Fermentation Chamber Update

25 Sep

We’re (I’m) building a fermentation chamber. There’s a lot of options out there, from buying old fridges or freezers, to building your own. I wanted the flexibility of building your own, with hopefully some of the cost savings. My goal in particular was to build a chamber that could be used for 2 purposes: one chamber to ferment ales in, and one chamber to lager beers and cold-condition kegs. Rather than hunt for 2 freezers or fridges, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it work by building a single chamber with dual temperature controls.

I also wanted it to be big enough to be able to fit up to 4 carboys and/or buckets, and I also wanted it to be tall enough so that it could fit a 14 gallon conical fermentor down the road. Lots of people cool their boxes with refrigerators, but that takes up a lot of space, and the compressor on a fridge might not be able to handle a bigger box. I’d read about people using window A/C units for their fermentation boxes, and since summer was ending I thought I’d be able to get a good deal on one.

So the final design is two separate boxes made out of 2×4 framing and plywood sheathing that will be insulated with 2″ foam sheathing, tape and spray foam. It’s around 45″ high and 35″ by 35″ , a little bigger than I was thinking but it’s going to be perfect to ferment and store lots of beer. The side with the A/C unit will be the cold side, and I’ll find a way to bypass the A/C’s thermostat to be able to bring it down to lagering temps. The second box will be hooked up to the first, and connected with air baffles and computer fans that’ll be activated to pull cold air in as needed.

This weekend I build the first (the cold side) box. I haven’t insulated it yet, but the box is in and the A/C unit is in place.

Pretty exciting!

-The Brewmaster

The frame with the A/C unit installed

This is the frame I built, out of 2x4s

And finally, the fermentation box waiting to be sealed and insulated. And to get a door, of course.
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2 Responses to “Fermentation Chamber Update”

  1. Scott September 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm #

    JTFC! That’s sweet.

  2. Tberculosis September 26, 2011 at 12:47 am #

    I wish I had known what you needed. We gave a window unit AC away when we moved.

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