Second thoughts on a cold room.

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wildwest450

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I need to accomplish several things in my brew shed.
1-ferment ales
2-ferment and lager, you guessed it, lagers.
3-bulk grain storage
4-cold conditioning for ales 50-55f

There's no way this can all be accomplished in a cold room. But I can do all that in 3 chest freezers (more or less). So for a good amount less I can buy 3 new freezers, I have the controllers. This would take up less total space, and no mold worries associated with a homemade cold room.

Trust me, I wanted to build one just for the cool factor, but I just don't see the practicality in one. Convince me otherwise. There's just something so sweet about a walk in cooler.
 

Mischief_Brewing

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The only benefit I see a cold room providing (other than the coolness factor) is the ability to stack conditioning carboys on racks (more space).

Also, not sure, but you might see a slight energy bill difference between the two, but if you're buying new, you might see it favoring the chest freezers...
 

JayInJersey

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I've been debating this myself.
The only difference I can think of is space.

I think 3 chest freezers will use less vertical space but more horizontal. I mean with a cold room you could store to the ceiling where with chest freezers they just take up that space...though you could potentially "rack" them so they open like pizza ovens...
 

billc68

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I was toying with the idea of a walk in cooler, I already built a small 7X8' room in my garage for storing photo gear, but I no longer need space, it is insulated, heated and sealed very well. I already have a small electric heater in it, so in the winter it is a walk in cooler, just need to get a thermostat with a lower setting ($100)
I am curious what it might cost to cool it the rest of the year. I could insulate it again with Styrofoam or spray foam. I will look into this with a local refrigeration company.

My main concern would be the monthly costs.
 
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wildwest450

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My main concern would be the monthly costs.
If insulated well it wouldn't cost that much to operate. I just don't know if it's versatile enough for me. It would be nice to have a conical or two in there.
 

RegionalChaos

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You've got to lift the carboys into the cooler, unless you pump into them. I have a chest freezer I'm not using, and am looking at building a ferm chamber. Why? I want to wheel my fermentors into the space, I don't want to lift it over the cooler wall, then have to lift it down or out, etc.. I wouldn't look at a whole cold room though, I'd look at building closet sized cold storage areas.
 

weirdboy

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If you've got three controllers, how about making 3-4 different "zones" in a cold room and pumping cold air between them with fans?

E.g. Lager room -> grain storage -> lager fermentation -> ale fermentation

You put your main cooling area in the lager room, and then pump air from coldest->warmest areas with temperature controlled fans.
 

RegionalChaos

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I plan to cool a ferm chamber with a small fridge or small ac unit. I don't plan on laggering though, so I'm only looking at getting down to 60 or so. Maybe to lager you might want an upright fridge?
 
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wildwest450

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If you've got three controllers, how about making 3-4 different "zones" in a cold room and pumping cold air between them with fans?

E.g. Lager room -> grain storage -> lager fermentation -> ale fermentation

You put your main cooling area in the lager room, and then pump air from coldest->warmest areas with temperature controlled fans.
That sounds good in theory, but I don't see how it would work. You just can't stick an ale in a 65f room and ferment it, the internal temp will go up to 70f or so. You need to monitor every individual carboy separately.
 

weirdboy

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That sounds good in theory, but I don't see how it would work. You just can't stick an ale in a 65f room and ferment it, the internal temp will go up to 70f or so. You need to monitor every individual carboy separately.
But you generally know how much heat will be generated, right? So you could stick it in a 60F room. You will have the same problem with chest freezers if you are planning to ferment multiple brews at the same time.

Or, you could immerse the fermenters in water to better control temp changes during fermentation in the cold room.
 

Jewrican

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i think the fact that the temps will need to be different for a lager and an ale almost demand the chest freezer solution thinking about costs. there is a cool factor for sure, but i dont know that it can be justified unless you just want to piss it away lol.
 

strat_thru_marshall

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Why not build your cold room (because that'd be sweet) and then put two chest freezers in it? Set your room to ale ferment temps, and set your chests to lager temps? Best of both worlds.
 

billc68

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Super helpful, thanks. This board has is getting ridiculous..:rolleyes:


.
Actually that is helpful to me, and I am sure I am not the only homebrewer who hunts. Kinda goes hand in hand, the whole providing for yourself concept. Might also be good for long term fruit and vegetable storage.

Why not build your cold room (because that'd be sweet) and then put two chest freezers in it? Set your room to ale ferment temps, and set your chests to lager temps? Best of both worlds.
The only issue I see here, is you would get some heat generated by the freezers, how much I don't know, I am considering this myself., but one upright freezer, not 2 chests, a good upright can hold 4 carboys.

Depending how cold your cold room is, this can also be an issue as the freezer's compressor may be damaged by working in a cold environment, however the compressor works a lot less in the cold anyway.
 
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wildwest450

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Actually that is helpful to me, and I am sure I am not the only homebrewer who hunts. Kinda goes hand in hand, the whole providing for yourself concept. Might also be good for long term fruit and vegetable storage.
I aint building a refrigerator or a fruit stand.;) They recommend meat be kept at 35f to 40f, colder than I plan on keeping it. I thought about the chest freezer inside. For ales it would need a heating pad/light bulb inside. For lagering it would run, and those freezers throw a LOT of heat when running. It sounds like a condensation nightmare to me.
 

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