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Old 11-09-2009, 11:22 AM   #1
chemnitz
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Default What Type of Mini-Refrigerator for an Ale Pail?

I'm sorry if this question has been asked before, but I didn't find it with the search function. I'm looking to get a lager setup, and so I need a refrigerator. My fermentation vessels are standard (6.5 gal - for 5 gal batches) ale pails. The dimensions are approximately 12" diameter and 18" high (plus more for an airlock). I've looked at a lot of mini-fridges, but it is hard to tell if my pails would fit in any of them. The dimensions are given, but many of them have less depth on the bottom shelf or a freezer at the top, so it is hard to tell how much useful space there is. What have you tried that works? Do you have specific model numbers?

Also, has anyone tried anything like this? Any clue if it might work?:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Igloo+-+...&skuId=9502371

On a related note, is this Johnson Controls thermostat a good one?:
http://www.northernbrewer.com/brewin...hermostat.html

Thanks for the help!

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Last edited by chemnitz; 11-09-2009 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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Take your pail, with the air lock, to the store and try it. You won't be the first one. I dragged a couple cornies with me to a used appliance store.

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Old 11-09-2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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My (pedestrian) understanding is that wine cellars are ok, but may not get cold enough to do lager temps. They are designed to keep things in the 50+ range typically. Yes, you can override with a controller, but I'd personally start with an appliance designed to keep things colder than a typical bottle of wine. Not sure if it uses a compressor or a peltier heat exchange type of device, but I'd find out and do the research. I have a Haier Nucool that is a peltier (do a search--you'll find the thread where we discuss it). Does a great job at fermentation temps, even for lager beers (in the 50ish range and above), but I wouldn't use it to actually "lager" a lager down in the 30s--I put my lagers into my keezer for that step...

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Old 11-09-2009, 05:56 PM   #4
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I would try and find a small 5 cf chest freezer cheap on Craigslist. They work well for fermenting, and crash cooling.

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Old 11-09-2009, 06:37 PM   #5
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Thank you. I think that I'm going to hunt for a chest freezer. Does anyone have any shopping tips for what to look for in a freezer?

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Old 11-09-2009, 10:51 PM   #6
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Just make sure it works. Same as before, take a bucket with you to measure it.

for corny kegs, cut a few 9 inch diameter discs out of cardboard...that's basically your corny diameter...and you can see how many kegs will fit.

chest freezers work well as long as you can heft the 5 gallons + bucket/carboy/keg over the edge when its full (figure 50lbs for a bucket, 60lbs for a carboy).

chest freezers have a 'hump' on one side where the compressor sits. to get the best bang for your buck, look for freezers that only have a corner hump in the back, instead of a full back to front hump. corner hump means 1 more corny keg will fit inside.

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