used. Less than $10.00, can't beat it and the beer is awesome!

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Old 07-03-2012, 09:45 PM   #4
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Looks like a great product. I'll definitely be getting one of these before my next brew. I wonder how it works in the colder months to keep the temp up.

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Old 07-03-2012, 09:49 PM   #5
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66 qt Sterilite storage box.

It holds 2 fermenters. Six inches of water in the bottom and change ice bottles twice a day at the beginning of the fermentation and once a day after it slows.

I cut holes in the lid for the necks of my 2 Better bottles.

I feel no need for any t-shirts, fans or anything else.

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Old 07-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #6
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I use a big rubbermaid style bin that holds two buckets at a time, fill not even halfway up with water, t-shirt or towel for wicking, and a fan on them if I feel like it. Haven't made anything that needs to be much cooler than mid-high 60's, so no ice yet.

Putting together temp controller for my fridge though, soon

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Old 07-04-2012, 01:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duboman View Post
My swamp cooler consists of a large plastic toy tub from walmart ($6.50). I fill it so the water level is 3/4 the way up my carboy/bucket and use frozen water bottles for chilling. If I use 4 frozen bottles I can drop the temperature 10 degrees and maintain that temp with 1 rotation of bottles per day, no fans, no t-shirts, etc. 2 bottles gets me 5 degrees. I only use the cooler with ice for the first week as necessary and then allow to free rise wither in or out of the cooler depending on the beer and the yeast being used. Less than $10.00, can't beat it and the beer is awesome!
This is exactly what I do as well but I use an igloo cube cooler I fill it just before fermenter bucket starts floating and get tems about 64 deg works awsome and keeps violent ferm down as well
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h22lude View Post
Looks like a great product. I'll definitely be getting one of these before my next brew. I wonder how it works in the colder months to keep the temp up.
I think I read where they are testing how well this works in the winter. I can't see why it wouldn't but I'm not sure if you would need heat straps or just throw it in the bag and see if it keeps the temp of the wort.
Luckily for me, I don't have to worry about that as our winters rarely go below 25 much at all.
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer-lord
I think I read where they are testing how well this works in the winter. I can't see why it wouldn't but I'm not sure if you would need heat straps or just throw it in the bag and see if it keeps the temp of the wort.
Luckily for me, I don't have to worry about that as our winters rarely go below 25 much at all.
Someone needs to sell a bag that has heat/cool built in. Does anyone make a ferm "chamber" for sale?
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 07-04-2012, 02:51 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses. I guess maybe I got caught up in the term "swamp cooler", which is supposed to cool by evaporation (water evaporates from a surface and draws heat from it to change states, thus making it cooler). Everything that was described here cools through straight up conduction (put cold thing A next to not cold thing B and thing B become colder).

Not trying to be the semantics police. Just saying that that I probably took the term a bit too literally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beer-lord View Post
I talk about this so much, people are staring to think I work for this company but, take a look a this thread.
I love mine and have used it for my last 2 batches and don't even have to change the icepacks more than once a day if I don't want to. I usually do, twice a day and keep my fermenter about 61-63 degrees.

Swamp coolers work but they are too much work IMO. This is more expensive but I can tell you it does work.
I think I'm going to go with this. Costs about the same as my idea but without all that tiresome DIY. I had seen this before but wasn't sure about it. I read that thread an holy crap 100% of the comments were positive. That sounds good enough to me. Big thanks beer-lord. You saved me time, money and made my beer better.
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