Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cooling the swamp

I went out Saturday with a plan of building some sort of controlled temperature devise/area/box
to ferment my wort in, instead of just letting the tempurature of the condo (first floor cool, second floor warmer, third floor Hades-esqe) determine my fermeting temps. I had read about a couple of designs online and even saw a few pics of various sizes and builds.

My first stop was the local Target to get some bins to use as the chamber itself. How big would I need? I had done some rough measuring with a fermenting bucket complete with airlock and a carboy also with airlock both height and a working diameter as well. I get to the store and have more choices than you can shake a stick at( and I can do a lot of shaking). Large bins, small bins, pink bins but nothing that screamed "buy me". I pulled one of the medium sized ones down and immediately knew it would be both too small and too narrow to house my brewing gear. I tried the next biggest one and this size still wasn't what I was looking for. I skipped two sizes and went to a vastly larger one, a 30 gallon behemoth. Perfect. In fact it was appropriately sized to do two fermenters at once if I got the itch to do that again.

Next stop on my magical tour was Lowe's. I couldn't remeber which was closer to me on the highway on the drive North, them or Home Depot and I don't really have a preference between the 2. I had talked to one of the guys at the LBS and he mentioned something about finding insulation to wrap around my "box" to keep the temp down. But not just any insulation. Who has the space for their fermenting chamber to have a 15 inch ring of fiberglass wrapped snuggly around it? Not I good sir. He told me of a foil and air insulator that is less than a half inch thick but still works wonders. I inquired about it with three of four different Lowe's employees before I talked to someone in lumber who told me that all of their insulations were together in aisle 18.
So I wandered over to said aisle and lo and behold........ Reflectix. A beautiful shiny roll some 25 feet long of the stuff. Just to be on the safe side I bought two and then headed over to the hardware department to find hinges and screws for my project.

I stopped at my morning job to pick up some specialty adhesive to keep the insulator firmly planted to the sides of my "box" and then headed home. It got messy quickly, well anytime there is spray adhesive involved, that sort of thing tends to happen. Luckily for me I was prepared with gloves and a half roll of paper towels. After some more measuring and spraying and cutting and more spraying I managed to get the Reflectix attached and in decent working order. The hinges were a breeze, although I should have stuck to my gut and gotten the 3/4" self tappers I had picked out before I opted for the full 1" version. Oh well. Pics to follow.

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