Freezer as fermentation chamber - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Freezer as fermentation chamber

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 09-07-2011, 07:13 PM   #1
william_shakes_beer
Recipes 
 
Oct 2010
Maryland
Posts: 2,536
Liked 214 Times on 172 Posts



Spent yesterday browsing through youtube videos on making fermentation chambers. A lot of good ideas. But one big question: is there any reason not to purchase a small chest frezer and add a temperature controller with a probe to cycle the power on and off? I understand that its a bit awkward to lift the fermenter in and out of a chest freezer, but I can handle that. Am I missing anything obvious?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 07:14 PM   #2
OldStyler
Recipes 
 
Aug 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 81
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


Probably just cost. If you can afford it, and the freezer cooperates with the temperature you set it to I would say you're golden. A lot of people would probably be jealous of it even.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 07:15 PM   #3
emjay
 
emjay's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2011
Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 12,794
Liked 1719 Times on 1606 Posts


Nope, you're not missing anything. If you've got the space, go for it. It's precisely what I do.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 07:23 PM   #4
Skarekrough
Recipes 
 
Oct 2010
Massachusetts, Massachusetts
Posts: 315
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts


I went with a small chest freezer as a fermentation/lagering chamber.

Basically I came to the conclusion that the next step in bettering my beer was to nail down temperatures and normalize things. By doing this I'm no longer dealing with the temp spikes that come with certain times of the year.

So for some beers that I feel are going to benefit from it I'll use it.

If you have the space and coin then do it up.
__________________
Bear Hill Brewery - Get Mauled!

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 07:44 PM   #5

Yup, pick up a freezer off Craigslist or whatever and away you go. Apparently it's harder on the freezer compressor than normal use but you should get several years out of it anyway.
__________________
2012 Canadian Brewer of the Year
2013 Canadian Brewer of the Year
2015 Canadian Brewer of the Year

@evilgoatbrewing

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 07:54 PM   #6
Celticway
 
Celticway's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Mar 2011
Lawrenceville, GA, GA
Posts: 333
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts


You could go with a standup freezer.


Click image for larger version

Name:	image-3098503696.jpg
Views:	519
Size:	7.4 KB
ID:	33129

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 07:57 PM   #7
Sacreddog717
Recipes 
 
Sep 2009
East Bay, CA
Posts: 126
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


I use a chest freezer and to keep it at 62 - 68, Id say the freezer cycles on for 5 or so minutes every 1-2 hours. It really has had very little effect on my energy bill.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 08:26 PM   #8
emjay
 
emjay's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jan 2011
Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 12,794
Liked 1719 Times on 1606 Posts


Yep, chest freezers already use a fairly low amount of energy, and the fact that they run for maybe 5% of the time means I haven't noticed it at all on the electricity bill.

As far as wearing out the compressor... if you do things right, it shouldn't be an issue (and shouldn't be cycling on much more than usual anyways). The idea is to use thermal mass to prevent rapid temperature fluctuations. Ideally, you should tape a probe to the side of your fermentor and insulate it - that way, you are measuring the temperature of the beer, and it takes a much longer time for 5gallons of beer to change by a degree than it does for air (just look at how long it takes to boil water!). And by measuring the temperature of the beer with the thermostat, you are also CONTROLLING the temperature of the beer, which makes a heck of a lot more sense than measuring/controlling the air around it (due to the additional heat that yeast generates during fermentation.)

Temperature controllers typically allow you to set an automatic delay so that the compressor doesn't cycle on too quickly, even if the temperature settings say it should, and this gives your freezer some added protection. But it's really just a precaution, because with the thermal mass of a 5gal batch (sticking even more stuff in the freezer also helps) and proper probe placement, the length of time it should take for the thermostat to turn on the compressor should significantly exceed even the highest delay setting anyways. Basically, if you do things right, a freezer should last you a heck of a lot longer than "several years". Depending on how old it already is, it should be more like "several decades."

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 11:14 PM   #9
william_shakes_beer
Recipes 
 
Oct 2010
Maryland
Posts: 2,536
Liked 214 Times on 172 Posts


has anyone found a need to add heat or is the yeast always producing sufficient heat internally? I keep my house fairly cold in the winter.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2011, 11:14 PM   #10
DoubleAught
 
DoubleAught's Avatar
Recipes 
 
May 2011
Seymour, Indiana
Posts: 1,249
Liked 106 Times on 81 Posts


I use a chest freezer as well. One bit of advise I can give is to be careful buying a used one. Most are probably just fine, however some are not. I bought a used one from a co-worker that was working fine (or so he says), but when I hooked it up it failed to cool. In fact it got warmer inside with the compressor running trying to cool it off. I researched trying to see what could be wrong and most of what I read says once an older freezer is unplugged and warms up that lines can crack and leak the Freon. After that I just went and bought a new one.
__________________
In their efforts to regulate beer quality, the ancient Babylonians, who were among history's earliest brewers, decreed that any commercial beermaker who sold unfit beer would be drowned in their own libation.

 
Reply With Quote
Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fermentation Chamber - Freezer Chest or Upright Fridge? HopKeller Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 15 07-26-2012 04:40 AM
Chest freezer/Fermentation chamber temp control Thehopguy Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 1 06-17-2011 05:22 AM
Freezer as fermentation chamber kenpotf Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 5 06-13-2011 04:08 PM
Chest Freezer conversion to Ferm. Chamber BugAC Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 05-06-2011 02:02 PM
Fermentation Chamber ianhey Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 9 06-23-2010 07:39 PM


Forum Jump