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Old 07-27-2010, 12:04 AM   #1
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Default the best setup

I will be making some purchases soon and my goal is to have the best setup possible to make sure that my beers are not held back in any way. Here's my plan:

-15 cubic foot chest freezer fermentation chamber
-all glass carboys for fermentation. 2-4 weeks primary, no secondary unless necessary for dry hopping or fruit
-thermapen to ensure accurate mash temps
-a Biermuncher-style beer gun so I can bottle some beers to save, and keg the rest. I'm through with bottling, it's too much trouble for a variety of reasons
-minifridge for cold-crashing, lagering, or kegerating

Any other suggestions? Planning on entering some comps in the next year and I'm mostly just sick of worrying about temps. I'm trying to get into brewing belgian beers and temp control is key.

P.S. How many 6 gallon carboys can a 15 cubic foot chest freezer hold?

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Old 07-27-2010, 01:59 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
I will be making some purchases soon and my goal is to have the best setup possible to make sure that my beers are not held back in any way. Here's my plan:

-15 cubic foot chest freezer fermentation chamber
-all glass carboys for fermentation. 2-4 weeks primary, no secondary unless necessary for dry hopping or fruit
-thermapen to ensure accurate mash temps
-a Biermuncher-style beer gun so I can bottle some beers to save, and keg the rest. I'm through with bottling, it's too much trouble for a variety of reasons
-minifridge for cold-crashing, lagering, or kegerating

Any other suggestions? Planning on entering some comps in the next year and I'm mostly just sick of worrying about temps. I'm trying to get into brewing belgian beers and temp control is key.
Sounds pretty good to me. You'll have two separate chambers for different temps, too (i.e. lager ferment, and lager cold storage) which will be key in your process if you want a good pipeline.

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P.S. How many 6 gallon carboys can a 15 cubic foot chest freezer hold?
That will depend on the area of the bottom surface of your freezer and the diameter of your carboys. How deep, wide, and long is your chest freezer? What is the diameter of your 6 gal carboys? Make a scale drawing or do some "back of the envelope" calculations and you'll have a good idea before you even setup.

Best of luck,
TB
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:08 AM   #3
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It sounds like you're concerned about fermentation temps. I'd recommend a controller or two (Love/Ranco/PID/etc) to make sure you're keeping them consistent.

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Old 07-27-2010, 02:30 AM   #4
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I'd skip the chest freezer as a fermentation chamber, especially with glass. Lifting the carboys over the top would suck big-time, because of the weight, and the fact that if you slip a touch and bump two together, catastrophe can result.

I used a Kenmore freezerless refrigerator (made by Frigidaire; same model under that name is available at Lowes) for fermentation. It's far easier to lift the carboys into the fridge than it would be to lift over the ledge of a freezer. I can fit four in there with no issue (although the airlocks make it a touch tricky).

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Old 07-27-2010, 03:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BlindSquirrelDiscNBrew View Post
It sounds like you're concerned about fermentation temps. I'd recommend a controller or two (Love/Ranco/PID/etc) to make sure you're keeping them consistent.
Might I add Johnson to that list...


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Primary:
1. Dry Stout 2. Dry Stout 3. Cali Common 4. Cali Common 5. none 6. none
Secondary:
1. Brett Ale 2. none 3. none 4. none
Bottled:
About 58 gallons of beer & 4.2 gallons of mead
Kegged & conditioning:
Imperial Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout x2, Belgian Dubbel, German Pils (lagering), Oatmeal Blonde x2
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindSquirrelDiscNBrew View Post
It sounds like you're concerned about fermentation temps. I'd recommend a controller or two (Love/Ranco/PID/etc) to make sure you're keeping them consistent.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention that. Prob will get the johnson digital one.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpc View Post
I'd skip the chest freezer as a fermentation chamber, especially with glass. Lifting the carboys over the top would suck big-time, because of the weight, and the fact that if you slip a touch and bump two together, catastrophe can result.

I used a Kenmore freezerless refrigerator (made by Frigidaire; same model under that name is available at Lowes) for fermentation. It's far easier to lift the carboys into the fridge than it would be to lift over the ledge of a freezer. I can fit four in there with no issue (although the airlocks make it a touch tricky).
Are you still using a temp controller with that? Any pics of the carboys in there with airlocks/blowoffs?
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Old 07-27-2010, 03:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpc View Post
I'd skip the chest freezer as a fermentation chamber, especially with glass. Lifting the carboys over the top would suck big-time, because of the weight, and the fact that if you slip a touch and bump two together, catastrophe can result.

I used a Kenmore freezerless refrigerator (made by Frigidaire; same model under that name is available at Lowes) for fermentation. It's far easier to lift the carboys into the fridge than it would be to lift over the ledge of a freezer. I can fit four in there with no issue (although the airlocks make it a touch tricky).
I'm just going to put handles on them, wrap them in towels, and maybe lift some weights between now and then or something

I actually hadn't thought of that but I'm sure I can lift one out, after carrying a full one down 3 flights of stairs (one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever done...imagine dropping a glass carboy full of almost-finished beer on your concrete indoor steps)
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Summer Night raspberry dark saison

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Old 07-27-2010, 04:54 PM   #9
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I don't know your brewing volume but I brew 5 gal at a time and I'm pretty sure a 15 cu ft chest freezer just for fermentation would be WAY too big for me, especially if I only had one little mini-fridge as my kegerator. I can't think of any time I've had several fermenters going at once where I wanted to keep them all at the same temp. I often have several fermenters going simultaneously but one might be a lager, another an ale that's pretty much done (so I don't really care if it's kept cool), and another an ale that just started (so I DO really care about the fermentation temp). Once the main fermentation is done (3-5 days for most ales) I just let ales warm to room temp (lagers I increase the temp controller).

I use a regular fridge for lager fermentation (I can fit two carboys plus one corny in there) and use the freezer space in it for hop storage.

I use a 7.0 cu ft chest freezer with a collar on it for serving, holds 6 cornies perfectly. It has 4 taps so 2 of the kegs in there are lagering/conditioning.

Once the pipeline got going I only have 2 maybe 3 fermenters going at once, all requiring different temps.

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Old 07-27-2010, 05:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
I'm just going to put handles on them, wrap them in towels, and maybe lift some weights between now and then or something

I actually hadn't thought of that but I'm sure I can lift one out, after carrying a full one down 3 flights of stairs (one of the most nerve-wracking things I've ever done...imagine dropping a glass carboy full of almost-finished beer on your concrete indoor steps)
Having just put a single 6.5-gal carboy sitting in a plastic milk crate into my chest freezer Sunday night, I can easily say that it sucks serious donkey *****... Ok, so I don't have much clearance above my chest freezer, it's still really hard to get leverage when reaching into it. And the handles put unneeded stress on the necks of the carboys, shortening their life, or so I hear...
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