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Old 08-11-2011, 06:09 AM   #1
Dillinja666
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Default refrigerator or upright freezer

so im looking to buy a used refrigerator or upright freezer. Which would be better to use with one of those cheapo temp controllers? Would the controller be able to control the freezers temp enough to not freeze my beer and shock my ale yeast? As you can tell im new to all this. I think i would mostly be making ales too, but of course that can always change.

thanks

i put this in the equipment section but i guess it should go here...

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Old 08-11-2011, 06:24 AM   #2
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Depending on the dimensions of the upright freezer, you might be able to get more carboys or buckets in it at one time. Some people worry about a freezer not being able to control humidity at fermentation temperatures. Lots of people have suggested Damp-Rid to combat any condensation. I'll let someone else tell you if that works.

I just use a spare fridge. It holds a max of two fermentors plus some bottles in the door. I'd honestly just go with whichever is cheaper.

As far as temperature control, most controllers just simply switch the fridge on when it gets too warm and turns it off when it gets cold again. I'd suggest building the "Ebay Temperature Controller". It's cheaper than most commercially available controllers and works better. Just search for it in the forum and I'm sure you'll find the thread. You can also attach a heating element of some kind to it if you keep the fridge out in the garage and it gets too cold in the winter. The controller works great for temp control for ales and lagers.

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Old 08-11-2011, 02:01 PM   #3
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Get one of each. Get a fridge with a freezer on the top. Turn the fridge into a kegerator and use the freezer to store hops and pint glasses. I have 3 taps on my fridge and it will hold 6 five gal kegs. The upright freezer i use as a fermentation chamber (16cuft) with a digital temp control. I built a shelf and I can get 4 carboys or buckets in it at once. Works great!

Bought both on Craigslist. Paid $30 for the fridge and $90 for the freezer.

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Old 08-11-2011, 02:46 PM   #4
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Make sure you take measurements of your fermentation vessels to help in deciding what to get. Keep in mind that you might want to expand your operation. I personally prefer chest freezers but that might be a problem if you have issues lifting 5 gallons of liquid straight up to get it in and out of the freezer. I use a Ranco single stage temp controller that came pre wired. Here's a list of the Ranco controllers.

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Old 08-11-2011, 02:58 PM   #5
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not sure about newer ones, but old upright freezers use the racks for the cooling, so they aren't moveable. Might want to check that out before you get one.

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Old 08-11-2011, 03:08 PM   #6
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I use an old upright freezer and had to carefully bend the coils out of the way, because they were integrated into the shelves. I would not recommend one if they are built like that.

Plus, I can attest to the fact that they can build moisture. The mold in mine during a lager ferment proved it. I have yet to pick up some damp-rid.

The fridge is likely going to be smaller due to them having freezers built in. This might be fine if you only need 2-3 fermenters going. They can usually get down to lager temps if you crank the temp all the way down. You may need to also adjust the screw on the thermostat some more if it can't.

The temp controller will work with ANY device that plugs into a 100V outlet.

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:14 PM   #7
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I just spent weeks trying to decide on the same issue. I thought I wanted an upright fridge or freezer and after more research I concluded a chest freezer was the best option. Most feezers had the cooling units in the shelves and they could not be removed or adjusted. Plus, chest freezer seemed to be able to hold two fermenters and some bottles where an upright fridge could only fit one. I use buckets, not a glass carboy, so lifting out of the chest freezer isn't as big of an issue. If I used glass I would have likely gone with the upright fridge even thought the capacity is smaller.

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:28 PM   #8
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some upright freezers have the cooling elements integrated into the shelving, rendering them immobile, and thus unusable for your application. So make sure ALL of the shelving is configurable and the cooling lines are not integrated in them.

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Old 08-11-2011, 04:41 PM   #9
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It sounds like you are looking to ferment in it? in this case, one of the brew strong episode where he discusses the cons of using a freezer to ferment, namely that one might encounter issues with water buildup in the unit as it isnt intended or designed to operate above freezing. the date on the podcast is 7/13/09.

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Old 08-11-2011, 06:04 PM   #10
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Ok guys thanks for the help, fridge it us then.

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