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Brewing Topics => Equipment => Topic started by: Clanderson on November 18, 2020, 06:44:36 PM

Title: Fermenting Enclosure Build
Post by: Clanderson on November 18, 2020, 06:44:36 PM
I have been drawing up plans for building a fermenter enclosure. I got kicked out of the kitchen and have brewed the last 4 batches in the garage. It hasn't been too big a deal to drag the buckets down to the basement for fermenting, but recently got conical fermenter and would like to just do the whole process in the garage. Instead of buying a freezer, I'd like to build a wooden, well insulated, enclosure for the fermenter.

So here's my question. Heating inside the enclosure will be easy, but cooling is another matter. In winter, I can just run air through it since the garage stays between 30 and 50 degrees F. Summer, where temps can go from 70 to 90 F in the garage, is another story. Our water in the peak of summer gets up to 60 F or so, so it is possible to just use water. I'm wondering how practical it will be to use water to keep 5 or 6 gal of beer at 70 F with a cooling coil.
Title: Re: Fermenting Enclosure Build
Post by: Rep on November 21, 2020, 03:35:36 PM
I might add a bit of experience to your operation.

How long have you been brewing? A fermentation chamber is a great addition to your brewery. Once you are able to control the temperature range in a chamber you will have moved to a new level of brewing. Many people like to control their temperatures based on what is recommended by the yeast producers. I tend to set at 65F then + or - 3F degrees by heating and cooling.

What other equipment do you currently have?

How far are you interested in developing your brewery? Will your brewery be in the 5, 10 or 15 gallon range? Will you eventually want a single tier brew system with pumps?

I ask these questions because for me I have found making the equipment is half the fun. I do not like, "buying gear twice". The key to that is planning for the next stage. I staged my brewery build from kitchen to all grain 5 gallon, then 10 gallon and finished at 15 gallons.

I would highly recommend you find an old refrigerator and convert it to a fermentation chamber. Gain the experience of using that box to determine what you might want to actually build. I will offer an example for the reasoning.

I went through a staged conical build via plastic agricultural equipment and stainless steel fittings. It worked great but after a few years I wanted to upgrade me whole brewery to SS. That original plastic build got me to about 15.5 gallons. When I converted to a SS off the shelf conical I downgraded to about 11 gallons. I had build up boil and HLT capacity for 16 gallons but now found myself giving up about 5 gallons in potential Brewhouse capacity. I ended up purchasing a wide mouth 6 gallon fermentor. It is tall and thin and fits in the refrigerator along with my SS conical. I can split my batches and use different yeast or dry hop procedures. Now, I toy with the idea of designing and building a free standing chamber. What other functions can it provide me? I may design one with various compartments that can be used for ales and lagers at the same time. Maybe even serving as well.

Good luck and have fun.
Title: Re: Fermenting Enclosure Build
Post by: Rep on November 21, 2020, 05:06:25 PM
Here are some photos of my refrigerator build.
Title: Re: Fermenting Enclosure Build
Post by: Rep on November 21, 2020, 05:12:47 PM
and here....