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Old 04-07-2014, 04:12 PM   #1
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Default Fermenting in a closed chest freezer

Hi all,

My fellow brewers and I found a 11.1 cubic foot chest freezer on craigslist for $75 so we snagged it and set it up with a space heater and a temperature control unit for a fermentation chamber.

Currently we have a Kolsch that's been fermenting for about 10 days and an IIPA (Pliny clone, really pumped) that we put in 2 days ago. We set the temperature to 16C for the first 24 hours of the IIPA and have since then increased the temperature to 17.5C. We're slowly warming it up to 20C by about 0.5C a day.

My question is if we should open the freezer every now and then to release pressure buildup from the fermentation, since the freezer is a closed system. I've been opening it daily. Currently I can tell it's mostly CO2 in there because it's got a really funky smell (the cominbation of a kolsch and IIPA fermenting in close quarters) and when I put my head in to smell it feels like I'm breathing CO2.

Anything I need to watch out for?


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Old 04-07-2014, 07:02 PM   #2
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Dont't take a big breath of CO2 while your leaned over the freezer. You could pass out and fall in..


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Old 04-07-2014, 07:10 PM   #3
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Dont't take a big breath of CO2 while your leaned over the freezer. You could pass out and fall in..
^^ Not a joke.

No, you don't need to open it. Here's a pic of 6 active fermentors (and a pumpkin!) in mine. No problem.

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Old 04-08-2014, 02:50 AM   #4
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There's a story to the pumpkin, right?
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Old 04-08-2014, 02:59 AM   #5
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There's a story to the pumpkin, right?
It's the great pumpkin, Blockhead! He watches over my fermentations. Perhaps I'm a little superstitious, but when he's on the job it always goes well.

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Old 04-08-2014, 04:55 PM   #6
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I took a sniff from the airlock of my actively-fermenting IIPA and it hit me like a truck. It's supposed to be harsh, right?
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:41 PM   #7
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^^^Thats what I was refereeing too.. You got a big sniff of the CO2 in the chest freezer and not just the airlock co2. It is very harsh, almost like a burning feeling.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:47 PM   #8
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Co2 is heavier than air. Opening the top will do nothing other than letting any buildup of pressure out. The rest of the chest will stay full of co2 unless you vent it out somehow.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:51 PM   #9
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I wouldn't bother opening it unless you want to check them out, a build up of CO2 will not effect anything.
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Old 04-08-2014, 07:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Dont't take a big breath of CO2 while your leaned over the freezer. You could pass out and fall in..
I wouldn't go that far. CO2 is quite harsh on the nose. Your natural instincts will have you jumping back like a rabbit if you take a deep breath. Try taking a wiff from a co2 line sometime, of from your fermenter.

Now if you're fiddling around with something on the bottom (wiping up a mess) and your nose is around a lower concentration zone for an extended time, you could run into a problem. You'll feel light headed and if you don't get you're head out of there quick enough you could pass out and end up in a bad place.


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