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Old 05-04-2010, 08:29 AM   #1
steelersrbrun
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Default Fridge/freezer help!

I will FINALLY be brewing my first batch this weekend. Two years of reading, watching, saving and researching all come together very soon. Cannot wait. All my supplies are on the way. I ordered a Analog Refrigerator Thermostat Control and now I need to get a fridge or freezer to hook it up to. I will have 1 5gal carboy(strong belgian) in there for a year+ and would like to be able to have 2 -3 more for other batches that will rotate more frequently. My question is what size fridge/freezer should this NEWB be looking for. Please keep cost in mind. I really appreciate any and all input.

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Old 05-04-2010, 10:38 AM   #2
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You have to be careful when choosing your fridge as the placement of the compressor and temperature control unit varies in each design. The way I did it was to sit my cornys on a sheet of paper and draw around the bases of them so that I got a floorplan of the space needed. I then went to a few electrical supply stores with my floorplan in hand and literally opened up the fridges to see if the floorplan would fit.

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Old 05-04-2010, 11:45 AM   #3
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Don't forget about the height of the carboys with airlocks attached. I have 3 fridges (2 from craiglist for $75 total, one donated) ranging in ages and size. The newest fridge is also the largest @14.13 cu ft(fresh food section)...it will fit 2 carboys easy, sqeezing a third might require some modification. It's the standard freezer on top style.

My kegerator has 9.63cu ft and fits 2 carboys w/modification (all the drawers taken out and wooden shelf placed at the bottom to level it out).

You might consider building a fermentation chamber onto a fridge by taking off the door and building an "addition" straight out using plywood and insulation. I have not tried this (yet) but it should allow you to purchase a smaller fridge and use $$ saved to purchase materials...just a thought, but WAY more involved.

Good luck which ever you choose...peruse craigslist too...always lots of good working fridges/freezers out there!

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Old 05-04-2010, 11:53 AM   #4
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appreciate it....I will get my "blueprint" together and go do some browsing.

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Old 05-04-2010, 11:54 AM   #5
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sorry to sorta hijack...

I guess I am in the same boat. I am looking for the smallest possible chest freezer for fermentation of 2 carboys. I am thinking that I might be able to get away with a 7.0 or 7.2 but I was hoping for some confirmation.

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Old 05-04-2010, 12:01 PM   #6
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@ halite - I will make a foot print and try some shopping.

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@ shaggyt - I was hoping to get away with one fridge but If I brew as much as I think I will I will need plenty of space to fermemt.

That Fermentation Chamber sounds like and interesting idea....I wounder if it would work?? I don't mind the labor to save the space and money. Has anyone every built one?

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Old 05-04-2010, 12:34 PM   #7
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http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/sizing-your-chest-freezer-corny-kegs-75449/
This is a great thread, just make circles for your carboys instead of kegs, or might I suggest kegs for your long term aging because they have a smaller footprint, hold carbonation, can be found cheap and have no light issues. Craigslist is a perfect place to find a fridge or freezer. I just bought a fridge from a craigslist ad, the guy was a brewer so he already put a shelf in the bottom. Fits 2 6 gallon carboys, or a carboy and 2 cornys. It was $30. When I brought it home my neighbor told me I could have their old one, they were buying a new one. Ask you neighbors, look on craigslist and save that dough for more ingredients.
Rather than build a fermentation cabinet why not use a second fridge/freezer for the aging and/or serving and keep the other free for primary fermentation where you can dial in the temp for different batches and cold crashing, etc?
My method is primary for about 2-3 weeks, sometimes cold crash and then I keg and store either refrigerated or room temp for another week or longer and then on the gas for carbonation in the kegerator for 2 weeks, and this all depends on the style of the beer, the season, and my space available. I have a fermentation fridge and a 6 tap freezer kegerator. IPA's get to the keg quicker, my Imperial Stouts hang out at room temp for months.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendavanza View Post
Rather than build a fermentation cabinet why not use a second fridge/freezer for the aging and/or serving and keep the other free for primary fermentation where you can dial in the temp for different batches and cold crashing, etc?
This is a great point. I don't use my fridges to ferment in (yet) due to the missing temp control, but I DO crash cool in them...very important step for those yeasts that don't flocculate well or for dry hopping w/o a bag. Also, say you want two different fermentation temps, then what.

I haven't seen a chamber constructed, but my tastes/brews are all ales, so the 60-70 degree range is fine (basement). Eventually I will make one to better control fermentation temps/results, for right now, I am at the mercy of mother nature (if I need the AC on, is gets cold down there).
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Old 05-17-2010, 05:06 PM   #9
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Being in FL a fridge for fermentation is pretty essential. I have the fridge set up which I lucked into getting for free, using it for primary and secondary. I'm still looking for a chest freezer so I can use it for primary and eventually kegerator and will use the fridge for cold crashing and bottle conditioning. Just brewed my first batch yesterday and now it sits at a perfect 68 degrees....wish me lick. Prost!

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