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Small Glycol Setup

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We are planning to add a single or multiple small fermenters for test recipes that we want to temperature control. We currently have a few 30G Speidel Plastic Fermenters we may use (https://www.morebeer.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-120l-317-gal.html) -- any thoughts on the cheapest way to get temperature control? We want to keep it relatively cool for a fruit wine mash. Should we be looking at wrapping in pex with insulation or rigging up some form of drop in wort cooler with a glyocol system? Any advice appreciated! 

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Probably be cheaper finding a walk in cooler and putting the fermenter into it.

Like Paul said, if you have cooold well water, you could do it that way.

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The plastic wall of the PEX combined with the plastic wall of the fermenter, along with the huge air gaps you'll have from wrapping the tubing, means the cooling is going to be fairly ineffective.

If your ambient temperature is lower than the fermenter target temperature, you might be able to get equally as effective cooling using fans.  If not, and if you have floor drains, just spray water directly on the walls of the fermenter (yes, wet and messy, but likely highly effective and dirt cheap).  We're talking 30 gallons here, it's not major BTUs.

Or ... Troll Craigslist for free refrigerators or drop-in freezers.  Chest-style freezers are dirt cheap and more than effective for a tiny fermenter like that.

Or ... You could probably find a commercial restaurant fridge that can easily fit the fermenters, most of these are very easily temperature controlled.  You get the benefit of pretty stainless.  However, you don't get individual fermenter control this way.  However, with a 30g fermentation, the surface area to volume ratio is very high, so passive cooling is much more easily accomplished than with a 1000g ferment.  Chest-style freezers are dirt cheap and more than effective, again very easily temperature controlled.

Or ... Drill and bulkhead your fermenters, add internal cooling coils, and just use water.  Realize that the internal bulkheads will not likely be "ideally" sanitary.

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For a 1bbl fermenter, you are talking about 60BTU/hr of cooling demand.  Realistically, this is like 1-2 gallons of water per hour if your tap is cool enough.

 

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