First a small gloat, I picked up a 15cf upright freezer for $20 locally and found a 0-100dF temp controller on Ebay for $25 shipped. My goal is to try a Lager for my 3rd ever extract batch and although my garage does get down into the upper 40's starting in late November, I wanted to get started earlier and leave less to chance.
My first problem is that the shelves are also the cooling coils and there is not enough room between them to fit my fermenter. The supply lines run down the back corner of the freezer, hits a shelf location, zig zags around and then back to the corner to go down to the next shelf. I THINK I can simply bend a shelf to an upright position hopefully without cracking the line. Has anyone pulled this off?
I don't suspect any problems with a primary ferment temp of 55, then a lagering at 33 using this freezer and controller. The primary ferment will happen when my garage is still in the 50's so the compressor will hardly run. Then when it's time to lager, ambient will be down in the 40's, again saving energy nicely. That works well for lager batch one. However, I'd like to go with at least a second batch this season and need to figure out how to maintain a 55dF primary ferment while my 1st batch is lagering at 33.
Here's my idea so please provide feedback. I have some 1/2" thick rigid foil-faced foam insulation that I can use to build a fermenting box. If I put this in my 40-50 degree garage, all I need to do is apply a small amount of heat to the box when necessary to bring it up to 52ish. I'm thinking of two ways to do this.
1. I have an old electronic thermostat that has a "heat on" set temp down to 50dF. I figured I could run a 3" flex duct from my the adjacent heated room of the house and put a 3" 12vDC fan inline which is run off the thermostat. I like this idea because I wouldn't have to buy another temp controller.
2. Buy a temp controller (close on fall, opposite of a fridge controller) and use a cheap 120v heat source like a heating pad, tiny space heater, or blow dryer.
So, whaddya think?