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Old 09-19-2011, 09:34 PM   #1
moorerm04
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I have brewing for a few months now and I've a couple batches under my belt, an American Cream Ale that turned out pretty decent, and a Honey Ale that I just bottled saturday, and which I have high expectations for. Both were extract brews. I really want to have more control over my fermentation temps but I don't want to drop the money on a mini fridge set up, plus my wife would probably kill me if I came home with one just to support my new brewing habit. So whit that said what else can I do, are there other options or what do those of you that don't have the fridge set up do to maintain more consistant temps?

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:43 PM   #2
LVBen
 
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What is the problem with a freezer with a temperature controller set up? Is it a space issue or a money issue?

How much space can you dedicate to fermentation and how much money can you spend?

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:44 PM   #3
hypergolic
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The Son of Fermentation is an option.

http://home.roadrunner.com/~brewbeer...er/chiller.PDF

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:46 PM   #4
Surly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moorerm04 View Post
I have brewing for a few months now and I've a couple batches under my belt, an American Cream Ale that turned out pretty decent, and a Honey Ale that I just bottled saturday, and which I have high expectations for. Both were extract brews. I really want to have more control over my fermentation temps but I don't want to drop the money on a mini fridge set up, plus my wife would probably kill me if I came home with one just to support my new brewing habit. So whit that said what else can I do, are there other options or what do those of you that don't have the fridge set up do to maintain more consistant temps?
Go down into the Do It Yourself form, or, the Equipment form and poke around a bit. You will find projects that use coolers, ice and yes mini fridges.

And don't BTW forget that Craig's list is your friend.

IMHO it is really temp control that will give you the most bang for your buck in producing good beer.

Also, don't forget to brew beer that SWMBO likes.

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:48 PM   #5
moorerm04
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVBen View Post
What is the problem with a freezer with a temperature controller set up? Is it a space issue or a money issue?

How much space can you dedicate to fermentation and how much money can you spend?
It's not so much a space issue, it's more of an I am a tight wad and don't want to spend any more money on brewing equipment. Plus my wife supports my hobbies much better when I am not dropping a bunch of bills.

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:52 PM   #6
LVBen
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moorerm04 View Post
It's not so much a space issue, it's more of an I am a tight wad and don't want to spend any more money on brewing equipment. Plus my wife supports my hobbies much better when I am not dropping a bunch of bills.
You can get used chest freezers on Craiglist for as low as $60, and temperature controllers on ebay for about $50.

$110 and you have a set it and forget it fermentation chamber. Like the other posters said, there are cheaper DIY methods that use ice if you want.

 
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:57 PM   #7
LVBen
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVBen View Post
You can get used chest freezers on Craiglist for as low as $60, and temperature controllers on ebay for about $50.

$110 and you have a set it and forget it fermentation chamber. Like the other posters said, there are cheaper DIY methods that use ice if you want.
That is for a digital temp controller. You can get an analog controller and save even more money. There are even DIY instructions for making analog temperature controllers for as little as $10-$15.

 
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:36 AM   #8
Grossy
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Keep in mind, go big here.

Remember you also have to condition the beer in your bottles for 3 weeks as well.

My goal is to replace my store bought beer with home brew, thats a lot of beer.

I bought a full size freezer on Craig's list for $50 bucks. A thermostat controller from the local Brew Store for $60. This is all in the garage.

The problem with the freezer was that the coils were part of the shelves. So I had to buy a pipe bender from Home Depot for $20, and bend the coils flat against the back wall of the freezer. Do NOT do this by hand, get a pipe bender.

I left the middle shelf in place, and can now ferment 4 Ale pales, at 68 degrees.

I live in Arizona, so I have to also condition the beer in the freezer for 3 weeks as well. So I used a Drimmel roto tool and cut out all the shelves from the door. And but in 4 shelves to hold 24oz bottles.

With a staggered brew schedule and only 3 primaries going at any one time, I can condition 70 24 oz bottles at a time.

This better do it for me, or the wife is going to get another freezer. Good luck with yours (your wife that is, I'm sure your beer will be awesome).


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Old 09-20-2011, 01:48 AM   #9
dutchoven
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If you're looking for low cost temp control, get some keg tubs. Insert carboys, fill with water, add ice packs as necessary. This is how many of us started and it works pretty well.

 
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:25 AM   #10
cwendel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutchoven View Post
If you're looking for low cost temp control, get some keg tubs. Insert carboys, fill with water, add ice packs as necessary. This is how many of us started and it works pretty well.
my girlfriend offered to buy me some homebrew equipment for a gift and I have been spending a bit of time on here and in bookstores looking for what I need. Temp control was one of my biggest initial cost concerns (want to get started w/ as little cost as possible to see if it's really something for me!). Especially with a Colorado winter coming up, I have no basement, but plenty of garage space, and the house will likely be a bit cold (should temp control be a +/- 5degrees accuracy? +/- 2?)

I like the keg tub (plastic trash can? or is this something specialized?) option w/ water. are there drawbacks other than needing to check on it a couple times a day?

Any other advice for what equipment is vital for getting started would be great! in an effort to not hijack this thread of course... Thanks!

 
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