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Old 03-15-2011, 06:46 PM   #1
BeerIsDelicious
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Default Yet another fermentation chamber.

So, I decided that I wanted a nice big fermentation chamber in my home brewery, did not want to deal with changing out frozen water jugs, and also wanted it to double as a workbench for my garage/brewery.

Behold, my creation:







The top was made from 3/4" ply
Sides are 1/2" OSB (Oriented Strand Board)
Frame is made from a mixture of 2x4's and 2x4's ripped down to 2x2's.
Insulation is 3/4" R-Max sheathing
Temp controller is the analog Johnson Controller
Fridge was donated by a friend.

We used a liquid nails and 2" nails with a nailgun to secure everything. The insulation is simply cut tight to size and sealed with aluminum tape.
Still to do is to add some full carboys of water in there to keep temps consistent, double up my insulation in the parts where it is only single-insulated, add weather stripping to the doors to keep all the air in, even though the seal is pretty damn tight already.

I live in FL, and this thing is in my garage that sometimes gets up into the 90s and with the insulation I'm doing should have no problem at all staying at 63F even in the middle of the summer.

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Old 03-15-2011, 06:53 PM   #2
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Nice! I thought about building something like this but couldn't find a free dorm fridge and figured if I was paying, I might as well go the lazy route and use a chest freezer.

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:17 PM   #3
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I am thinking of building something like this and have some questions for you. I have a Free mini fridge and I wanted to build my fermentation chamber as my work bench as well. My space is limited to about 4 feet wide. On the left of yours where your Deltona Craft Brewery sign is, is where the fridge is? Did you just take the door off and seal it in the wood with the insulation and tape? If so how well does it keep the temps?


TIA

-Stanley

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Old 03-15-2011, 07:41 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by stanley1271 View Post
I am thinking of building something like this and have some questions for you. I have a Free mini fridge and I wanted to build my fermentation chamber as my work bench as well. My space is limited to about 4 feet wide. On the left of yours where your Deltona Craft Brewery sign is, is where the fridge is? Did you just take the door off and seal it in the wood with the insulation and tape? If so how well does it keep the temps?


TIA

-Stanley
That's exactly what i did. You can't see from the picture, but the left side of the chamber (behind the fridge) is open on the bottom to let the condenser cool down and not overheat. On the inside, the door to the fridge is completely off, and I have insulation stuck between the sides of the fridge and the inside of the chamber, then I have insulation between the top of the fridge and the top of the chamber. Then, I made a border of insulation to go around the opening of the fridge and taped everything together with aluminum tape.

The temperature holds wonderfully, and as far as I can tell, except for where the doors are cut out, I have a fairly airtight seal with the aluminum tape covering all the seams.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:54 PM   #5
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The temperature holds wonderfully, and as far as I can tell, except for where the doors are cut out, I have a fairly airtight seal with the aluminum tape covering all the seams.
Ya I was thinking about the doors on the drive home and I think it might be good to put a 1x3 (or some width) frame on the inside of the doors so that you could put a bit of weather striping or something like that to get the air tight seal.

Awesome job. I am so stealing your design. haha

EDIT: I was just thinking after looking at your pics again that I could just cut the door width larger so that they would attach to the 2x4.

-Stanley
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by stanley1271 View Post
Ya I was thinking about the doors on the drive home and I think it might be good to put a 1x3 (or some width) frame on the inside of the doors so that you could put a bit of weather striping or something like that to get the air tight seal.

Awesome job. I am so stealing your design. haha

EDIT: I was just thinking after looking at your pics again that I could just cut the door width larger so that they would attach to the 2x4.

-Stanley
As far as the doors, I need to put a door stop on anyway, so I think I'm going to do what you thought of and frame the door out on the inside with a 1x4, and overlap just that 5/8" or so that I need to press on some weather stripping.

If you go with this design, one thing I would highly suggest is to replace the OSB with actual plywood. I almost had to replace that cheap crap that I used for the sides before I even used it -- when I was screwing the hinges to the doors and cut the corners out so that they were free hanging, that board was so weak that the small screws that came with the hinges didn't hold enough and my door sagged about a 1/4". I had to place the hinge little differently and use bigger screws. Not a big deal, but if I were to do it all over again I'd just use that 3/4" ply all the way around. As for materials, I think it was just 3 sheets of ply (well, 1 ply and 2 OSB), 6 2x4x8's, and 2 4'x8' sheets of the insulation. I think it's outside dimensions are 76" long by 26" wide. I had virtually no waste.

Although, you may want to get 3 sheets of the insulation if you're going for the same-ish size, because there are some spots where I only put one layer of insulation, and it would be nice (and I plan to in the future) to put a double layer all over.
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Old 03-15-2011, 10:34 PM   #7
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Nice build, after I get my keezer built so I can keg beer I am moving on to a fermentation chamber. Was going to make a chamber that could do ales and lagers but now that I have a 14.8 chest freezer for the keezer I can lager in it. I see you have a sanke keg. What are you using it for?

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I'd go with the 2". You can always stir the wort with a sanitized spoon if your worried about hot/cold spots. You will be hitting the 6+" with everything...ask Ron Jeremy!
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Old 03-15-2011, 11:07 PM   #8
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Nice build, after I get my keezer built so I can keg beer I am moving on to a fermentation chamber. Was going to make a chamber that could do ales and lagers but now that I have a 14.8 chest freezer for the keezer I can lager in it. I see you have a sanke keg. What are you using it for?
Well I have one that is my boil kettle already that's not pictured, that one will be my HLT, and I have another one coming that will be my mash tun -- my next big project is a natural gas HERMS build.
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