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Old 04-23-2009, 03:52 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 90

OK, with the semester winding down and the summer soon arriving, beer is on my mind! I had a dilemma last Xmas when my father-in-law gave my wife and I a small Magic Chef chest freezer while I already had a full size freezer in my basement. So I didn't want to be an ingrate and say I had one already but I've been unwilling to return it, which essentially is the same as telling the guy I didn't want it!

So, I came onto the boards today to bump around. Came across the use of these chest freezers as fermentation chambers. So if anyone can answer a few questions, it might let me use this freezer in a way my father-in-law would appreciate!

I live in WNY so our summers are mild but can be hot (my basement is about 60 degree in the summer and 50 in the winter) and fermentation a challenge.

Amd I correct to assume that with a two stage controller, I can easily convert this chest freezer into a fermentation chmaber capable of both lager and ale temps?

Stage 1 is obviously a controller on the freezer itself, which would reduce the temp in the freezer.

Stage 2 would be connected to a light or other heat source that would increase the heat?

Or being in WNY could I get away with a single stage and assuming that external temps would be high enough in the summer to provide the necessary heat for ale fermentation?

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Old 04-23-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Louisville,KY
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You'll get by fine through the summer with one stage, but you'll kick yourself in the fall, then again next spring, when your daytime temps are warm, but nightime are low. Or today is perfect, tomorrow is freezing, with 70's by the weekend

The cost difference is very little from Cole-Palmer. I wish I had spent the $ to be able to maintain the temp +/- 2* instead of worrying about it.

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Old 04-23-2009, 05:06 PM   #3
Boerderij_Kabouter's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
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Check out my side-by-side build thread in my sig. That details how to install a dual stage love controller and use it. I bought a very small and cheap fan heater from my local big box store for heating because the fan circulates air to yield a more even temperature. I am very happy with the control.

Dwyer has the best prices on the TSS2-2100 Love controller

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Old 04-23-2009, 07:36 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 90

Awesome info.

I was unsure about the need for a two stage controller but it makes sense that the internal temp on the freezer, particularly in my basement or garage would be correlated to the external temp and therefore a two stage may be necessary.

I'll look into your suggestions and build some more and go with the two stage.

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Old 04-24-2009, 05:10 PM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 7

I'd also like to use a chest freezer for fermentation. I need to find one first. I've been checking Craigslist in my area to get a relatively inexpensive used one. Next, I assume I'll have to purchase a temperature control unti, correct? Will they work for just about any type of fridge/freezer. I just want to know what I should be looking for when I make the 20-30 minute drives to check out the freezers. Thanks!

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