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-   -   Water Fermentation Chiller (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/water-fermentation-chiller-81501/)

jcarson83 09-23-2008 01:07 PM

Water Fermentation Chiller
 
Like many I've been struggling with fermentation temperatures for a while now. I've been dealing with this like many people and placing a carboy in a tub of water and cycling frozen water bottles through in order to keep the temperature low enough. This is better than some alternatives but it is not practical for styles that require lower temperatures because unless you can change bottles out every 4 to 6 hours your going to see large temperature fluctuations. What I came up with is basically just a modification of what I have been using that makes it more efficient and automated.

Parts:
10 gallon Igloo Cooler $60 (I salvaged one and you could use your mash tun too)
Cooler of any size $30 (I had one like most people will)
Submersion Water Pump $20 (Nothing too fancy here)
Renco 111000 Temperature Controller $65
Misc Tubing $10?

Total Cost: $175
This could be less depending on what you have.

Instructions:
The basic idea here is that the carboy is placed in the 10 gallon cooler which is filled with water to just bellow the wort line (which is important unless you want your carboy to float). The temperature sensor is placed in the 10 gal cooler and as this temperature rises above a set point it will turn the pump on. The pump will transfer water from the cold water cooler, filled with frozen bottles, to the 10 gal igloo which will drain the warm water back to the cold water cooler.

1. Get a temperature controller. There are plenty of threads on this so just do a search.

2. Get a Cooler that will fit your primary. A 10 gallon igloo works perfect for a better bottle and a carboy so if your doing all grain you might use your mash tun.

3. Get a pond pump.

4. Turn the spigot on the cooler around so the spigot faces up on the inside. This will create the drain for the inside of the fermenter cooler.

5. Attach tubing on the outside of the cooler to drain into the chilling cooler.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...m/IMG_1043.JPG

6. Attach tubing on the inside to drain. This tube should be cut off at slightly bellow the level of your wort in your primary so it won't float. I stuck a thermometer in it to keep it staight.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...m/IMG_1039.JPG

7. Put cold water in the cold water cooler with the pump. Pump tubing from cold water cooler goes to the fermenter cooler attached with a clamp above the water line. If don't don't keep this above the water line it will siphon back into the cold water cooler when the pump shuts off.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...m/IMG_1038.JPG

8. Place primary in the 10 gal igloo cooler.

9. Place temperature controller probe in the cooler and plug the pump in.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...m/IMG_1052.JPG

The chilling cooler will hold temp for quite a long time as long as you put some ice in every couple of days. My first try I had the cooler from 43 to 45 in two days without adding ice.

I'll keep you posted.

TimGrz 09-23-2008 02:14 PM

Not a bad idea. You would probably want to wrap the top with a blanket to help insulate it a bit too.

You could also go above the wort line. Between gravity of the wort as well as the bottle weight you should be able to cover the wort line by at least an inch.

/tg

jcarson83 09-24-2008 12:46 AM

No need to wrap it yet as far as I can tell. As far as going above the wort line I wouldn't suggest it. If your using a better bottle that won't work and if you have a batch that turns our short you will have to cut a new piece of tube.

Chriso 10-07-2008 07:34 PM

WOW. That's some serious ingenuity! I love it, good work!!!!

lamarguy 10-07-2008 08:06 PM

I'm playing devil's advocate here, but wouldn't it be easier and just as economical to buy a small, used fridge and attach an external temperature controller? :confused:

The cost would be $150 - $250, depending upon the cost of the used fridge. And, there is no need to refill the ice bin. Just set the target temperature and walk away.

But, if you already have most of the parts lying around, this is definitely an option worth considering. ;)

Germey 10-07-2008 08:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lamarguy (Post 885105)
I'm playing devil's advocate here, but wouldn't it be easier and just as economical to buy a small, used fridge and attach an external temperature controller? :confused:

The cost would be $150 - $250, depending upon the cost of the used fridge. And, there is no need to refill the ice bin. Just set the target temperature and walk away.

But, if you already have most of the parts lying around, this is definitely an option worth considering. ;)

As long as you have the space, that is much easier. I have been thinking about something very similar as the OP, but was planning to exchange liquid between the fermentation chamber and a reservoir in my keggerator (what's a couple more holes in the side). When I get around to building the chamber, it will be just big enough to slip in a plastic bin that holds 2 carboys. Overall, it will be just a tad bigger than a dorm fridge, and will be part of a bigger storage cabinet for brew stuff.

jcarson83 10-07-2008 08:24 PM

Actually it just cost me $85 to make since all I needed was the temperature controller and water pump. I would have needed the temperature controller for a fridge so basically all I was out was $20 for the pump. The other reason I like it and may not upgrade anytime soon to a fridge is efficiency and I room. Oh and now I have a 10 gallon mash tun so I can make a barley wine.:ban::ban:

slimer 10-07-2008 09:08 PM

I've been thinking about doing something like this with my sump well.

FSR402 10-08-2008 10:57 PM

When I was thinking of using my 15.5 gallon fermenters I was thinking of this same idea, just larger. Using a 55 gallon drum in place of the 10 gallon cooler and I was trying to come up with a way of using cold water from either the tap or a fridge and having the abiliy to use the heat side of the controler to pull hot water from my tap to heat it up if needed.

All to much work and money for me. I'll use the big fermenters in the winter when I need to heat the fermenting room and carboys in the summer.

Straydog 11-07-2008 09:52 PM

Cost to operate
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by lamarguy (Post 885105)
I'm playing devil's advocate here, but wouldn't it be easier and just as economical to buy a small, used fridge and attach an external temperature controller? :confused:

The cost would be $150 - $250, depending upon the cost of the used fridge. And, there is no need to refill the ice bin. Just set the target temperature and walk away.

But, if you already have most of the parts lying around, this is definitely an option worth considering. ;)

Some old fridges cost way too much in energy to operate and this would be a fraction of the cost to operate. This is the very thing i am working on for my bocks and dark lagers.
I was looking for an estimate on ice change over and two days is fantastic. do you use 1 gallon ice jugs or gallon?


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