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Old 07-27-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
craig_reed
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Default Help on Fermentation Chamber

So I have this fridge, which is perfect to use as a fermentation chamber, but right now I am just using it as my homebrew beer fridge.

I am wondering if I can hook up a temperature control to make it stay at around 68 degrees? When I turn it all the way up (highest temp) it only gets to about 45 degrees or so?

A full fermenter with airlock fits in this baby perfect, all I have to do is remove the shelves!

So how do I hook it up to HEAT to 68 degrees or so at a constant temp?



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Old 07-27-2011, 03:50 PM   #2
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Yup....controllers like the Johnson Analogue Controller control the temps by only providing power to the unit when it needs to cool, not by actually controlling the internal thermostat. So set your fridge to whatever setting you want, plug the fridge into the controller, and it is only going to supply power to it and thereby kick on the compresser when it needs to cool it down to 68.

(http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/fermentation-temperature-control/johnson-refrigerator-thermostat.html)



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Old 07-27-2011, 04:04 PM   #3
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So it doesn't matter what setting I put the fridge on, it will essentially warm up to ambient temperature, and then when it passes 68 degrees, it will kick start the fridge to cool it down to 68?

It has been hotter than normal in my house, and my ferms have been fluctuating from 70-76 degrees, so I want a lot more control. Keeping it in the 68-70 degee would be perfect.

Also, I am doing the Requiem Raspberry recipe on here, and was thinking I could cold crash it in this fridge as well. How long do you usually cold crash for? I still have to rack to secondary on top of the raspberries, and didn't know if you cold crash in the primary or secondary?

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Old 07-27-2011, 05:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
So it doesn't matter what setting I put the fridge on, it will essentially warm up to ambient temperature, and then when it passes 68 degrees, it will kick start the fridge to cool it down to 68?
Exactly.

Quote:
cold crash in the primary or secondary?
I assume the cold crash is to keep the sweetness of the berries? Cold crashing stops fermentation, so you probably wouldn't cold crash until after you've carbonated. I would assume the idea is to only 1/2 way ferment out the berries in the secondary, then bottle to keep the sweetness, but in that case you'd need to very carefully monitor the carbonation by opening one every day or two after about 5-6 days, then cold crash the whole batch in bottles once it reaches your desired carbonation. That way you keep the ferementable sugars and sweetness of the berries in the beer. BUT you have to really monitor it, or you'll get multiple bottle bombs and overcarbonated beer.

Can you point to the exact recipe you're following, and I can confirm that this is the idea, but sounds like it.
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig_reed View Post
So it doesn't matter what setting I put the fridge on, it will essentially warm up to ambient temperature, and then when it passes 68 degrees, it will kick start the fridge to cool it down to 68?
If/when you used a external controller, put the fridge thermostat on its coldest setting. I bring this up because you are talking about cold crashing with this unit. Where the fridge thermostat is set won't really matter for fermentation (60-70F), but it might for cold crashing. You don't want to try and cold crash to 38F using the external thermostat only to have the internal thermostat kick the compressor off at 45F
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:40 PM   #6
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Recipe Type: Extract
Yeast: Nottingham Ale Yeast
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.054
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60

8 lbs Light LME
12.8 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L
2.4 oz Roasted Barley
1.00 oz Northern Brewer
0.50 oz Cascade
0.50 oz Cascade
40.00 oz Fresh Raspberries

Wyeast 1028

OG 1.054

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Old 07-27-2011, 06:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by broadbill View Post
If/when you used a external controller, put the fridge thermostat on its coldest setting. I bring this up because you are talking about cold crashing with this unit. Where the fridge thermostat is set won't really matter for fermentation (60-70F), but it might for cold crashing. You don't want to try and cold crash to 38F using the external thermostat only to have the internal thermostat kick the compressor off at 45F
Awesome, thanks for that tip! That helps! It seems like the external temp controller is pretty damn easy to use. Plug it to the wall, plug the fridge into it and set your temp level and your set?
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:52 PM   #8
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Yeah, I can't see any reason to cold crash this recipe unless you want to keep some of the residual sweetness from the berries. I personally wouldn't do it at all. More trouble than it's worth.

The flavor of the berries is going to come through in the beer either way, though you may have to wait a few weeks or even months for it to meld like you like it.

I would just rack on top of the berries in secondary, let it completely ferment out, then bottle as normal, including priming sugar for carbonation. The berry flavor is going to seem somewhat weak at first, but 4-6 weeks after bottling, it'll start to become more prominent.

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Old 07-27-2011, 06:56 PM   #9
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@Topher.. great thanks for your input and looking it over.

First time really working with fruit, only other thing similar is my pumpkin ale. Figured I'll leave this beer in the primary for 2 weeks, secondary for 3 weeks and bottle.



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