Before I start, I wanted to thank everyone that’s been reading. I worked hard to get a few blogs out quickly, usually first draft and was published on the run. From here on in I’ll publish one blog a week every Friday, so I can provide a blog thats consistent and well written.
My most popular blog so far has been the DIY- Aquarium Style Fermentation, it’s my favorite too! I really want to develop the vessel so it can be used year round, and ASAP for all those brewers in the north of Australia in warmer climates around the world and for those who need lower temperatures for larger, etc. The following methods have not been tested, but I’m hoping some readers might get back to me if they do try them. I’ll also update the blog as methods are tried and tested. BTW, I had to increase the temperature of my vessel to 27 degrees after a week for a Saison, it’s going great guns, the heater is more effective than I thought warming up the water 4 degrees in less than an hour, currently sitting perfectly on 27 degrees.
1) SIMPLE AND HOPEFULLY EFFECTIVE
I’ve been racking by brain for hours, but sometimes the most simple solutions are the easiest. All you need is an ice pack! The size of the icepack will depend on the size of your vessel and how hot the ambient air temperature is….
Filling up a plastic botlle with water and freezing like the juice bottle will allow you to have something for the size and shape you need, for my vessel I would have tried the ice brick for starters.
So you ready for the solution? Place the ice pack in the water of your vessel, that’s it!
Ideally you don’t want the iceblock touching the carboys or close to the heater. But in theory the iceblock will cool down the water, the cool water will be ciculated by the pump, and if the water gets too cold the heater will kick in and warm the water again, how easy is that!?
The only problem I can think of is your iceblock being too big, you don’t want the heater to be working overtime….at the same time you want it to be effective and hopefully only have to replace the iceblock every 1-3 days.
There are alot of variables- the volume of water in your vessel, ambient ait temperature, the size of your iceblock, the fermentation temperature your trying to achieve, but if some one experiments with this method let me know in comments so everyone can benefit.
2) ICE PROBE THERMOELECTRIC AQUARIUM CHILLER
This product really intrests me, I think it would be perfect! As you can see below, all you need to do is drill a hole in your vessel below the water level, screw it in (it comes with seals to make it watertight) and you’ve got automated temperature control. The reviews online of this product are very good.
The only downfall is cost. Firstly you’ll need a temperature controller such as inkbird as the Ice Probe does not turn off. Then the cost of the unit itself. If you in the states you can pick one up for about $130. I did alot of seaching online and could only find two retaliers that sell them in Australia the cheapest $299. I then decided to bite the bullet and buy one from the states for $130 on Amazon, but by the time all the extra costs were added it was just over $200 so I cancelled my order. Damm, if was just a little more affordable, anyone reading in the states though this is a great option, some shops that deliver US/Canada have advertised even less than $130.
3) AQUARIUM WATER CHILLERS- PURPOSE BUILT OR DIY
This is an option that varies considerably in cost and quality. Basically they all do the same thing, suck water out of you vessel, cool it and pump the water back in. Now I’ve seen some cheap thermoelectric ones on eBay from China for around $100, but the reviews suggest they don’t work very well at all (first picture). The well built chillers for aquariums (second picture) are quite expensive $300 -$400 plus, but if you look for a second hand one, people are always selling them.
You could also do the DIY option of pumping water in out of the vessel with a hose into either another esky filled with ice or a small fridge, with this method you want as much length of hose as possible spiralled up inside the fridge or esky so the water has longer to cool down, you would then attach the pump to a temperature control unit so it pumps the water through as needed. A good solution if you have, and have space for an extra fridge…but won’t work for me (no space). The extra esky option also means it’s not fully automated as you have to change the ice when it melts.
4) AQUARIUM COOLER FANS
This method is basically mounting the fans at the top of the esky, blowing air along the suface of the water cools down by a few degrees. It’s a cheaper option but limited cooling and depending on your setup may be hard to mount the fans.
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I do have a fellow brewer from the Small Batch Home Brewing Club- Australia working this weekend on cooling the vessel with a peliter. It will be a cheaper option and hopefully effective. If so I’ll add to this blog….he is going to send me a full summary with pictures.
As for the other methods, if someome tests them, I’ll edit the blog under the method and add result. Please feel free to comment.
So do come back to visit, this particular blog will be edited with updates when methods are tried.
Next Friday ill publish a brew day video using one of the Small Batch Brew Recipe Kits
Until then, happy brewing!