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Old 08-12-2008, 10:33 AM   #1
kinnasst
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Default Got a new toy, What do i do with it?

Looking for a sanity check:

My wife and I recently renovated our kitchen. Among the many new things in our kitchen is a new fridge. The old fridge is now living in my basement, and SWMBO has said I can have it for brewing. Thus, I now have a good size fridge (21 ft3) to do with as I please. In celebration, I picked up a Johnson Controls external thermostat.

Ultimately, I'll probably turn this fridge into a kegerator, but that would severely cut into the brewing budget right now. So for the time being, this thing is going to be storage/lagering fridge. I can fit a couple of carboys in the fridge compartment, or one carboy and 2-3 cases worth of bottles, or just a whole load of bottles.

My original idea was:
1.) keep the freezer compartment at refrigerator temperature (low to mid 30's) for yeast and hops storage and
2.) keep the refigerator compartment at a slightly higher temperature (40's or 50s) depending on what I'm using it for at the time, lagering, conditioning, etc.

In pursuit of this, I put the thermocouple in the freezer compartment, and have that set at 38F. However I've got the fridge compartment hanging out at 60 F now. I can putz around with the freezer temperature controls (A-E are the settings) and the fridge temperature (1-9). But I don't know how meaningful these are with the external thermostat.

Has anyone done anything similar or have any insight? Should I have the thermocouple in the fridge compartment?

Thanks.

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Old 08-12-2008, 01:04 PM   #2
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The control shuts off power to the entire unit when it reaches the freezer temp you set, that's why most folks use a freezer for this type of thing not a frigde.

I would just use the fridge as a poor man's kegerator all you need is a keg set up with picnic tap. That way the freezer is functional too.

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Old 08-12-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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I would think for hop storage you would want to keep the freezer as a freezer and keep them bad boys below zero.

Mike

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Old 08-12-2008, 03:56 PM   #4
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It will take some time, but you could probably set the controller to keep the freezer like you want and then monkey with the controls to get the fridge where you want it. You might check online for a manual that gives a little more detail about the fridge/freezer's internal temp control system.

I think in many fridge/freezer combos the freezer is what is "actively cooled" so to speak. The fridge temperature setting just controls what is basically a vent from the freezer to the fridge; your fridge setting is really just relative to the freezer temp.

Assuming that's accurate in your case, set the freezer to its coldest setting, hook up the external controller with the thermocouple in the freezer, and let the freezer get to whichever temp you choose. Then put a thermometer in the fridge and mess with the fridge setting until you get it at the temp you want - this is the part that will take a while as you have to wait between adjustments. You'll then want to record the setting on the fridge (1-9), what fridge temp that gets you, and what the external controller is set at (since the fridge temp is relative to the freezer). If this doesn't seem to work at all, then I'm completely wrong about the design of your fridge/freezer (which is totally possible).

Again, it would be good to get more info about the internals of the fridge/freezer. Hopefully somebody around here more knowledgeable than me can add to and/or correct this. I haven't done this before, but it's what I'd try if in the same situation.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:02 PM   #5
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I'd definitely have preferred a chest freezer, but I can't argue with free.

I have kept my hops frozen thus far, but my LHBS keeps them in a fridge, so I figured that would not adversely affect shelf life too much. They are double sealed and vacuum packed.

Maybe I'll look into frozen yeast banking, and then I can at least keep to the spirit of my original idea.

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