Installing a portable fermentation temperature control unit
For most styles of beer, a chilling system is important for producing a great tasting beverage. In fact, aside from proper sanitation, temperature control is arguably the single most important criteria for brewing a fantastic product. Without temperature control, fermentation temperatures can swing wildly causing a feeding frenzy that leaves a lot of off notes that are hard (or impossible) for the yeast to later clean up.
The least expensive means for chilling wort post boil is normally municipal or well water. But for various reasons (e.g. the water isn't cold enough or not in sufficient supply) a chiller is useful for controlling temperature during fermentation. A large commercial chiller can often be large and bulky, needing a permanent installation which can cost a lot of money and, if the space is small, get in the way.
Our Water Chillers are a great solution for most temperature control needs. Since they use a water bath instead of glycol they are much less costly, messy and can be easily interchanged with tap water chilling in the jacket. A Chiller can be plugged directly into an ETC (to turn the pump on/off when needed, circulating chilled water through the jacket and back to the reservoir) and one ETC and AS110 Chiller combo (or one AS200 and two ETCs for two fermenters) used for each fermenter to maintain independent conditions meeting the unique requirements in each fermenter.
Making the Chiller portable is helpful for moving it around to different fermenters on demand, or moving it out of the way when not in use. The cart we supply has a lower shelf can be used for storage of other brewing items. In the lower photo, for convenience, it is shown how the BREWHA ETC can be attached to the Chiller by a bolt inserted through a hole drilled in the wall above the water reservoir; a second bolt can be installed between the outer wall and the ETC to hold the bolt in place if the ETC is removed (or some brewers attach the ETC to the fermenter handle, or the wall).
Note: An additional benefit of having the Chiller raised, is that by keeping the top of the Chiller near the upper level of the jacket, there is a decreased likelihood of water draining out of the jacket, overfilling the Chiller reservoir and spilling onto the floor. When the Chiller pump shuts off, if air can get into the jacket (e.g. through the return hose), gravity will force the water out of the lower port in the jacket, through the hose and back into the Chiller reservoir. In all sizes of BIAC, but particularly with the 5BBL or 7BBL BIAC, the jacket volume can quickly overfill the reservoir causing a major spill on the floor. Keeping the end of the return hose fully and securely immersed in the Chiller reservoir (with the return hose clamp securing it tightly to the fermenter) will ensure air can't get into the line, causing the jacket to empty out, and raising the Chiller so it is near the level of the water in the jacket, will reduce how much of the jacket empties (the closer to the top of the jacket, the less it will empty).