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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2003 * September 15, 2003 * Fabricating a cooling closit or room < Previous Next >

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Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 01:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would like to build a small cooling closit like about 3' deep 8' high and 5' wide to lager beer in. I was thinking of getting a chest freezer and simply building an insulated closit on top or around it. I am looking for ideas and potential pitfalls. Also, I already have a large chest freezer and was wondering if it could serve a dual purpose serving as well as lagering. Perhaps I could have the beer at serving temperature at the bottom and lagering temperature at top. I might have to split the top and bottom by a panel to better control temperature. If I built this out of plywood and rigid insulation, would condensation be a problem??
 

Marlon Lang (68.159.5.184)
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2003 - 01:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Greg,
I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by a closit. If you mean a small room in your house, then here is what happened to a friend. He used styrofoam to insulate a closit in his house, then refrigerated it. Worked great, except that water vapor collected under the floor and rotted out his foundation. If you want a combo server-brewer, look for a salvaged side-by-side 'frig. Use the 'frig side to brew in and the freezer as a server. All you will need to do is to modify the thermostat so that the freezer side doesn't get too cool.
 

Connie (12.91.241.14)
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2003 - 12:49 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The brew shop in Honolulu, HI has a small room set aside for fermenting. They cool with a window air conditioner...don't remember if it's insulated but seem it would need to be.
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Monday, August 18, 2003 - 04:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My fridge stands next to my work bench in my garage. After a couple 11% Belgiums one day, i thought... dang it would be cool to have a big ole cooler....
So i closed in the space under the work bench with 4 inch thick walls, putting R-13 house insulation in all the walls. I then cocked every joint so its air tight. I made about half the front a swing out door, also insulated, and made sure it had a tight seal.
I then cut (2) 6 inch holes in the side of my fridge, one in the side of the freezer, and the other in the side of the fridge.

I then connected the freezer to a hole in the top of the "cooler", with a 90 angle pipe once inside to blow cool air towards the back of the cooler, and connected the fridge hole to the side of the cooler. I connected em with that insulated heater duct "squishy" type stuff. Only needed about 6 inches of it for the fridge connection since its sitting only that far from the work bench. Ran about 2 foot from the freezer down into the top of the workbench.

I then bought one of those 4 inch duct fans from HD and put it in the freezer at the enterence of the pipe, and wired it into the fridge fan.
When the fridge kicks in, so does my duct fan, blowing freezer air down into the cooler, and air is then returned to the fridge via the fridge hole. Basically circulatiing and returning the air to the fridge to be cooled n cycled once again..kinda like hitting recirc in your car a/c.

The cooler space is prob 3 foot high by 2.5 wide, n abour 6 foot long..

Tada...A big ole cooler that can hold prob 15-20 cornies :)

i have digital thermometers in the freezer, fridge, and half way back in the cooler.

Even in 90 weather, ive been able to maintain in the uppers 30's in both the cooler n fridge, with the fridge only working about for about 15 mins every hour.

I then tapped the front of my fridge with 2 taps, and im good to go. I usually bring the 2 serving kegs into the fridge, but i could just run a line into the cooler through the fridge hole n tap em right in the cooler.. could have 20 kegs on tap, but even crazy ME wont try n keep that much beer on tap.. heh

So there ya go! cheapo big cooler for about $100 in parts...

Also cool, is i can duct tape over the connection partually and bring up the temp in the cooler to say 65 for fermenting or 55 for lagers.. whatever.., yet the fridge will still stay about 40 for serving :)

Rub Goldberg's got nothing on me..;>

Walt
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Bret Mayden (66.210.167.16)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 02:38 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"After a couple 11% Belgiums one day, i thought... "
And then to engineer and build that cooler! You make me so proud, dude! Sniff....
 

Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 12:57 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Walt and Connie I appreciate the engineering of both of you and both ideas intrigue me. I like Connies' ideas as I wouldn't have to worry about condensation - I think anyway. I have access to a free refrgerated air conditioner. However, I am not sure I could get down to lagering temp for lagers. Walt, your idea is one I have been toying with. I have a big chest freezer and I have thought about just increasing the size of the chest all the way up to the ceiling. then adding a couple doors on the front. I am a little concerned about condensation and any wood components rotting. Currently I am building a sauna, so when I get done with my hot box I will turn my attention to the cold box.
 

Mike Huss (192.136.16.3)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 02:23 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Walt, I'm intrigued with that concept of yours. Do you have any pictures?
 

Dan Mourglea (152.30.23.37)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 05:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Greg, just use marine laquer on some moisture resistant type of wood (redwood?) and I don't think you'll have a big problem
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 06:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well.. actually ive been toying with bringing up a website about my system and all the "junk" ive built for awhile now..;>
If dns servers have picked it up yet, you can find it here http://www.LamaBrewery.com . The server is running in a basement of a friends house, much like this site.. snicker..;>

Dont mind how crummy the site is.. i just started building it like 2 hours ago.. LOL!
It will have many more features over the next few weeks, and will bounce around over the period, but you can atleast find some pics of the cooler there now :)
Also.. ive had the cooler running now for about 6 months and never had any problem with condensation.. none.. always been bone dry. Course i live in Colorado, so maybe a more humid location might be a different story, i dont know..

But i DO know its been working Awesome for me so far :)

Walt
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PalerThanAle (65.168.73.62)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 06:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Looks nice!!!! 'cept for the Bronco thing.

PTA
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 07:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

hey hey.. put your hand over your heart when you say Bronco...;>

Walt
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PalerThanAle (65.168.73.62)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 07:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Only if it is white and OJ is drivin'

PTA
 

Belly Buster Bob (131.137.245.198)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 08:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

nice site Walt. Can I suggest making your pics a bit smaller? Long wit for us slow ••• dalup boys. Site is coming along great.
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 - 08:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

yea.. good point.. im sitting on speed here..;> but i really do need to crunch them babies up abit..;> if anything to save ban..

Walt
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Bret Mayden (66.210.167.214)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 12:10 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The fridge/cooler rig looks almost alive....I think maybe the Borg did this for Walt....
 

Skotrat (24.61.120.214)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 01:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

HEY NOW!

A few years back I built the mother of all home brewers dreams in my old basement...

A 5.5' x 10' walkin cooler...

It ruled and I miss it to this very day...

My DNS server is hosed at the moment but you can view it here:

http://209.81.234.141/brewrats/walkin.cfm

THINK BIG, BREW BIG... GET FAT!


C'ya!

-Scott
 

Skotrat (24.61.120.214)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 01:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

HEY NOW!

Of course it was a PHA "You Can Really Taste the Chutney" Design!


C'ya!

-Scott
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 02:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey Now!!!
Skots cooler is gonna be HARD to beat... its most DEFF the ultimate cooler!!

I can only bow at such a "toy"...;>

Walt
----

i have a feeling Skot's gonna out do himself again...;>
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 02:43 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

dup "thankyou server" post...;>
 

Mike Huss (192.136.16.3)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 12:08 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Dangit Skot, I was looking for that yesterday when Walt posted his because I remembered you having built it, but as you said, your server was down. That thing pretty much defines the ultimate goal for a cooler in the house!
 

Bill Aimonetti (143.183.121.3)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 12:26 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have a pic of my fermentation box in the photo gallery under yeast mountain brewery. This is an insulated box with a window ac unit. It works really nice in New Mexico's dry climate but I can't say how it would do in a more humid area.
 

Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 01:01 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I live just north of you Bill in Pueblo Colorado - at ground zero of the drought; where the grass is crunchy and even the weeds don't grow. Bill, Scott or anyone for that matter, how cool do you think I could get a small closit with a small refrigerated AC unit. My brother called last night and has one and my son has one as well, all I have to do is pick them up.I would really like to start doing lagers. As well as controlling ale temps. Summer brewing is just about out as my basement temp can go over 70 degrees.
 

Skotrat (24.61.120.214)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 02:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

HEY NOW!

If you adjust the small control pot on the air unit you can easily get your closet into the low 30's

C'ya!

-Scott
 

Bill Aimonetti (143.183.121.1)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 02:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have had mine down to 34 degrees with the window unit just as a test and only for an hour or so. I do keep it at 50 for lager primary fermentations but always do the secondary in my serving fridge. It will hold at 50 with no issues.
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2003 - 06:31 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

yup.. walking by mine today and noticed it getting a bit chilly... 31 degrees..
I kicked it back up to 37.

Course since i never brew beer under 8%, it shouldnt freeze.. heh

Walt
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Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 12:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This is great news. You guys are talking much cooler temps than I expected. What is the small control pot? Guess it's time to get busy!
 

Belly Buster Bob (142.177.11.21)
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 12:19 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have just recently super insulated my entire 2200 SQ Ft house and installe 33 very large air conditioners to keep the entire house at serving temp. My beer never gets warm in the glass. And for Fredrik... the foam lasts forever.
For those of you who may be sensitive to a bit of humour, this has been a joke akin to the famed "my penis is bigger than yours"
BBB
 

don price (65.32.41.81)
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 01:48 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

" 3' deep 8' high and 5' wide to lager beer in "

Sounds like you want one of those display-type coolers that you see in many c-stores or restraunts. Probably pricey for for a nice working one but a you may be able to get a dead one for free and $300 or so for a new compressor should get it running.

Other options - build the big freakin' "collar" on top of a chest freezer (your first idea)...or build two smaller ones since you never know when you will want to use one for serving or ales (gasp!). Used chest freezers can be pretty cheap. Of course 2 or 3 old 'fridges would do the trick. Hint - 6 corneys in a 'fridge or chest freezer is easy for conditioning or lagering. Keep in mind that the 'fridge or freezer options almost completely eliminate the moisture issues that could be a real killer if you are in a humid climate like sunny Florida.

I use a chest freezer for ale fermentation, a 2-corney serving fridge, & a 6-corney conditioning fridge...SWMBO didn't like the idea of converting the pantry into refregerated storage for some reason...

Don
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 02:00 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BBB!!!
BwwwaaaHAHAHA!!

DrinkON!

;>
Walt
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robert rulmyr (63.156.128.19)
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 10:31 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Whole House at Serving Temperature! That has me smilin'

WacoBob
 

Belly Buster Bob (142.177.105.145)
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 10:50 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm thinkin about insulatin the aircraft hangar I work in next
 

Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 01:34 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Walt
You Ok man!
A conveniece store freezer. Now were talking. I know a guy who knows a guy who salvages restaurant and store equipment then resells it. The guy is a bloody millionaire from it but anyway, maybe that might be a real easy way to go. Walt I am just a beer away from......
YeeeeeeeeWaaaaaaaaHahaha.
Drinkin On!
:-)
Enjoy!
 

Anthony Armbruster (12.226.20.124)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 01:51 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have been considering making my own serving cooler. Nice walk-in skotrat!

Anyone know where to buy a compressor unit to cool a nice sized area?
 

Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 03:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Skotrat
Earlier I couldn't open your link - I set OPERA as my internet explorer in an attempt to distance myself from Bill Gates. Anyway I got right in this morning. Durn nice cooler. I thought about doing a walk in but have scaled down to a large closit. I may do a room later. I have a room downstairs that is empty and have considered making it my personal brewhouse. If I do that it is BIG cooler time.
 

Greg Nolan (12.10.148.126)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 03:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Skotrat
Earlier I couldn't open your link - I set OPERA as my internet explorer in an attempt to distance myself from Bill Gates. Anyway I got right in this morning. Durn nice cooler. I thought about doing a walk in but have scaled down to a large closit. I may do a room later. I have a room downstairs that is empty and have considered making it my personal brewhouse. If I do that it is BIG cooler time.
 

Belly Buster Bob (142.177.106.190)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 06:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

does a portable air conditioner (window type) have to use outside air? Can you put one in a walkin and have it through the wall into the surrounding room or does it have to go to the outside?
 

Bob McCouch (68.34.184.217)
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 07:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

An air conditioner is kind of like a supercharged heat exchanger. It uses a little magic (pressurized coolant and such), but basically if it's cooling down the air on one side of the unit (the "inside"), then it has to heat up the air on the other side of the unit.

CAN you run one with the "outside" actually blowing into a room? Yes. However, it will make that room very warm and humid, and as the room heats up it will drive the AC's efficiency down.

I think it's probably doable in a garage, but I don't think I'd try it in a living room!
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 07:55 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

BBB... that air commin outta the back will make the other room an oven...;>
Sooo maybe you could make the room next to your a cooler a sauna?

;>
Walt
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Scott Peifer (205.188.208.73)
Posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 04:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Greg
I built a small walk in cooler in my basement. It measures app. 3'x 4'x 7' high. I used a 12 c.f. upright freezer for the cooling part. I used 2" of polysionate (sp) glued up to a studded wall with R13 bat insulation in it. Caulked all the joints and added a small fan to circulate air, Johnson controller to regulate temps. I use it for a serving fridge and a lagering room. I have five beers on tap (not quite up to Skotrat's cooler) but it works very well.
 

Fredrik (213.114.44.237)
Posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 06:03 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is everyone using these cooling rooms for storing beer or does anyone use it for temperature controlled fermentations?

/Fredrik
 

Walt Fischer (24.221.196.114)
Posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 06:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

both here...
I can ferment at about 68 in the house, but if a beer calls for less, i use my cooler..

Walt
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Bryan Perkins (66.87.224.52)
Posted on Monday, August 25, 2003 - 11:10 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Scott
Do you use the controller to regulate the fan, or the freezer?
 

Scott Peifer (152.163.252.67)
Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2003 - 02:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bryan
I use the controller to regulate the freezer. The fan runs all of the time. Without the fan, the temperature would be 34' at the floor and 55'at the top of the cooler.

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