Small Scale Glycol-Cooled Fermentation?

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natmartin

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I made the decision a while ago to use glycol rather than a fermentation chamber to control temperatures, and paired with a Spike CF5 I'm very very happy with this setup.
However, I would like to periodically make some smaller (1-2G) batches, for experiments, SMASH beers, etc.

Has anyone found a good way to use glycol to temperature control a small fermentation vessel?

I'm more concerned with a small footprint, rather than super low cost. For example, a Fermzilla is a pretty inexpensive way to get into glycol-controlled fermentation, but it has a big footprint, and I would have a lot of headroom for small batches.

Fermenting in 2.5G kegs is very tempting, but are there methods out there to use glycol to cool them? I've seen some glycol cooling jackets on the market, how well do those work with small kegs?
 

Broken Crow

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Personally, I often over-think things especially in trying to get the greatest utility from specialized items I have on hand... I wonder if you may be over-thinking, and perhaps could you just put small batches in your refridgerator? Not as controllable, but what are you fermenting small batches in and how high a degree of control do you want?
 
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natmartin

natmartin

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My fridge is generally at 34/35F to keep cans cold... and is generally full of cans!

I'm not fermenting small batches at all right now, so I'd be purchasing vessels to start doing this.
 

Broken Crow

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Maybe you could buy an Oxbar keg or two and just wind an EvaBarrier or some such around it and then wrap it in some inusulating material, running your glycol through the evabarrier?
 

hotbeer

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If you are talking about 1 to 3 gallon batches then why not a loop or two or stainless steel or even copper tubing and run it through a stopper.

Though I do my small batches inside a airconditioned home where the ambient temp is almost always 69 - 72° F and simply don't worry about the temp of the beers as they so far only get up to the upper end of ideal for a brief few hours. Only once did I have something I had to actively cool.
 

Biggz1313

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You could do exactly what @hotbeer said and then DuoTight Fittings can be bought to then connect your chiller to the stainless tubing. Here is an example that Fermzilla uses for their add-on thermowells. Buy the same size tubing as this offers, bend it carefully to a small loop, and buy a couple of duotight fittings that will match your tubing size. FermZilla Thermowell w/ Duotight Bulkhead - 23.6 in. | MoreBeer

EDIT: Also just found these which are basically same thing: Acetal Grey SuperSeal (SI)
 
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Jack Arandir

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I've been thinking about this too, since I have a similar setup. One idea was to place the small fermenter in a water bath and use a glycol coil to maintain its temperature.

Another option is Coolstix, a small heat exchange coil that can be submerged in a fermentor bucket.

But honestly for small batches, ambient temperature should be fine for everything but cold ferments (lagers) and hot ferments (Belgians, etc). It seems the juice may not be worth the squeeze. Good luck!
 

yowzers

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www.ballandkeg.com sell a pretty cool temperature control coil that comes with a stopper and blow off as well as thermowell. It is adjustable to as short as you want depending on fermenter size.
 
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natmartin

natmartin

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Thanks for all the suggestions! Right now I'm looking at this cooling jacket as maybe the most straightforward method. Doesn't require any modifications to the keg (other than maybe a thermowell?), so this plus a 2.5G torpedo would be a pretty good setup I think: Conical Cooling Jacket
 

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