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Old 10-24-2010, 01:16 PM   #1
rgray58
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Default Ferm frig vs. chest frzr vs. upright frzr

I have to ferment in a frig in a detached, unheated garage. I have a mid-size frig working with a dual stage Ranco and all is good EXCEPT I can only fit one batch at a time. I want to pick up a used frig/frzr that can handle two carboys at a time. The frig/frzr would sit right next to my brew kitchen countertop so no long trips carrying full bottles. I can handle full better bottles coming out of a chest frzr if needed. Which would you recommend - frig/chest frzr/upright frzr? Most people only state the outside dimensions when selling used. What minimum outside dimensions should I be looking for before making a trip to verify it will handle two carboys? Thanks.

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Old 10-24-2010, 01:47 PM   #2
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The best one to use for a fermentation chamber is a fridge. The freezers are all designed to provide temperatures below freezing and don't work very well when you are looking a ale fermentation temperatures. Also many upright freezers have the coolant lines running through each shelf. As to what you should look for in a fridge; try to avoid the side by side models. I have one and only one carboy will fit inside depth wise. I have built a set of wooden shelves so I can stack 2 carboys in my fridge.

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Old 10-24-2010, 02:15 PM   #3
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An upright freezer with adjustable shelves is going to give you the most useful space, and be the easiest to get carboys in/out of.

Chest freezers are good (what I'm using now), but lifting full carboys in/out is hard on the back.

A refrigerator will work fine, I used one for a few months, but the freezer space basically becomes useless due to unstable temps.

You can keep mugs in it, but the temp will swing from about 25°-45°. Mine usually hovered around 40°, but when you put warm carboys in the fridge, it would cause it to run more for a day or two, which caused the freezer temps to drop a lot, so not a good idea to store beer in there during this time.

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Old 10-24-2010, 02:47 PM   #4
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IMHO, an upright freezer (NOT with coolant coil shelves) and a two-stage controller is the best you can do. Run a heat rock or cheap walmart "under the desk" heater on the heating side of the controller.

As KC said, chest freezers are dime a dozen on CL but heaving the fermenters in and out sucks.

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Old 10-25-2010, 01:06 AM   #5
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Anyone have any of the 3 options that JUST fits two carboys? If so, what are the outer dimensions?

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Old 10-25-2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
As KC said, chest freezers are dime a dozen on CL but heaving the fermenters in and out sucks.
Unless you put the chest freezer on casters so you never have to lift a full fermenter. Mine is a custom weld Sanke keg and a Magic Chef 7.2 cu freezer that fits the Sanke with a Corny blow-off/top cropping device next to it on the compressor hump.

Not that I have made any other ones, but I prefer the chest freezer for ferm chambers in which everything is accessed from the top like mine (with the exception of the bottom dump which I have a tri-clamp elbow and butterfly valve... little hard to reach but not a big deal). I also like to open the lid and smell the trapped CO2 wafting up to my face, pretty easy to get a feel for the phenolics that way. Also, I can "shake" the whole chamber to help get the fermentation going faster. And, no doubt the chest freezer is more energy efficient since the cold air doesn't come tumbling out every time you open it.

Also, I just like the lower profile of the chest freezer since it's all in my living space. I have 2 ferm chambers and the same freezer as a kegerator and they don't take over my kitchen as 3 uprights would.

Inside dimensions are 17" deep and 19.75" wide to the compressor hump and another 8.5" width for the hump. Don't own carboys so haven't tried them in it.
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