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Old 04-19-2011, 12:48 PM   #1
kgraber
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Default Johnson Controller question

I am going to do my first ale in my fridge with johnson controller this weekend and I was wondering what temperature to set the controller at. I was thinking 65* degrees since it has a +/- range of 4*.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

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Old 04-19-2011, 12:59 PM   #2
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You should be able to set the range (or differential) to your specifications with the note that 1 degree range will have the frig running more often. I use 2 degrees.

As for temp setting, it depends on what you have as a goal. Clean and crisp, go at or slightly below the low end of reccommended for your particular yeast strain. If you want ester, go high end. So its a tough question to answer.

Also, many (myself included) people attach the probe to the side of the fermenter with some insulation between ambient air and the probe except where it contacts the fermenter. This gives a truer reading on the internal temp of the fermenter. Otherwise, you will measure the ambient temperature only and not take into account the exothermic increase in temperature in the fermenter.

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Old 04-19-2011, 01:26 PM   #3
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I usually set the temp at around 2 degrees lower than I want my beer to ferment at then I periodically check the temp on my fermenter and adjust the controller as necessary to maintain a constant temp.

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Old 04-19-2011, 01:28 PM   #4
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When I set mine to +/- 2 the chest freezer locked up because it was cycling on and off to quickly and not giving the compressor time to cool. +/- 4 is what I use now and haven't had any problems since.

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Old 04-19-2011, 01:37 PM   #5
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I use a compressorless refrigerator so I have not had issues with freezing up.

But when I attach the probe to the bucket (I use a cut piece of sock to secure the probe to the side of the fermenter using masking tape) I just set the temperature once and never check it again until I want to take a gravity measurement.

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Old 04-19-2011, 01:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ayoungrad View Post
I use a compressorless refrigerator so I have not had issues with freezing up.
Are we talking about a thermoelectric unit? How cold does it get? I bought a thermoelectric wine cooler and it was doing good to get 20F below ambient temp. I quickly got rid of it.

The unit was an older model so I'm sure thermoelectric technology has gotten better.
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Old 04-19-2011, 02:34 PM   #7
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NuCool is the brand name. I have not lagered with it yet so we'll see how well it works when I try a lager next month. I'm looking to get to 40 with an ambient of about 75-77. I have heard from others on here that it can be done.

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Old 04-19-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgraber View Post
I am going to do my first ale in my fridge with johnson controller this weekend and I was wondering what temperature to set the controller at. I was thinking 65* degrees since it has a +/- range of 4*.

Any thoughts/suggestions?
A 4 degree differential is really 2 degrees +/-. If you set the thermostat at 65, 63 should really be considered your target temp. The t-stat will come on at 65 and shut off at 61, which is 63 degrees +/- 2. I generally keep a 4-5 degree differential to keep the compressor from cycling so much.
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Old 04-19-2011, 03:29 PM   #9
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I usually set my dif to +/- 1, and measure the temp of the beer instead of the ambient temp. The fridge doesn't run that much. The reason I use +/- 1 is because the thermal mass of 5 gal of liquid is resistant to temp change. The way I look at it is that for every degree you let the temp rise, that's 1 more degree that you have to lower the temp when cooling. With a higher dif, the fridge runs less often, but for longer periods of time. I look at it as 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

As for your situation, I would control the temp with a dif of 1 or 2. Typically, a kolsch is going to be fermented cooler to limit ester production. A dif of 4 might be too much leeway. If your beer spends much of its time at 67-68F as opposed to 65F, you are going you are going to end up with a much different flavor profile. If you want to use a dif of 4, I would recommend setting your temp to around 63F.

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Old 04-19-2011, 03:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by 509inc View Post
When I set mine to +/- 2 the chest freezer locked up because it was cycling on and off to quickly and not giving the compressor time to cool. +/- 4 is what I use now and haven't had any problems since.

Adjust the anti-short cycle delay.
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