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Old 07-31-2012, 02:30 AM   #1
zacc
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Aug 2010
california
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After getting tired of changing out frozen bottles in my old chamber I decided it was time to upgrade. Besides not using frozen bottles I also wanted the new chamber to have two different temperature zones and have a much higher capacity than my old chamber.

I did quite a bit of research on different designs and eventually incorporated ideas from several other brewers build into one design. Before starting the build I designed the plans in google sketchup. The frame is made out of 2x4 and insulated with 2" Iso foam, sprayfoamed around the edges and then filled the remaining 1.5" with batt insulation.

The top chamber is for fermenting ale and the bottom is for lagers, cold crashing, and aging. I'm using the ebay temp controllers which provide the ability to control heating and cooling. I'm using a 5000btu a/c unit to chill the bottom unit and pc fans to circulate cool air from the bottom to the top. I haven't decided what I will use to heat the chamber but I wired the controller to an outlet in each section so I can plug something in later like a small space heater.

I took care to keep the inside of the chamber well sealed to prevent any mold issues down the road. The inside is painted with an exterior grade mildew resistant paint, I put linoleum on floors and used silicon caulking around all the corners. In addition I'm using a eva-dry unit to absorb any extra moisture.

I brewed the inaugural batch yesterday and it's holding steady at 68. I have the bottom set to about 50 right now and all together have around 30 gallons in the chamber with plenty of room left. The last picture shows the ferm chamber in its new home !

This was a fun build and turned out great. There are a few things I would change if building it again but overall I am very happy with how it turned out. I got a lot of ideas and inspiration from reading other build threads so hopefully I can pass on some knowledge I've learned during this build.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:49 AM   #2
MrLucky
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Mar 2010
Bethel, ME
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That is beautiful.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:59 AM   #3
Copbrew133
 
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Jan 2012
Tampa Bay area, FL
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Stellar build.
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:30 PM   #4
zacc
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Aug 2010
california
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Here's a few closer pics of the inside and one of the inaugural batch fermenting away! I've got my stir plate in there as well, although nothing is on it atm. I can easily fit 4 carboys in the top section alone.
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:21 PM   #5
Fly_Rodder
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Jun 2011
Fayetteville, NY
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Awesome looking build - may you forever have it full of carboys, happily bubbling away.

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
rekoob
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Feb 2011
Norfolk, VA
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this is awesome! Great looking build! well done!

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:44 PM   #7
GreenMtBrewer
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Nov 2009
VT
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What a great looking build. Nicely done. What is the ambient temperature of your brewing space, and how often does your AC unit cycle on to maintain the 68 F in the top chamber?

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:50 PM   #8
cosmatics
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Apr 2010
New Jersey
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Holy cow, what a build!! Great looking work, I'm also interested in feedback about the performance. Fantastic stuff.

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
zacc
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Aug 2010
california
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMtBrewer View Post
What a great looking build. Nicely done. What is the ambient temperature of your brewing space, and how often does your AC unit cycle on to maintain the 68 F in the top chamber?
It's been pretty warm here in Northern California lately so my brew space has probably been getting up to low-mid 90's.

The AC unit was kicking on frequently when i first plugged it in but once I got some kegs and carboys in there to build up the thermal mass it's been only turning on maybe for 1-2 minutes every 20 minutes.

The top is cooled by two 80mm fans that cycle cold air from the bottom and return hot air from the top. Right now they have been running more than I would like to maintain fermenting temps up top but I think that is mostly due to the low watt cell phone charger i'm using to power the fans. Once I find a better power supply I should be able to get more speed and better air movement with them, if it's still low I will upgrade them to 120mm fans.

I have only had it finished for about a week and haven't had much time to really push it to see what the max performance can be. But where I have it set at now is right around where i see myself keeping it most of the time and even with the hot weather it's holding strong!

 
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Old 07-31-2012, 06:38 PM   #10
Smashing
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Feb 2010
Kent/Brockport NY
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Wow, nice build! I was just drawing up a similar build this morning. I'm planning on using refrigeration vs air conditioner though so I can get one part cold enough to force carb. How many fermentors/cornies will that hold?

 
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