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Old 09-24-2011, 09:09 PM   #1
Jamison's Avatar
Oct 2010
West Central, IL
Posts: 72
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I was wondering if it would be worth it for me to invest in a refrigerator/digital temperature control set-up. I am doing partial mashes. The temp in my basement ranges from 65-72 year around and doesn't fluctuate radically. I have only done 4 batches, but have seen my temps during raging fermentation get up to 76 and then dip down to 67 before finishing.
Would a freezer or fridge set up really keep the internal temperature of my fermentation steady enough to make a difference or is the back room in my basement good enough?
I am kind of leaning toward using a refrigerator over a freezer just so I have a place to keep bottles cold when I'm not fermenting anything. I could pick up a freezer cheap though. Is one better than the other?

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Old 09-24-2011, 09:45 PM   #2
Jun 2006
Marietta, Georgia
Posts: 194
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I started with a small 15 cu. ft. fridge with a Johnson analog controller. It is really a necessity to regulate the temperature inside the fridge. It is a difficult task to keep the fridge at ale temperatures using the internal thermostat. I now have a 15 cu . ft. chest freezer and like it much better b/c I can get up to six 5 gallon fermenters in it where before I could only get 2 or 3 in the fridge. A lot of wasted space in the fridge above the fermenters. I have been using the same controller for about 10 years and it keeps the temps right where I set it. I use a quart jar filled with sanitizer and a digital thermometer to check the temperature without having to open the lid. Shop around and you can find some good deals on used fridges and freezers.

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Old 09-24-2011, 09:48 PM   #3
runningweird's Avatar
Dec 2009
State Line, PA, Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,068
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look on craigslist - find a small chest freezer and buy a temp controller - the differences in temp controlled fermentation are amazing. This goes a long way toward making better beer, combine it with pitching yeast starters and you get great results.

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Old 09-24-2011, 09:49 PM   #4
PT Ray
Aug 2005
Posts: 1,373
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Yes it's worth it. I have 3 chest freezers with a couple different type thermostats. One can still function as a freezer if need be. I would certainly invest in one before any other piece of equipment. I can't tell you the last time I did an all grain but I still use the freezers for my mini-mashes. They do require that you lift/pickup your fermenter, one of the reasons I retired the glass carboys for buckets with handles. They other thing is they are not designed to deal with the condensation. You just have to mop up the water that pools in bottom. I couldn't imagine brewing without them.

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Old 09-24-2011, 09:55 PM   #5
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Sea's Avatar
May 2007
Southern Oregon
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best low cost improvement to the quality of your beers that you can make
I plan on living forever. So far, so good! - unknown.

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Old 09-24-2011, 10:47 PM   #6
jyda's Avatar
Jan 2009
Folsom, CA
Posts: 151
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Originally Posted by sea
best low cost improvement to the quality of your beers that you can make

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Old 09-24-2011, 11:00 PM   #7
Aug 2011
Moorhead, MN
Posts: 253
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Chest Freezer FTW. Make sure you get one that will hold more then one Carboy. Get at least the 8.8cu ft. I can fit two 6/6.5 gal, One 3 gal and two 1 gal in mine. Also make sure you get a brew hauler as lifting full 6 gal carboys into a freezer. Doing so without one is just asking for a serious accident.

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Old 09-25-2011, 01:13 AM   #8
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ajf's Avatar
Oct 2005
Long Island
Posts: 4,646
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I agree with what everybody else has said. It made a fantastic difference to the quality of my brews (especially in the summer). I went for a chest freezer which holds 2 6.5g carboys, and can get things cold enough to lager on the rare occasions that I do a lager.
I don't understand "just so I have a place to keep bottles cold when I'm not fermenting anything."
For me, that would be for about 1 week every 5 years.

There are only 10 types of people in this world. Those that understand binary, and those that don't.

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Old 09-25-2011, 02:32 AM   #9
Registered User
Nov 2010
Corn, High Fructose Corn Fortress, IA
Posts: 5,847
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I thought the same thing, i would like to refrigerate a good quatity of my beer but lager too. I would just need a very big refrigerater.So i can lager and store many of my beers.Typically i wish i had a cellar and refrigerator big enough.

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Old 09-25-2011, 12:19 PM   #10
Jun 2010
Posts: 481
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I ferment without them. I dont find that it significantly affects the quality of the beers I make. I do find that I tailor my brewing to the season and the style. For example, I do my saisons in the summer, my pales in the spring, my stouts in the winter, and my browns in the fall. I do cross my styles in the seasons but it's mostly for aging. Will I eventually get the temperature control setup? Sure. But right now, money's tight and I like to brew the beer more than I worry about the intricacies. Your mileage may vary, your preferences may vary. But I dont find that it's absolutely required to make good or great beer. My .02.
For new brewers, especially new all-grain brewers: Check out my blog The New Brewer Chronicals: brewerchronicals.blogspot.com

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