Another fermentation chamber

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Xakk

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Well, I'm sick to death of swapping out frozen water bottles, so that means it's time to annoy SWMBO with another beer project.

I had an old dorm fridge that I used to use for beer bottles and a bunch of left over 2x4's from a previous project. My plan is to put some sort of table/counter top on it and use it for racking and general beer work instead of the kitchen, where there's just not enough room.

I've still got to pick up some foam insulation for the interior and order a temp controller. I also have to come up with some kind of counter top for it too. But now that all the cutting and nailing is done, I can move it out of the garage and into the house where it's supposed to be.











 

elmetal

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I like RANCO. I got mine unwired for I think 40-50 dollars new. if you need the link I'll look it up when I get home
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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I'm planning on ordering a Ranco in the next few weeks and wiring it myself.

There's no insulation because I haven't made it to Home Depot to pick any up yet. My goal at the moment was to get everything built so I could get it into the house and out of the garage. SWMBO was tired of parking outside :)

I also want to come up with some sort of table top or counter for it. My whole goal was to do this as cheaply as possible. So far it's cost me a couple of boxes of wood screws and a sheet of ply. So if I can come up with a piece of used counter that my father-in-law has pulled out of a house, all the better. I'd rather not go down and drop $40 at HD. Plywood is always an option, but since it's going in the house and not the garage I'd like to keep things looking as nice as possible.

I'll put up more pics once I get some insulation.
 

ic3scrap3r

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What are your dimensions on this? I'm thinking about doing something similar, but need to see how much room it will take up.
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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What are your dimensions on this? I'm thinking about doing something similar, but need to see how much room it will take up.
Off the top of my head, something like 41 inches long x 22 wide x 37 high. I'd have to measure when I get home, but that's in the ball park. Basically, the width of two carboy's side by side plus the width of the fridge plus a few extra inches for for insulation.
 

ILOVEBEER

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At that point I wonder if it is cheaper and more economical (energy wise) to get a used 15.0 CF chest freezer and temp control it...that is my next purchase.

I sized one the other day...it can hold 3 carboys and a few cornies easy
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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At that point I wonder if it is cheaper and more economical (energy wise) to get a used 15.0 CF chest freezer and temp control it...that is my next purchase.

I sized one the other day...it can hold 3 carboys and a few cornies easy
It's entirely possible. In my case, I already had the fridge and the lumber. So it's only costing me what the temp controller would cost, which I'd have to buy for the freezer anyway, and a sheet of insulation. Plus, I just like building things.
 

MikeG

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Just finished building mine over the weekend, the temp controller will be here tomorrow.

I like your design, wish I had seen it before I did mine. I built mine to hold two fermenters but I made it where the top opens up, not a door on the side. I may have to change that so that I can make use of the top and leave stuff on there when I need to access the inside.
 

KingKegII

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Looks great, can't wait to see it finished.

Don't forget to insulate the bottom!

Cheers.
 

BioBeing

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Can that fridge run in a confined space? I made something similar, but had to remove the sides covering the fridge as it got really hot with a lack of air movement. Mind, my chamber is a bit bigger, and running in my non-air conditioned garage. Ambient temp in the room ran over 90 F during the summer.
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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Can that fridge run in a confined space? I made something similar, but had to remove the sides covering the fridge as it got really hot with a lack of air movement. Mind, my chamber is a bit bigger, and running in my non-air conditioned garage. Ambient temp in the room ran over 90 F during the summer.
It's got cooling coils on the back. It's be shoved into one side of an entertainment center now for over two years, so I'm pretty sure overheating won't be a problem. Plus, I don't plan on leaving it running all the time. Only when I've got something fermenting in it.
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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Well, it took a while to get back to, but I finally managed to get the inside insulated and sealed up. All the seams are caulked and covered with foil tape, and I put weather stripping around the door. Hopefully that'll keep the air leaks to a minimum. I also had to swap out the sliding latches with some swing latches to get the door to close over the weather strip. The Johnson controller should be here next week, then I can really see what this baby can do. Then I just have to finish off the counter top.





 
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Xakk

Xakk

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I left it running empty over night at the lowest setting and the thermometer I left in there showed it down below 30. I've got a carboy full of water in there right now and after about 12 hours it was down to 45*. With any luck it'll get down to the 35* range and I can use it to lager if I want to. Either way, I now know I can use it to ferment anything I could possibly want, so I'm more than happy.
 

WollenBrew

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This may seem like a dumb question, but are you getting your temp (below 30) without a Johnson controller? If so, do you actually need one? I ask because I have a larger (40" tall or so) dorm size fridge and I plan on converting it to a fermentation chamber for lagering. When I turn the temp all the way down I'm able to freeze low ABV beer in it. I was thinking that if I can build a cabinet that's sealed and insulated properly, I could leave it as is without adding a Johnson controller. Any thoughts?
 

android

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that is the most well built fermentation chamber i've seen yet, very nice work. i may have to steal an idea or two from you on my build! kudos.
 

JOHN51277

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Very nice build. Looks great. I need to do something like that in the near future!
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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This may seem like a dumb question, but are you getting your temp (below 30) without a Johnson controller? If so, do you actually need one? I ask because I have a larger (40" tall or so) dorm size fridge and I plan on converting it to a fermentation chamber for lagering. When I turn the temp all the way down I'm able to freeze low ABV beer in it. I was thinking that if I can build a cabinet that's sealed and insulated properly, I could leave it as is without adding a Johnson controller. Any thoughts?
The purpose for me building this wasn't just for lagering, but for maintaining fermentation temps. So it needs the controller to keep the beer at whatever temp it needs to ferment at, whether it's 68, 60, 45 or whatever. Lagering was just an added bonus. I wasn't sure it would be able to maintain lagering temps after adding so much more space than what the fridge was originally designed for.
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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Realized I never put up pictures with the finished counter top.

 

marcopolo

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Do you think it's feasible to do a build like those shown, but with a full size fridge ? One that could house a 14gal conical ?
 

broadbill

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Do you think it's feasible to do a build like those shown, but with a full size fridge ? One that could house a 14gal conical ?
Sure, why not? But at that size, you are back to what the cost of building materials is versus another way to maintain temp.

In the case of a 14 gallon conical, you might be able to rig a propylene glycol chilling system for the price of the plywood/insulation to make a refrigerator sized ferm. chamber.
 

marcopolo

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I already have both the fridge and the insulation (I have a bunch of 2 inch styrofoam that's used to ship "Dippin Dots" ice cream), and I don't know jack about glycol, except that it makes a mess if it leaks. I'm thinking of just building a 4 ft high insulated box that "connects" to the fridge. I'd put the conical on casters so I could just wheel it into the chamber.
 

bionicrocky

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I have a bunch of 2x4s as well and will be building a chamber a lot like yours. My question is, on the floor frame, how did you connect the two boards at the corners? Did you use a metal bracket on the bottom or something? I need to add casters to mine to be able to move it with a back injury, are the corners strong enough to support the chamber on casters at the corners with it full of fermentors?
 
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Xakk

Xakk

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Are you talking about the crossboards on the bottom? There's no brackets anywhere, the whole thing is held together with 2 1/2" deck screws. For the flat boards on the floor they're just angled in. It should be plenty strong to support casters I would think.
 
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