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Old 06-20-2012, 01:02 AM   #1
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Default Pizza Make Line Fermentation Chamber

My family has been in the pizza business for 27 years now. We have collected a lot of equipment over the years some of which we don't use anymore. When I was down at our storage shed the other day I noticed we had an old 4 foot make line unit sitting there. It had been down there since we closed down a location back in 2000. I asked my dad if he cared if I used it for beer and he didn't care so I got it home today.

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So here it is. For those who haven't seen these before, the two doors have storage underneath and the top two lids open up and that is where pizza toppings would normally be located.

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It has removable shelves underneath.

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Plenty of room underneath to fit a fermenter when the shelve are taken out.

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Here is where you'd put in inserts for all the different pizza toppings.

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Even already has a Johnson temperature controller hooked up to it.

It has been sitting around for 12 years. I plugged it in and the compressor runs, but it wasn't getting cold so I will have to have our refrigeration guy come to my house and most likely charge it up with some R-22. Once that happens I should be able to keep 2 fermenters at 65 no problem as is. Not bad for a "free" frementation chamber.

But I have bigger plans. What I want to do is build an insulated cabinet that fits over where the pizza toppings would normally go. I'll have a couple of fans that blow cold air up from below. I'll keep the cabinet at around 65-degrees for ales. I should be able to easily fit 2 and hopefully fit 3 fermenters in there. Then I can keep the space below in the 40's to keep ingredients and pull the shelves out for either cold-crashing and/or fermenting lagers.

It is going to be a little while before I can build the cabinet but I will post pictures when I get around to it. Even with no modifications this thing will still make a good fermentation chamber, once I get the cabinet built I think it will be awesome.

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Old 06-20-2012, 02:22 AM   #2
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The control pictured is operated by refrigerant pressure - not temperature. They work, but they can be a bit tricky to adjust. If you're going to use it for fermenting and would like fairly tight temperature control (as opposed to pizza prep), then you may want to change to an electronic control. If you have a refrigeration person lined up to go over the unit then be sure and discuss this with him/her.

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Old 06-20-2012, 02:45 AM   #3
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Thanks for the heads up. Since I plan on using an electric control for the top cabinet once built I will just pick up a controller now. I wanted one that could also control a heater for the winter.

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Old 06-20-2012, 05:13 PM   #4
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Hi

Before you go very far, have a good talk with the refigeration guy. Some of this older stuff can cost a *fortune* to keep running. It's not that it's bad stuff, it just can get more expensive than a new freezer pretty fast.

Bob

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Old 06-20-2012, 05:26 PM   #5
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Subscribed! I'd like to see where you go with this one. Could definitely turn into something very cool! (no pun intended)

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Old 06-20-2012, 07:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carlisle_bob View Post
Hi

Before you go very far, have a good talk with the refigeration guy. Some of this older stuff can cost a *fortune* to keep running. It's not that it's bad stuff, it just can get more expensive than a new freezer pretty fast.

Bob
Yeah, we have 2 other restaurants still and I pay the refrigeration repair bills. Anything more than a coolant charge and the unit probably heads back to the storage shed. But it was working just fine when it was put in storage and the compressor still runs so that is a good sign.
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGAC View Post
Subscribed! I'd like to see where you go with this one. Could definitely turn into something very cool! (no pun intended)
me too!
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Old 06-20-2012, 08:27 PM   #8
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Even if it doesn't work out as a fermbox, it looks like it could easily be made into a sweet brew stand.

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Old 06-20-2012, 08:39 PM   #9
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I second the be careful with old fridges. The longer they have been unplugged the worse. We have an upright commercial fridge, Foster brand, about $2000 new, my wife got her hands on it a while back for free, already had two holes drilled for taps. I was super excited to use it, only problem was an apparent Freon leak. Well $300 later it was running like a champ, had it dialed in to stay between 34-40. Summer came along and the dang thing won't get below 48 now, runs all day long. Fridge guy said while the compressor is running its not working well and would be $600 just for the parts....

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Old 06-21-2012, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indytruks138 View Post
I second the be careful with old fridges. The longer they have been unplugged the worse. We have an upright commercial fridge, Foster brand, about $2000 new, my wife got her hands on it a while back for free, already had two holes drilled for taps. I was super excited to use it, only problem was an apparent Freon leak. Well $300 later it was running like a champ, had it dialed in to stay between 34-40. Summer came along and the dang thing won't get below 48 now, runs all day long. Fridge guy said while the compressor is running its not working well and would be $600 just for the parts....
Hi

The one you *really* don't want to hear:

"...Now there's a leak somewhere and we can't find it..."

The standard solution seems to be to change out the entire fridge one piece at a time...

Bob
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