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Old 01-29-2013, 02:45 PM   #1
HenBat
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Default fermentation: freezer vs. refrigerator

Greetings to all my fellow homebrewers and crafters. I am almost at the bottling stage with my first brew while thinking about updating my setup for the next batch.

Fermentation temperature control has been an issue that need to be addressed so I ask this before I make my next purchase:

1. Freezer or Refrigerator as a fermentation chamber? (with ranco or johnson temp control)

2. are there any features I should look for or avoid?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I know this has been touched on from a number of angles but this would clarify it a bit for me in one place. Please feel free to send links to associated discussions or articles.

Thanks!
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by HenBat View Post
Greetings to all my fellow homebrewers and crafters. I am almost at the bottling stage with my first brew while thinking about updating my setup for the next batch.

Fermentation temperature control has been an issue that need to be addressed so I ask this before I make my next purchase:

1. Freezer or Refrigerator as a fermentation chamber? (with ranco or johnson temp control)

2. are there any features I should look for or avoid?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I know this has been touched on from a number of angles but this would clarify it a bit for me in one place. Please feel free to send links to associated discussions or articles.

Thanks!
I used a freezer with Johnson controller for a good while. I have since went to a "cool brewing" fermintaion chamber. I like the cool brewing option better as it cost nothing to use/run. And not taking up floor space when not in use.




Cool Brewing......https://cool-brewing.com/

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Old 01-29-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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From a cost standpoint it is cheaper to go with a fridge and temp controller because you can always find plenty of good working refrigerators on your local classifieds for $50. Not so easy to find chest freezers for cheap.

The added benefit of getting a fridge instead is when not being used as a temp controlled chamber you can store your ingredients and equipment in it or use it as a beer fridge to cold condition your brews in.
The fridge can also double as a kegerator and easily fits 3 corny kegs plus CO2 and you can simply install taps through the side wall at a perfect height for serving.

Another benefit? It's much easier to move full fermenters into and out of a fridge than a chest freezer (trust me!).

That's just my 2 cents.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:33 PM   #4
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If you plan on lagering i would go with the freezer to ensure that you are able to hit the desired temp. I plan on using a mini fridge for my ferm chamber but i also built a keezer so that will give me another option for lagering.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:43 PM   #5
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If you plan on lagering i would go with the freezer to ensure that you are able to hit the desired temp. I plan on using a mini fridge for my ferm chamber but i also built a keezer so that will give me another option for lagering.
Refrigerators are designed to run between 34 and 38F. No problem hitting lagering temps in either.
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:57 PM   #6
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Default Another option

Consider wine fridges too. There is a thread on the Vissani wine fridge which got me looking into wine fridges for fermentation chambers. I Found a really nice undercounter wine fridge on Craigslist and it fits my fermenters perfectly. Has really improved my results so far.

I agree with the benefit of the cool brewing bag though. takes no space when you are done with it. However, having the ability to set your fridge and forget it with a temp controller keeping things at the right temp is a VERY nice feature.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:30 PM   #7
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Refrigerators are designed to run between 34 and 38F. No problem hitting lagering temps in either.
I understand that but building a ferm chamber with a small fridge you are in creasing the volume of air you are demanding the fridge to cool, causing it to be less efficient and possibly unable to keep up with the demand.
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:39 PM   #8
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I understand that but building a ferm chamber with a small fridge you are in creasing the volume of air you are demanding the fridge to cool, causing it to be less efficient and possibly unable to keep up with the demand.
What? Who said anything about increasing the volume of air? Sounds like he just wants to know what's better to put his bucket/carboy in to control fermentation temp or to lager in.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:15 PM   #9
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Wow thanks for everyone suggestions.

I am looking to control the temp in my apt in a set it and forget it kind of way. At the moment I am more into ales than lagers but this could change in the future.

Seems that fridge is a better option but I am more curious if I should avoid certain features like auto defrosters and things.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:22 PM   #10
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Seems that fridge is a better option but I am curious if I should avoid certain features like auto defrosters and things.
Auto defrosters won't be an issue as they don't even kick on more than maybe once a week since you will only need to run your compressor for maybe an hour a day in total to maintain ale fermentation temps. If there is no frost on the coils (and their will not be when using the fridge for fermentations due to their long rest periods) then the auto-defrost will cause no issues.

My fermentation fridge is in my basement and since it's generally about 65F down there the fridge only has to kick on for about 3 minutes every hour or so to maintain ale fermentation temps inside (about 60F ambient to keep my beer at 65F).
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