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Old 04-07-2009, 09:07 PM   #11
big beers turn my gears
beerthirty's Avatar
May 2008
Podunk, VA. Not far from the NC line.
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I have tried a couple methods and prefer the freezer. I got a 23CF off of craigs list for $30 and temp controller was $60(it was a couple years ago). It will hold 7 ale pails and a cornie. By mounting a small pc fan to the inside of the lid it keeps temps from swinging due to air stratification. By far the best $90 I've spent on brewing. It didn't require any more skill than turning a screwdriver and is 100% maintenance free, until you get a blow off. Yah you have to lift the bucket into and out of it, but if you can't its time to brew smaller batches or find a new hobby.
Originally Posted by the_bird View Post
"I've got a fever... and the only prescription is, MORE CARBOYS!"
primary- Tangerine Dream, SWMBO slayer,
serving- amber ale hop experiment #6, Roggenbier, apfelwine
planning- Cru?
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Old 04-07-2009, 10:40 PM   #12
Feb 2009
Spring, TX
Posts: 246
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sweet. 8 carboys in one refrigerator? must be a HUGE fridge. I didn't think about the side by side possibly being easier than the top freezer style refrigerator in terms of accessibility. could you use the freezer compartment for carboys or pails in a side by side? Would you turn the freezer all the way down and the fridge all the way up?

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Old 04-10-2009, 03:53 AM   #13
Feb 2009
Spring, TX
Posts: 246
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Does anyone know about the best refrigerator setup for fermentation temp control? How about side-by-side vs top freezer? I'm getting a free top freezer that is in really good shape as soon as I can borrow a truck to pick it up. I have a very old side-by-side that I'm currently using as my garage fridge(mostly beer in the fridge and frozen foods in the freezer). I could use either for my fermentation chamber but don't know which would work better.

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Old 04-10-2009, 12:37 PM   #14
Mar 2009
Posts: 97

I have a side by side in the house and a bottom freezer in the garage. The side by side is a pita to deal with. Always too small for the amount of food it takes to feed us. When company comes, I have to give up my beer fridge for food. There would be no way I could fit multiple carboys in the side by side easily. In the garage I can fit 3 carboys and multiple bottles in the fridge.

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Old 04-10-2009, 12:43 PM   #15
Boerderij_Kabouter's Avatar
Dec 2007
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
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Check my sig line for how to effectively use as a fermentation chamber. I really think it is the best way to go, unless you have money to buy a new upright side chamber fridge.

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Old 08-13-2015, 12:24 AM   #16
Aug 2015
Posts: 25
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I have two 28-bottle wine coolers that I had purchased from Home Depot for around $160 five or six years ago. After purchasing a large 300-bottle wine cooler, I was going to sell the little coolers on Craigs's List.

After reading several articles/posts on Home Brew forums like this one about controlling primary fermentation, I decided to use these small coolers as fermentation coolers. One is Thermoelectric/Peltier model (no compressor) and has a temperature control range of 45F - 64F. The other, a standard compressor unit, has a temperature control range of 36F - 64F. Each will hold one 6.5 gallon, Big Mouth Bubbler or two 5 gallon Big Mouth Bubblers.

I have only used them on two brew's, so far, an APA and IPA but they work well for those. My brewing room in my home ranges in temperature are 65F - 70F in the Winter/Spring, 70F - 76F in the Summer/Fall. I let the primary fermentation begin at room temperature. At about eight to twelve hours, once the Krausen forms, I move the fermenter into the wine cooler at 62F. Sure enough, in a few hours the temperature display on the Fernometer reads 66F - 68F. So, even if my room temp was 70F, I would be over the optimal high temp limit for the WLP001. When the bubble rate of the primary is less than two bubble per minute (five to seven days), I bring the fermenter out into room temperature. I leave my beer in the primary for ten to twelve days and then transfer to a secondary (usually for dry hopping) for another five to seven days.

Anyway, Home Depot has a 28 bottle wine cooler with a digital temp display and control on sale for $158.00. If you only do 3 to 5 gal batches, might be a good way to manage primary temperature.

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Old 08-13-2015, 01:00 AM   #17
sd_brewbie's Avatar
May 2015
San Diego, California
Posts: 201
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After my first brew I built a son of fermentation chamber. I modified the design to fit inside a cheap walmart plastic shelf/cabinet unit (found on amazon many had converted the same shelf to grow some other special stuff). It worked great and I would change out blue ice cooler packs in the morning and evening. Easy to maintain temps but you had to adjust the thermostat as someone else noted. My design would only fit a single carboy due to downsizing to fit in the cabinet. Total cost was just under $100 (spent about $40 on the shelf).

Used it for two brews and was going to do a third batch just before leaving on vacation for two weeks. Having to swap ice packs wasn't going to cut it. I found a chest freezer on craigslist for $100 and picked up an A419 temp controller (could have found cheaper options). Really love just dialing in the temp on the controller and letting it go. I can also fit another carboy in the chest freezer which is a plus. Downsides are lifting carboys in and out and my carboys won't fit with an airlock installed so all blowoff tubes now... I guess that is not a bad thing.

I enjoyed building my SoF chamber though I did not use it long. I plan on keeping it in case I want to do some lagers in my chest freezer, I can still brew an ale... but I am not planning to do a lager anytime soon.

Moral of the story if you have space get a fridge/freezer and be happy

Edit: I did not pay what is listed on the walmart website for the cabinet... Maybe in store is cheaper.

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Old 08-13-2015, 03:59 AM   #18
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C-Rider's Avatar
Feb 2011
Wai, Hawaii
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I use a 7.2 cuft chest freezer. I can get like 5 of my 2 gallon buckets in it if needed. What's nice w/a chest freezer is you don't loose the cold air when you lift the top.

Each time you open a refer the cold air slides out the bottom and it has to work a little harder to bring "room" temp back to what you set your controller to., that said w/the amount of liquid in your fermenter it's not gonna change much if at all when you loose all that cold air.
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Fermenting: Vanilla Porter
Bottled in the refer: Malahini Pale Ale
Bottled in the refe: Old Glory Stout
Bottled in the refe: American Imperial Stout
Bottled in the refer Oktoberfest


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Old 08-15-2015, 05:54 PM   #19
tennesseean_87's Avatar
Aug 2011
Bismarck, ND
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I think it's interesting that no one has mentioned using a dorm fridge for single-batch temp control. I think you could find one that you could fit a bucket in, it would take less space than a SOF or full-fridge, and it'd be fully controllable with little work.

Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
Son of a Fermentation Chiller
These are the most work intensive but can be built custom so you could potentially keep it in the house (see the Fermoire). Most expensive and require the most technical expertise. This is the only type I have not built (sorry).

There are infinite way to do this. The cost really depends on what you intend to make. I think most units shown here and elsewhere have been in the $400.00 range.
Made custom so it has as much insulation size and cooling capacity as you want
You have to build the entire thing and supply it with fridge internals or use ice for cooling. Ice requires continued maintenance.
Maybe others can add to these things....
I think you're confused about SOF chiller. Plans say they cost $70, and they run off of ice, not fridge internals.
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