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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Vissani Kegerator @ Home Depot - Thermostat question, fermentation chiller?




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Old 08-11-2008, 04:45 PM   #11
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Sounds like an exorbitant amount of money to spend on something you could build yourself. Also -- are you saying that you're EITHER going to use to control ferment temps OR to dispense? When you have a full keg, what are you going to do with the next batch that you want to ferment? Or are you just going to take your kegerator "offline" for 3 weeks while you ferment your next batch, then hook everything back up once the keg is full again????

I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here, but I bet if you go buy this thing, you'll wind up disappointed in the next year. Googling has brought up this thread, and results from the MicroMatic forum, of other disappointed users, but no reference to any manufacturer. They seem like a crock.

If you're buying it at Home Depot anyways, what about a very small chest freezer? $199, holds 3 cornies plus a CO2 tank... or if you build a collar and put the CO2 outside, you could easily hold 2 cornies plus a lagering carboy.

Edit: Don't forget that it's almost certain to come with a Sanke tap, so add the money for gas/liquid QDs too.



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Old 08-11-2008, 09:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chriso View Post
Sounds like an exorbitant amount of money to spend on something you could build yourself. Also -- are you saying that you're EITHER going to use to control ferment temps OR to dispense? When you have a full keg, what are you going to do with the next batch that you want to ferment? Or are you just going to take your kegerator "offline" for 3 weeks while you ferment your next batch, then hook everything back up once the keg is full again????

I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish here, but I bet if you go buy this thing, you'll wind up disappointed in the next year. Googling has brought up this thread, and results from the MicroMatic forum, of other disappointed users, but no reference to any manufacturer. They seem like a crock.

If you're buying it at Home Depot anyways, what about a very small chest freezer? $199, holds 3 cornies plus a CO2 tank... or if you build a collar and put the CO2 outside, you could easily hold 2 cornies plus a lagering carboy.

Edit: Don't forget that it's almost certain to come with a Sanke tap, so add the money for gas/liquid QDs too.
I thought $360 on a brand new kegerator was actually a pretty good deal. Came with the regulators, the CO2 tank, the lines... everything. Most people here buy the $209 fridge at Best Buy and spend an additional $300+ for the kegging setup. Granted my fridge didn't come with a corny, but that only cost me $25.... the gas in and out connectors were given to me by a friend at the home brew shop.

A chest freezer would not have worked because of space concerns. I barely had room for this thing, a freezer would have been way too big.

You got it right. I don't have more than one batch going at a time, so I won't start another batch until my current batch is already gone. I just don't have enough time or money to dedicate to multiple brew sessions per month, so this will work out just fine for the time being.

Yeah, the lack of "Manufacturer" did concern me as well, but I do have a warranty on it just in case anything were to go wrong.


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Old 08-11-2008, 09:36 PM   #13
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Did not notice CO2 + regulator included in the OP, sorry! That makes it a slightly better deal. Please disregard my prev remark. Also, I realize re: space concerns -- the specific freezer I was referring to is literally the size of the average mini-fridge.

I guess if it fits how you brew, then power to 'ya. By no means am I trying to come across as condescending, and sorry if I did.

It says something when even 10 cornies isn't "enough" for me. We each brew a little differently, that's what makes it so special

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Old 08-12-2008, 04:55 PM   #14
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Well I ran my experiment again, this time with a couple of beers in the kegerator. I turned the thermostat to the coldest setting and let it sit overnight.

It got the beers down to 43/44 degrees, which is well above the advertised 36 degrees. Should I be concerned? I spoke to the Home Depot salesman and she told me I could return the fridge even without the original box.

Have any of you guys with the Sanyos tested the lowest temperature? What temperature are these fridges capable of?

Also, if I return this fridge and get a chest freezer, I already have the ranco controller, but since chest freezers have a lower temperature range, will it hurt the compressor if it constantly turns on and off if I wanted to set the temperature a little higher?

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Old 08-12-2008, 05:28 PM   #15
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I don't know re: the Sanyo, so I'll let someone with more experience step in there.... to my knowledge a Sanyo can freeze the contents of a Corny keg if turned too low... but as far as the chest freezer....

The compressor's not going to "constantly turn on and off" because chest freezers are well-insulated, and if you open the lid, the cold doesn't "sink" out the door like on a vertically-oriented fridge. Most users with chest freezers and a Ranco controller report that the compressor only runs for ~5-10 minutes every hour.

To ensure this, make sure you don't have your trim setting set too low on the Ranco (sorry I don't know the actual name of this setting. The differential, the trip, whatever.)... allow 3-4 degrees of temp swing before the temp controller powers the freezer on.

All in all, chest freezers (even the small $200 ones) are very efficient, and a good/easy way to approach a kegerator. Many people like the added bonus of not having to drill anything permanent - that is to say, if you decide you want it to be a chest freezer again for frozen foods, you remove your wood 2x4 collar, you mount the lid hinges back in their original holes, and you unplug it from the Ranco. Voila!

And, yes, I'd be worried if it could only cool a couple of beers to 43-44*F at max setting. I know, that's about the optimum temperature to DRINK beer at... but it means that the compressor is/should be working overtime to get them to that point. Net result is a prematurely failed compressor.

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Old 08-12-2008, 06:56 PM   #16
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Alright, I'm convinced.

What's a good brand for chest freezers, and do you have a good site for the build? How hard is it to build?

What size do you think I will need? It would be cool if it would fit 2 corny's when I'm kegging. And then when I'm using it as a chamber, one 6.5 gallon carboy

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:21 PM   #17
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Wow... just watched Bobby M's kegerator conversion video, and that is a bit above what I would be able to do, considering I have no tools and limited know-how. Is there an easier way to build these?

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:31 PM   #18
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Freezer itself:
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100566683&N=10000003+9 0401+525328
or
http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=100598976&N=10000003+9 0401+525328
are the ones I was thinking about. Both are about 5 cu ft, and very inexpensive ($200). I *THINK* -- and I HIGHLY recommend you take cardboard cutouts of a cornie and a carboy with you to the store -- that you could fit 2 cornies and a carboy at the same time in either of these models. At MINIMUM you could store 2 cornies or a carboy, alternating.

How to build: Haven't done it yet personally, as I had a full size side-by-side fridge already in my possession. But basically it's 4 pieces of lumber screwed/glued/whatever together. Then, a 7/8" hole drilled through it (the wood) for your shank.
You might be able to get a local handyman to build the collar for you in exchange for a 6-pack of beer. It's not a difficult project for someone with the tools, maybe 30 minutes tops?
You don't have to attach it to the lid like Bobby_M did, you can also attach it to the freezer itself.

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Old 08-12-2008, 09:43 PM   #19
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Thanks Chriso. My name is Chris Olson.... I could be Chriso too?

Anyway, I like the 5.5 size of the Magic Chef, but I just found out that Magic Chef makes the Vissani kegerator, and I currently do not have a ton of confidence behind that brand. The GE one looks nice, but I'll definitely have to see what will fit. If I have to alternate, that's fine. I wouldn't ferment my beer at the same temperature that I will be using when I serve the beer anyway.

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Old 08-12-2008, 10:10 PM   #20
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The Magic Chef also appears out-of-stock on the site, I give a +1 to the GE. Looks like a very nice unit.

I am actually not an O. at all, I'm a Chris E. But all my friends started calling me Chriso about 3 years ago, and it just stuck. At one point, though, my nickname was Cristos Dominos. I'm still lol'ing over how I wound up with that one.



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