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Old 10-16-2006, 09:35 PM   #1
Mike-H
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Default My "Mostly natural" Lagering setup - with pics...

Ok, I am doing my first lager, for those who read my previous thread about creating this system you'll know how it came about If anyone wants details for the 2 parts I used I will give them. Total price $75.00 shipped.... Pretty fair I think, it will allow me to lager probably 10 carboys at once if I built the right size tub. This is setup OUTSIDE in my barn, where the temperature is below 52 degrees from Mid October - April, giving me 6-7 months of mostly free lagering! Anyway, here is the setup...



This consists of a cooler, with the carboy submersed. There is a digital temp controller $40.00 plugged into a 250 watt fish tank heater $25.00. It holts the temp at 53-54 degrees.




Lager fermentation in action....



Nice digital display....



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Old 10-16-2006, 09:37 PM   #2
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A close up of the controls...



Where my beer will be served AND stored in the keg for lagering periods... I keep this sucker around 32-30 degrees. I like my beer COLD!




Ale's awaiting kegging!



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Old 10-16-2006, 09:41 PM   #3
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Cool. You should be able to use that all winter with the heater circuit in place. A nice alternative to an energy hog freezer. Is the probe just in the water against the carboy wall?
You have me thinking...
I could build a controller for about $15. And I have the aquarium heater. Not digital or anything fancy, but it's a thought.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillHayze
Cool. You should be able to use that all winter with the heater circuit in place. A nice alternative to an energy hog freezer. Is the probe just in the water against the carboy wall?
You have me thinking...
I could build a controller for about $15. And I have the aquarium heater. Not digital or anything fancy, but it's a thought.
The temperature reader part is submersed in the water against the wall of the cooler, although now i'm thinking it should go against the carboy, probably not much of a difference... it is on the opposite side of the cooler where the heater is. Seems to be working great! The best thing about this is, it can handle 800 watts of heaters, so if I plug a power strip and build a big tub, no "fridge" can compete with me, AND I believe the direct contact of the water provides a more consistant overall temperature for the fermenting wort!

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Old 10-16-2006, 09:45 PM   #5
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You could replace the $40 temp controller with a cheap $15 furnace thermostat from the hardware store since you are just controlling a heating element with it. You would sacrifice the fancy display, but it would cut your costs down considerably.

In fact, an overall cheaper solution might have been to get a big-ass styrofoam cooler (cheap cheap cheap) and use the cheap furnace thermo and a light-bulb. That might come in at about $25 to $30.
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Old 10-16-2006, 09:50 PM   #6
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I'm not replacing anything! But maybe someone else will lol... Also, the equipment I bought is made especially for being around WET places. Its UL listed specifically for that. So, to be on the safer side i'd still choose to spend the extra 30-40 dollars. But you are right, you could wire a thermostat in pretty cost effectively.

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Old 10-17-2006, 12:01 AM   #7
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We're not suggesting you replace anything, Mike. I'm just a cheap a$$ so I'm talking about what I may do. Your equipment is better and safer than my bargain basement ideas. Cheers to you for the idea bud!
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Old 10-17-2006, 12:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chillHayze
We're not suggesting you replace anything, Mike.
Yea, I didnt take it that way, maybe my response led to believe I did, sometimes things are lost in translation. Anyway, IF you DO end up producing a cheap version of this lager system I would love to see it!
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:12 AM   #9
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Still thinking of a cheaper solution (because it's fun, NOT because I think you need to change anything).....

I have a similar set-up for my fermentation fridge. I have a regular temp controller for kicking the fridge on and off. However, in the winter it gets colder than my desired temps in the garage, so I have a furnace thermostat controlling a 60W lightbulb that is inside the fridge. The compressor and bulb work together to keep the temp right, regardless of the temp of the garage itself.

Anyway... I wonder if you could get a totally busted fridge for free from a junk yard or from a "in search of" post on craigslist? That would make a very big and well insluated box, and you can drop a few bucks to get the thermostat and a lightbulb for $20.

ONE PROBLEM WITH A FURNACE THERMOSTAT

They may not let you set them low enough for lagers. I think the one in my brewfridge only goes down to 60°F. I don't know if that's 'standard' or not.
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:40 AM   #10
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Dude, it looks like your lagering a brain in that carboy.


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