Cheap Swamp Cooler....Input needed - Home Brew Forums
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:26 PM   #1
cabledawg
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Oct 2008
North Carolina
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After the notty I used for my graff went crazy after this crazy warm spell we had here.(temp sticker of fermenter read 80deg.) I wanted to build a fermentation chamber of some type. So after looking at the cost of a fridge, temp controller and the small space for now that is dedicated to brewing, the fridge idea was out. I went to lowes and got an idea. I got a plastic tub and a small water feature pump(on sale $9). I would put my primary in the tub with the pump and fill the tub up to the level of the wort. Then using frozen bottles of water I could keep the water pretty cool. With the pump going it would keep the water moving hopefully keeping the water temp very even. Here is where I need idea's. How can I monitor the temp of the primary? Underwater the stick on thermometers are useless. I was thinking of using a probe thermometer to check the temp of the water, but the water temp and the wort temp may vary greatly. Also if I ever need to bring the water temp up what could I use? Ideas







 
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:46 AM   #2
wilserbrewer
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May 2007
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Ok, you want input...the pump is not needed...I assume the water temp and wort temp are pretty close...monitor the water temp w/ a simple thermo...i simply add a pitcher full of ice cubes from my icemaker for the first few days to knock the temp down to the mid - low sixties as I feel this is the most critical time that the ferment can run wild...I have used a heatsick to warm the bath but not often as this condition is unlikely....keep it simple, why recycle frozen bottles when there is adequate volume to just pitch ice in the tub



 
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:24 AM   #3
HalfPint
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Oct 2009
Houston
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Yeah, I use a Igloo "Ice Cube" ice chest. It holds one carboy and will hold temp (with the lid open) for a long time. Like said above, I put a 1/2 gallon of ice cubes in the cooler and top up to wort level with water. I let it stabilize for a few hours and if it's too cool I just scoop out some ice cube water and add some tap water till it's in the low to mid 60's. After this I add a frozen water bottle when it starts to warm up. Usually once every couple of days. Also, I only do the temp controlled fermentation for the first 7 days in primary. Your beer ages much faster when it's at warmer temps, so I usually just let it sit at room temp after 7 days of primary fermentation.

 
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Old 11-01-2009, 12:55 PM   #4
cabledawg
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Oct 2008
North Carolina
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Thanks for the input. I thought the frozen bottles of water would just be easier to use and could be re-frozen over again. The pump idea was me just over thinking the whole concept. Happens a lot when I go to the hardware store unsupervised.

 
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
DBbrewing
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Mar 2009
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I use the same tub and just add ice packs as needed, I have a stick on thermometer on the carboy and it works great as long as you don't submerge in the water you have to keep it above the water line.
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Old 11-01-2009, 01:36 PM   #6
Chumley
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Jan 2009
Madison
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I'll throw in another vote for the ice-cube cooler. I holds one carboy or ale pail and by swapping out re-freezable ice packs once or twice a day it can easily maintain a temp in the low 60's. I also add ~0.5 ounce of bleach to the water to keep it from getting funky.

 
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Old 11-01-2009, 05:47 PM   #7
HalfPint
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rek View Post
I'll throw in another vote for the ice-cube cooler. I holds one carboy or ale pail and by swapping out re-freezable ice packs once or twice a day it can easily maintain a temp in the low 60's. I also add ~0.5 ounce of bleach to the water to keep it from getting funky.
Lol. I thought about adding bleach, but it never stank. I guess it's b/c the lid's open the whole time.

Hey, if you like the ice cube idea, check out what Ms. YooperBrew did with hers,

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/gallery/...ll&ppuser=4189



 
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