Fermentation Chamber #1

I’ve decided that the way to go with a 1 barrel system is versatility. I want to be able to break up batches into 6 five gallon fermentations and try out broadly different techniques and ingredients post boil. I’ve almost finished a ferment chamber for 2 one barrel fermentors. Going with the Blichmann 27 gal fermentors (both with the 42 gal extensions), and using a single fermentation chamber for 2 fermentors, means a single day’s work can yield the following results:

Higher volume, all one recipe. Double batching equals 2 full barrels, and they both will ferment at the same temperature.

Medium volume, minor experimentation. One barrel batch, making 2 half barrels, perhaps making slight adjustments to one with the idea that I might notice the difference, but others likely wouldn’t, making experimentation on the fly an option, without having to re-brand a beer. Or just re-brand it if it turns out considerably unique.

Medium volume, much experimentation. One barrel batch splitting to 6 five gallon fermentations, perhaps for broadly playing with dry hop techniques or yeast strains. This will keep things interesting for those that come in for tastings, because I’ll have one keg of each variety, and will therefore be swapping out often.

Low volume, wild experimentation. Pulling out the old equipment, and doing a single batch of 5 gallons, this method would be used only for brand new, questionable brews. In other words, it would be weird enough that I wouldn’t want to waste more than $20 trying it out, in case it totally sucked.

Anyhoot, here’s the build on the ferment chamber in pictures:

Starting the first chamber next to the brew area

Had to work with the existing landscape and use the funny little stepped wall to my advantage.

Removed the door from a little fridge that someone gave to me and hacked the front lip off so that it would fit tight to the side of the chamber. This will provide cooling for the chamber.

Framed in an opening for the cooler.

On to insulation and wall coverings.

Then doors…

Doors hung.

Instead of a door handle, I used a barn door style hooks and bar, which should do a good (and cheap) job of sealing the doors tightly. The right door has a small vertical strip that over laps the left when closed, and pushes on the middle of the 2×4’s back. This, in turn, creates a wedge, sealing up amazingly well. It just needs weather stripping, paint, and a temperature controller!

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