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Cool Room and fermentation Air Conditioning

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redcane

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So I scored an old garden shed made of 50mm Cool Room sandwich insulation panels, which I'm hoping to assemble into a fermentation chamber inside my shed. (It's an un-insulated tin shed so it's an oven in summer and too cold in winter. Before I scored the cool room panels I was planning to add insulation to the shed, but this seems easier).

Once it's together I'm hoping the temperatures will stay in the right range for brewing all by themselves, but was thinking I'd add an air conditioner to allow better temperature control if need be (and funds permit). The 'dead fridge' fermentation chamber I currently use needs ice blocks added to keep temps down in summer, so I'm hoping the insulated panels perform better.

I was doing a bit of basic research on the air conditioner, and it seems like some yeasts (or some beer styles) might be best fermented as low as 9 degrees, but I don't think that most air conditioners go that low. Anyone brewing beers at low temperatures using an Air conditioner (perhaps overridding the thermostat)? Or are they all brewing in a fridge? I think an Air conditioner is going to struggle to hit fridge temps, and a fridge isn't going to have the capacity for the cool room heat load. Commercial units are probably expensive. I'm ok with taking the cheaper option of a residential air conditioner and being limited to 16 degree minimum temps, unless anyone knows of another option?

Cheers all!
 

zindello

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Dare I ask, if you're going to spend the money on an air-conditioner, then why not just get a fridge to put inside your chamber?

That aside, If you build the chamber small, and go absolute overkill on the air conditioner you might get temps that low. Our air con in the bedroom is speced for a room twice it's size, and it frequently gets very chilly (sub 15 degrees) in the bedroom. If you buy the biggest air con that you can't-quite afford (split system) then you might get away with it.

That is one heck of an expensive way to ferment beer however ...
 

mkstalen

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Agree. Great you've got an insulated shed but I doubt it is going to seal well enough to maintain temps that low, and It'll cost you a fortune to maintain that low a temperature in that large a space in summer.

But you'll be better off spending money on a 2nd hand fridge than an A/C unit for the entire shed. Stick the fridge in the shed and ferment normally in it, the ambient temps inside your shed will be better which means the fridge won't need to run as much.
 

dougsbrew

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aircons arent designed to go that low and wont go that low. what youd need is a refridgeration unit.
they start around 2grand. your best option would be using a fridge(take the doors off and building a cool room off the front of it.
dont go too big though or a second fridge will be required.
 

JDW81

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I have to agree with the sentiments above. Rig of the 'cool room' and put a fridge inside it. Even a new fridge will cost you less than an a/c. Also will cost less to run.

I've got a bar fridge for fermenting in my garage and even on baking hot days it isn't' running excessively.

JD
 

stux

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I've read that an in-wall a/c will work. You just hardwire it on then use an STC type controller to control it

Jamil Zainasheff got 5+ years out of 99$ jobbie

http://www.mrmalty.com/brewstuff.php
 

Beerisyummy

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Stux said:
I've read that an in-wall a/c will work. You just hardwire it on then use an STC type controller to control it

Jamil Zainasheff got 5+ years out of 99$ jobbie

http://www.mrmalty.com/brewstuff.php
I just stumbled onto this thread while on my usual gleaning regime.

Great link.

I'm pretty sure an AC unit is much stronger than your average fridge boys and girls.
 

dougsbrew

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Stux said:
I've read that an in-wall a/c will work. You just hardwire it on then use an STC type controller to control it

Jamil Zainasheff got 5+ years out of 99$ jobbie

http://www.mrmalty.com/brewstuff.php
im having trouble swallowing his stats..
on a 43degree day he reckons the aircon only ran for 30 minutes of the day..
i think he is fudging the figures.
it looks like it does work though..
 

Beerisyummy

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I believe it's human nature to fudge stats to suit an agenda. Even if the agenda is to show a cheapp way to do something.
Do you round up or round down. It's always upto you.

A piss poor window AC unit seems pretty similar to the commercial offerings installed inside some of my favourite coolrooms. Just way more residential.
If you insulated the room well enough and rarely opened the door it wouldn't be a stretch to hold low temps easily.
 

dougsbrew

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Beerisyummy said:
I believe it's human nature to fudge stats to suit an agenda. Even if the agenda is to show a cheapp way to do something.
Do you round up or round down. It's always upto you.

A piss poor window AC unit seems pretty similar to the commercial offerings installed inside some of my favourite coolrooms. Just way more residential.
If you insulated the room well enough and rarely opened the door it wouldn't be a stretch to hold low temps easily.
so you have seen window ac in many coolrooms?? tell us more as i am interested in building a cold room..
 

Beerisyummy

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dougsbrew said:
so you have seen window ac in many coolrooms?? tell us more as i am interested in building a cold room..
NO! No such thing in any of the commercial offerings I've seen over the years.
The ski ramp in Dubai is probably the closest thing.

As far as I know there is only only one type of commercial offering and it works the same as all the rest that use a compressor. This includes your bar fridge.
If designed right a coolroom should cope with a small compressor unit such as a cheap window mount jobby. AFAIK only the inbuilt thermostat will stop it from overshooting the prescribed ambient temperature. Beyond that a compressor will or won't be able to keep up with the heat input.
 

Online Brewing Supplies

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Got to be better than frozen milk containers ??
But not as good as a commercial cool room ??
Ye gets whats ye payes for, right ?
Arrr :D
Nev
 

dougsbrew

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i found this linky - http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1936626
quite a few talk about the icing up being a problem.
and some even talk about the type of gas.
so i was thinking of making a cold room from 2 cheap bar fridges.
would i be better using a spiit or window jobby?
 

Beerisyummy

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I'll butt out now and let the fridgies chime in but a big draw card for any coolroom will be a strong fan inside the unit. This is also true for any decent AC unit or commercial refridgeration unit.
No point in the evaporator getting cold if you can't transfer the cold air. This is something ACs and commercial coolroom units do.
 

stux

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dougsbrew said:
im having trouble swallowing his stats..
on a 43degree day he reckons the aircon only ran for 30 minutes of the day..
i think he is fudging the figures.
it looks like it does work though..
He does use 4" of insulation
 

Ducatiboy stu

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Yes you can use an aircon unit. The trick is to try to get the shed/room airtight. In mine I had an old window rattler to cool the room. The room was app 3x5mtrs.
Basically i removed its internal thermostat and replaced it with an adjustable type mounted external from the unit. I could vary the temp easly, but it could only get to about 13*c then the unit would ice up and prevent cold air from blown out.
Newer aircon may be a bit more difficult to install externall thermostats due to the electronics.

You cant simple plug the aircon into a fridgemate unit either as it will only cool down to the aircons temp setting.
 

Airgead

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I have some similar plans...

I have an ancient window mount aircon that I have been saving for use in a coolroom. The plan is to have a small space (about 2mx1.5) insulated with 10cm rigid foam insulation on top of thick ceiling bats and a layer of reflective foil on all 6 sides. The aircon is sized for a large bedroom so it should be more than enough for a small space.Particularly with that much insulation. Once its down to temp it should hold pretty steady.

Should be an easy fit as its ancient enough that the lowest setting on the thermostat just means on all the time rather than any target temp. All I should need to do is turn it to ois fully on setting and plug it into a fridgemate.

I'll split the space in 2 with an insulated panel and a thermostatically controlled fan. One will be for kegs and be kept at serving temp. This will be the one where the aircon is fitted. The other will tap off cold air as needed to maintain it at about 14c for cool storage of wine/fruit/etc.

I may even get fancy and make two fermentation chambers off the side with thermostatically controlled fans to tap off enough cold air to keep them at fermentation temp.

Lagering I'll still do in my old chest freezer.

If the aircon doesn't work I might investigate a proper coolroom chiller. But the thing's lying there doing nothing so I might as well have a go.

Cheers
Dave
 

silvana

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This is something I came across awhile ago.

http://www.storeitcold.com/

Not the cheapest option. I would love a set up with this to cold store all my bottles and excess kegs.

No afiliation etc etc, never used one either
 

Airgead

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If you have an old air conditioner without a Digital display, the
CoolBot won't work for you. Almost all "Name brand" manufacturers have
moved to digital controls by now. Frigidaire still has a couple
knob-type models out there, but so far as we know, LG, Samsung and
Toshiba and Kenmore have all upgraded by now
Bummer.The one I have is too old for digital displays. It has a knob and a switch.

Otherwise that looked like something worth looking at.
 
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