Author Topic: Freezer/Refrigerator?  (Read 12519 times)

Offline Berkyjay

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Freezer/Refrigerator?
« on: August 18, 2009, 08:12:40 PM »
I've been looking for a inexpensive solution to control my fermentation temp and get close to freezing temps when needed.  I have been looking into some inexpensive chest freezers ($200-300) but I am unsure as to how high they can go temp wise.  So are there any suggestions?

Thanks

Offline sickbrew

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 09:58:25 AM »
In my opinion, chest freezers are the way to go.  For about $55 bucks you can get a reregulator to set the temp of your freezer to whatever you want. I've been using one for about a year now and I'm going to get a 2nd setup for lagering.

There are other options, but this is really a no brainer.  Just find a functioning chest freezer, plug it in to your new tool and set the temp.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=4230

cheers

Offline stadelman

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2009, 12:21:35 PM »
I second the freezer comment.

I'll add two things.

1.  I would save a bit more and get a digital controller.  I started out with an analog controller and replaced it with a digital.  I like the ability to precisely change the temperature.  When I want to bottle off of a keg, I set the controller to a differential of 1 degree and chill the freezer down to 32 or a bit below.  I get very minimal foaming this way.  I've also heard that the analog probes are a bit more prone to damage, although I didn't experience the problem myself.

2.  I initially had condensation build up issues.  Get one of these http://www.amazon.com/Eva-dry-EDV-E-500-Renewable-Wireless-Dehumidifer/dp/B000H0XFD2  It's reusable and it works great.  Make sure and get this model.  They make a smaller one that is much less useful.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2009, 12:41:09 PM »
I like my small chest freezer, and use the Johnson digital thermo controller.  I hard-wired a 3-inch PC cooling fan to a cell-phone charger and put the fan on the little shelf inside the freezer to keep the air moving and spread the cooling around.  And a small dispenser of Damp-Rid absorbs the excess moisture/condensation inside the box.  
« Last Edit: August 20, 2009, 03:09:13 PM by MaltLicker »

Mij

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2009, 08:54:42 PM »
Ok,
Slight voice of dissension here...  I have a chest freezer that I use for lagering/storing/dispensing all my corny kegs (around 35*F or so) - wonderful.

However, I use a full size fridge for fermentation.
The primary reason is that I have 8 corny kegs in my chest freezer and I'd sure hate to "waste" a lot of that space on a single fermentation vessel.
The second reason is that I run my ales around 68*F and lagers around 49*F, the fridge works great at that temp range.  IMHO, a chest freezer/fridge operates better when it has a chance to run at it's "optimal" temp range.
The third reason is that I have my fridge in the garage, which means that during the winter I have to actually "add heat" (40 watt light bulb under a stainless pot - minimize light) to the fridge.  Since I have the space of the fridge dedicated to that purpose, it's really easy to get the temp in the right range.

No question that a chest freezer would work just fine - my biggest downside is the "wasted" space.

Mij

Offline stadelman

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2009, 07:23:57 AM »
That sounds great.

I have a similar setup, except I have two chest freezers, 1 for serving and 1 for fermentation. 

The biggest downside I can see for using a chest freezer for fermentation is having to lift the carboy/fermenter into the unit.  It seems that a frig would be a bit more convenient this way.  Also, if you're ever planning on moving to a conical a frig seems like the way to go.  Looking back on it, I would have probably gone with a fridge for fermentation.  Oh well, we can always use the deep freeze for actually freezing things.

Mij

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2009, 08:20:16 AM »
Sorry, I did forget the most important part...

Temp control - I have the digital for both as they let you get to the "right" temp +/- 1 degree and keeps it right there.  However, if cost is a concern - go with the analog and tune it the best you can.

I'd also suggest you get the temp control BEFORE you pick up your fridge/freezer.  You can almost always find old freezer/fridge's around town for CHEAP - but you'll never find a temp control.

I've tried manually "adjusting" a fridge enough times to freeze a corny :)  Once I got the Johnson digital controls, my fermentations have always been very well fermented (I get to my FG every time - that's the best part)

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2009, 03:14:59 PM »
The biggest downside I can see for using a chest freezer for fermentation is having to lift the carboy/fermenter into the unit.  It seems that a frig would be a bit more convenient this way. 

The nylon webbing "Brew Haulers" are handy for lifting carboys safely.  The main con of the vertical fridge is a lot of cool air falls out when you open the door, but that's not a huge negative no more than one is usually in there.   

Offline Berkyjay

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 01:43:16 AM »
In my opinion, chest freezers are the way to go.  For about $55 bucks you can get a reregulator to set the temp of your freezer to whatever you want. I've been using one for about a year now and I'm going to get a 2nd setup for lagering.

There are other options, but this is really a no brainer.  Just find a functioning chest freezer, plug it in to your new tool and set the temp.

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=4230

cheers

Nice, I never even thought of that.  Thanks!

Offline baj475

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2009, 12:25:48 PM »
I have two freezers, a 24cf chest and a 13.7cf upright.  Both use Ranco 2 stage digital controllers, because I also have them in my garage and in the winter I have to heat them to maintain fermentation temperatures.  Use of the upright was dictated because I have a 14.5 gallon conical and it is too tall to fit in a chest freezer.  Moisture is not as much of a problem with an upright but you will loose more cold air when opening and closing it.  To me, the main advantage of residential freezers over refrigerators is that they have more usable space when they are being used for fermentation and lagering.  Unless I can find a tremendous deal on an upright commercial refrigerator/freezer combination, my next freezer will be a 20.5cf upright (will hold four 6-7 gallon buckets or carboys or one 27 or 42 gallon conical)   If you go for and upright freezer, you will need a frost free style.  The shelves in a manual defrost upright cannot be removed without destroying the freezer.

Offline Berkyjay

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 01:10:54 AM »
I like my small chest freezer, and use the Johnson digital thermo controller.  I hard-wired a 3-inch PC cooling fan to a cell-phone charger and put the fan on the little shelf inside the freezer to keep the air moving and spread the cooling around.  And a small dispenser of Damp-Rid absorbs the excess moisture/condensation inside the box.  

I have a question for you.  What brand and size is that chest freezer of yours?  I've been looking at a Frigidaire and I am not sure that there is room enough in the 7cubicFoot one I am looking at.  I noticed your doesn't have a full bench inside where as the Frigidaire does.

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2009, 07:22:50 PM »
Whirlpool from Lowe's.  Maybe $298 at the highest.  I checked and Lowes online is all Frigidaire now.  I think it was 7.8 feet.

Offline Berkyjay

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2009, 09:27:49 PM »
Whirlpool from Lowe's.  Maybe $298 at the highest.  I checked and Lowes online is all Frigidaire now.  I think it was 7.8 feet.

Awesome, that is great information.  And I can confirm that 2 carboys can fit into the 7.8ft model via your picture.

Thanks!!

Offline MaltLicker

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Re: Freezer/Refrigerator?
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2009, 11:30:44 AM »
The small carboy is 3-gallons that I use for 2ndary, but two regular carboys will fit.  I doubt all three would.

 

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