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-   -   Chest freezer for fermentation? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/chest-freezer-fermentation-180806/)

skidkid267 06-03-2010 03:53 PM

Chest freezer for fermentation?
Hey Brewers,

I am looking into purchasing a chest freezer for a fermentation chamber so I can continue to brew in the HOT summer months (over 90 for days on end is not unusual here). When I eventually start kegging it will be turned into a keezer. I already ordered a two stage ranco from BBB to control the temps and I was wondering what you all would suggest to use as the warming device for the interior of the chest? I was considering a small space heater or a heating pad. Any thoughts?

Bach7210 06-03-2010 03:58 PM

If you are using a temp controller, why do you need to warm the interior of the freezer? Your internal temp will stay near the settings on the controller. I guess your question has me confused.

TipsyDragon 06-03-2010 04:04 PM

i recommend a fermwrap. they are very low tech and are fairly cheap.

JSomps6 06-03-2010 04:17 PM

You can make your own fermwrap pretty cheap too. I've heard you can make two... one for each carboy for about $30. F


Rob_T 06-03-2010 04:31 PM

I'd say you're fine with just the temp controller unless the room temp is going to fall below 60-65 degrees. If an upright freezer is an option I'd consider it, for your backs sake.

ShortSnoutBrewing 06-03-2010 04:32 PM

I use this in my chest freezer fermentation chamber:

uwjester 06-03-2010 04:36 PM

A 40 watt light bulb puts out enough heat to warm a freezer up pretty quickly. I built a hot/cold temperature controller out of an aquarium controller from ebay. There is thread on hbt about that somewhere. Prior to that though, I bought a light timer at walmart for about $4 and just had the light come on 5 out of every 20 minutes. That kept the freezer warm enough in the winter.

jpc 06-03-2010 04:51 PM


Originally Posted by Rob_T (Post 2093033)
I'd say you're fine with just the temp controller unless the room temp is going to fall below 60-65 degrees. If an upright freezer is an option I'd consider it, for your backs sake.

Exactly... That's what I did.

I have an upright refrigerator-only unit (Kenmore 16.7 cu ft) that I picked up new for about $600 including tax (free delivery). Added a Love controller, and now I have a four-carboy fermentation chamber maintaining 63 degrees (I still have to install the Love into the door so I can read it from the outside, and mount the probe properly).

Here's a crappy cell phone pic of the inside:


skidkid267 06-04-2010 01:35 AM

@Bach...I've heard , and I could have heard wrong, that a freezer cools so efficently that if you set your controller at a certain point that it will kick off at that point but the ambient cooled air will cool the brew a few degrees below the desired temp. The heat is set to kick on while the temp is falling and provides a "bottom" for the temps.

@JSomps...that is freaking awesome, just what I was looking for, thanks.

SankePankey 06-04-2010 10:02 AM

1 Attachment(s)
That's funny. I'm doing the same thing right now. 15 gal in my Sanke fermenter in a 7.2 cu ft Magic Chef. I made it as a keezer first, but didn't get a second one until a couple days ago, so my batch is fermenting in my keezer until I build another collar for the second one. I'm also going to get a third for my secondary.

On my fermenter everything is accessed on the top (bev/gas/thermowell,) except the bottom dump which I put on a 90 degree tri-clamp elbow. A butterfly valve is after that. This way it points out to the user when I want to dump yeast.

The most important thing, I think, for doing a chest freezer ferm chamber is that you MUST build one with the collar attached to the lid- so you can lift heavy vessels into it reasonably, in stead of over a collar.

I actually put my whole chest freezer on casters so I never have to lift a filled fermenter. I fill it at the brewhouse and then roll the whole chamber over to its place. Makes shaking it (and the starter) around to degas, etc., very easy too. Just get good casters (castercity.com). You can't do that with an upright (well, you could but..).

I'm so glad I chose not to do the upright freezer for 'my' specific ferm vessels. It is much more low profile, yet holds a ton of beer. My 15 gal secondary fits into it with room still for 4 5 gal cornys. Thats 35 gal of beer in a rollable package. Tight. I will have to make my collar a bit higher for that one (1 X 10, or so)

If you are going to do it this way, then here's a tip I think worth following:
If you make the collar out of 1 X 8 tongue and groove board, and then cut a 45 degree angles at the corners (like a picture frame) the grooves and tongues will line up perfectly so that you can just (if you measured right and cut well with a miter saw) wedge the tongue into the groove that the rubber seal goes in-- and then the rubber seal wedges into the groove on the collar (as seen in the pic). No glue at all. I just put a couple screws in to make sure, but it really holds tight by itself. And, I did nothing to the freezer that makes hard to convert back to just a freezer, should I want to sell it and get a different one .... for some reason (prob not going to happen...)

As you can see in the pic, I just bolted rigid pink insulation on the inside. The thing has incredible r-value and doesn't run the compressor much. Since it's such a small package and fits right around my fermenter like a glove, I can cold crash super easy/efficiently. It's almost like a jacketed fermenter the big boys use, at least in my mind :).

Edit: Guess I didn't mention that the 3 gal corny is the starter vessel and the yeast harvester.

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