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Old 06-08-2012, 10:09 PM   #1
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Default Fermentation Chamber Question/Advice

First time posting...long time lurking...

I've become somewhat more serious about brewing (I know...shocking) and have begun my search for a good way to control fermentation temps. I've narrowed it down to two possibilities.

1. La Cave Wine Cooler - Would hold 2 6 gallon buckets with blowoff tubes and gallon jugs. It can control temps from 36 degrees up to 70 with the use of dual thermometers. The unit itself is used and in somewhat of a nasty state and would require some serious elbow grease and baking soda to remove the smells from the cooler as well as some fabrication to make some additional shelves for the unit. It would cost roughly $125.

2. Cool Brewing Bag - The big benefit is that it is collapsible, $55, and brand new spanky clean. The downside is that it only holds one brew, and I have to swap out ice every couple days.

I ruled out the old swamp cooler method since my wife is refusing to let me put my beer in any of our bathrooms.

So my question to you HBT'ers is, what would you do? Or is there another viable, relatively cheap option that I'm missing?

FYI - my house stays at about 75 degrees.


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Old 06-09-2012, 12:17 AM   #2
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I've not had any experience with the Cool Brewing Bag, but i do have a temp controlled fridge and it's great. They're pretty much hassle free, set it and forget it, so to speak. I bought a used freezer that needed a lot of elbow grease, so I understand your concern there. They tend to clean well though and mine works just fine now.

I guess it depends on your situation though.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:31 AM   #3
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Go refrigerated temp controlled all day every day. No offense to the cool brew bag, but that's for people who don't have the space or money.

Since you said you're considering it, I presume you have 125 bucks for the wine cave (I'm assuming this is a typical refirgerated system) and if you can dial in the temps you won't need a temp controller.

But since you asked, I ferment in a chest freezer that holds the same as the wine cave you mentioned, with a 2 way temp control. I got the freezer for $60 on craigslist (I do not live in a big city, so I had to watch the listings, but they come up all the time still) and although my temp controller was given to me, you can do the ebay controller for pretty darn cheap. $20 bucks for the controller or so, and a little wire and you can have the same thing, not as funky for cleaning as the wine cave for $80 + wiring of course.

Even if you have to spend a little more for the chest freezer, you can still come in under budget of 125, and temp control is awesome. It enables you to brew what you want, whatever season you want to brew it.

For the heater side of the temp controller I use a 40W lightbulb.
Batch counter: 123 batches (11/29/11-7/22/15).
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