• Welcome to the new forum! We upgraded our forum software with a host of new boards, capabilities and features. It is also more secure.
    Jump in and join the conversation! You can learn more about the upgrade and new features here.

Cooling during fermentation



I'm always striving to improve my brewing, and would like to lower the fermentation temperature of my ales to about 64F/18C, which I understand is the best temp for most.  (I know ... there are plenty of brewers making good beer at 72F, etc., but I still want to try the lower temp.)

I have a 5-gallon plastic conical fermenter mounted in an insulated cabinet cooled with ice, but I'm not satisfied with its performance.  I am therefore considering a peltier device; two of them are shown here -- http://www.coolworksinc.com/iceprobe_product_gallery.htm -- to chill a 12 gallon conical, achieving up to a 25F drop from ambient temperature. However, I do not want to cut holes in the side of my conical, plus there is no room inside the cooling cabinet for side-mounting the peltiers.  But the probe on the peltiers is too short to reach the wort when going through the lid.  I am therefore researching whether a heat pipe, driven by the peltier, will work; the heat pipe would essentially be a long probe, with about twice the surface area of the IceProbe which is already advertised as being sufficient for this purpose.  If anyone has any info or knowledge about peltiers, heatpipes (or thermodynamics), and/or experience with fermenters made from copper, I'd like to discuss this with you, please.

Before anyone starts suggesting alternatives, let me say up front:
1.  Evaporative cooling is not an option;
2.  A dedicated refrigerator or converted freezer is not an option;
3.  I'm not interested in cooling by recirculating any liquids (glycol, cold water, etc.) because such a system is actually more complex than what I'm trying to do, and would require a pump as well as a means of refrigerating; and
4.  I know ... I have too much time on my hands.  Hey, I'd rather be thinking and talking about brewing equipment and new ideas than watching television.  :)

Cheers, Bill Velek
Join "HomeBrewers" international grid-computing team and help mankind by donating spare computer power for medical research such as cancer; we're in the top 7%, and we beat the MillerTime team: http://tinyurl.com/b7ofs The life that your computer can help save ... might be someone you love.