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Thread: DIY cold room - is it worth it?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Dunedin FL
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    49

    DIY cold room - is it worth it?

    First, I'm capable of building a room to code. And anything else needed to produce a killer cold room. I'm looking at about 8x14' cold room. I need any and all advice. This is for a small 2bbl taproom only. Think this size will work?

    What’s the biggest issues with your cold room? Would you build it different today?

    Is DYI cold room cheaper and better than buying it? Again, I have the time and skills to build whatever. Just need to make the material list and plans.

    Do you have an insulated floor? Do you have a drain? I'm on concrete. Plan is to build a floor and add a drain that just spills out to the floor where I have a flor drain. Or just build the room with no flooring or drain?

    I'm looking at a 24k BTU 220v AC unit for cooling. Does this need to be vented out? Is there a better lower cost solution to cool the room?

    What are my options for using the cold room to chill fermenters?

    Thank you very much. I def need words of wisdom.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Posts
    101
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    First, I'm capable of building a room to code. And anything else needed to produce a killer cold room. I'm looking at about 8x14' cold room. I need any and all advice. This is for a small 2bbl taproom only. Think this size will work?

    What’s the biggest issues with your cold room? Would you build it different today?

    Is DYI cold room cheaper and better than buying it? Again, I have the time and skills to build whatever. Just need to make the material list and plans.

    Do you have an insulated floor? Do you have a drain? I'm on concrete. Plan is to build a floor and add a drain that just spills out to the floor where I have a flor drain. Or just build the room with no flooring or drain?

    I'm looking at a 24k BTU 220v AC unit for cooling. Does this need to be vented out? Is there a better lower cost solution to cool the room?

    What are my options for using the cold room to chill fermenters?

    Thank you very much. I def need words of wisdom.
    We have a 10x12 cold room, used panels, 24K BTU AC with a cool bot. It sits on the concrete. It keeps the room at 39F. Its cheap, efficient, and works for our needs. I'm not sure it will be sufficient for Florida weather though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Dunedin FL
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    49
    Quote Originally Posted by AmbrosiaOrchard View Post
    We have a 10x12 cold room, used panels, 24K BTU AC with a cool bot. It sits on the concrete. It keeps the room at 39F. Its cheap, efficient, and works for our needs. I'm not sure it will be sufficient for Florida weather though.
    Thank you AO. What size system are you supporting in the 10x12? Yes its still hot here. But the AC in the buildung is new. I think a floor is going to be needed.

    Is your AC unit vented outside? or just into the brewery?
    Last edited by Jay Newbie; 10-22-2019 at 01:01 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Dunedin FL
    Posts
    49
    After talking with CoolBot I will be building directly on the concrete floor. Although now I won't be able to have a drain inside. I'll have the floor drain outside if a keg line ever lets go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Polson, Montana, USA
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    1,281
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    After talking with CoolBot I will be building directly on the concrete floor. Although now I won't be able to have a drain inside. I'll have the floor drain outside if a keg line ever lets go.
    Hi Jay,
    I definitely wish we would have put in a floor drain. We did, though, build the door and doorway large enough to move full pallets in and out which is a terrific labor saver. I would also liked to have installed a controlled, louvre system to bring in cold, winter air to reduce energy usage as my brewery is in northwestern Montana.
    Look toward your future and overbuild your cold room. So much easier to build out bigger than you need right now than to go through the addition headache when your facility is crying for more capacity.

    Prost!
    Dave
    Glacier Brewing Company
    406-883-2595
    glacierbrewing@bresnan.net

    "who said what now?"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Dunedin FL
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    49
    Quote Originally Posted by GlacierBrewing View Post
    Hi Jay,
    I definitely wish we would have put in a floor drain. We did, though, build the door and doorway large enough to move full pallets in and out which is a terrific labor saver. I would also liked to have installed a controlled, louvre system to bring in cold, winter air to reduce energy usage as my brewery is in northwestern Montana.
    Look toward your future and overbuild your cold room. So much easier to build out bigger than you need right now than to go through the addition headache when your facility is crying for more capacity.

    Prost!
    Dave
    Thx Dave

    Here in FL we one one season lol
    For this step (taproom only sales) I'm pretty much maxing out what this 1200 foot space can handle. The area for the cooler is what I'm questioning now. Everyone i've spoken to says when in question, GO BIGGER! Seems no one I talk to is satified with the cold room space and want more. I ws thinking an 8x10. Now I'm thinking 8x16'.


    To anyone, how big is your cold room and how many kegs to you store at max?
    Last edited by Jay Newbie; 10-23-2019 at 07:51 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Posts
    101
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    Thx Dave

    Here in FL we one one season lol
    For this step (taproom only sales) I'm pretty much maxing out what this 1200 foot space can handle. The area for the cooler is what I'm questioning now. Everyone i've spoken to says when in question, GO BIGGER! Seems no one I talk to is satified with the cold room space and want more. I ws thinking an 8x10. Now I'm thinking 8x16'.


    To anyone, how big is your cold room and how many kegs to you store at max?
    In our 10x12 we have (qty 40) - 50 liter kegs in there right now. plus 3 stacks of cases of cans. Still have room for the kegs for the taps, a couple racks, apples crates, and walking room, and a 2bbl and 4bbl tank.

    It seems some folks also have unreasonable amounts of space and money, so take that into account as well. I was at 7 Seas in Tacoma and the amount of unused space in that place is unreal. The Walk in was larger than it needed to be and the tap system was complicated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    6
    I have Built a DIY cold room before. It had poly insulation between vapor barriers on both sides of the 6 inch studs.(good vapor barriers on both sides is going to be essential in Florida so you don't get water condensing in between the walls.
    Using insulation like spray foam would have major benefits because there's no layers or air gap for water to condense.

    We used 2-10000 btu air conditioners in ours - we liked two for redundancy purposes because sometimes one would freeze up. We did not use cool bots, instead we wired ranco temp controllers directly to the compressor power wire.

    It is a 10x12 cooler which worked fine for a 600 BBL per year brewery. It never got quite as cold as a traditional cooler heat exchanger can without freezing up. ( about 37 degrees was the minimum) I'd rather have beers coming out at 35 in the summer just because they warm up so quickly on a patio.

    I wouldn't build one again unless I was very strapped for cash.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,988
    Look into locally sourcing a used walk-in cooler. I think we got our last one for the cost of taking it apart and hauling it off.

    Yes, you can build your own. But you can most likely buy a used set of panels and door for less, and it will perform better. Getting the walls 100% air-tight is critical, especially in a tropical environment. This isn't easy. Sprayed-in-place foam would be the best option, and for the cost of that, you can buy a new walk-in.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    37
    We built our own cold room, and I like it, and it has generally been worth it. Notes on ours:
    1. A little bit under 18'x20'. It was built in our basement, so custom building it let us utilize some oddly shaped spaces.
    2. Insulated floor on top of concert slab. No floor drain.
    3. We can fit about 180 kegs in there, 130 1/2bbl, 48 50L, a smattering of 1/4 and 1/6bbl. Kegs are stacked 2 high. Taps are directly above the cooler, lines run up with fans blowing cold air along the lines. No serving tanks or fermenters in there, so we usually don't have big cleaning messes that might need a floor drain, nothing we can't clean up with a towel (so far, knock on wood). We are a 7 bbl brewpub, about 400 bbls a year, nearly all sold through our taproom.
    4. We use 2 24k BTU ACs with coolbots. These vent into the rest of the basement, and haven't had any issues with heat from them. Having 2 units lets one limp along if we have to repair/replace the other.
    5. 6 inch thick walls, 2 inch foam with vapor barrier on it, 4 inches rock wool insulation.

    The main reasons we built our own cold room were lower costs as a start up, and installing in a oddly shaped custom space in the basement. A few years later when we needed to add a dedicated walk-in cooler for the kitchen, which was going go be tacked on to the outside of the building, we just bought a pre-fab unit. It wasn't worth it to build our own for a simple walk in.

    Good luck.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Dunedin FL
    Posts
    49
    Thx guys. I'm settling on a 8x12.

    I'm hunting but not finding anything used worth buyng never mind for free. Maybe because FL only has one season lol

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Nashville
    Posts
    863
    Watch out putting a floor drain inside your keg cooler. I had a plumbing inspector require a backflow preventer on a floor drain in our cooler, because it was a "food-storage unit" and we couldn't risk the drain backing up.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    First, I'm capable of building a room to code. And anything else needed to produce a killer cold room. I'm looking at about 8x14' cold room. I need any and all advice. This is for a small 2bbl taproom only. Think this size will work?

    What’s the biggest issues with your cold room? Would you build it different today?

    Is DYI cold room cheaper and better than buying it? Again, I have the time and skills to build whatever. Just need to make the material list and plans.

    Do you have an insulated floor? Do you have a drain? I'm on concrete. Plan is to build a floor and add a drain that just spills out to the floor where I have a flor drain. Or just build the room with no flooring or drain?

    I'm looking at a 24k BTU 220v AC unit for cooling. Does this need to be vented out? Is there a better lower cost solution to cool the room?

    What are my options for using the cold room to chill fermenters?

    Thank you very much. I def need words of wisdom.
    Linus Hall
    Yazoo Brewing
    Nashville, TN
    [url]www.yazoobrew.com[/url]

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