Fermentation chamber - Fridge or freezer? - Home Brew Forums
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
kontrol
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So since Summer is comming, the temperature of my basement will start to move up and down. (Currently I only need to heat so it's easy to "manage").

I'd like to build myself a fermentation chamber not only because in summer I have variable temperature, but also for a better control of the temperature of my fermentation. The goal is to control at the exact degree my wort is fermenting.

I saw people building their fermentation chamber using ST1000 temperature controller (20$ from ebay?) and this kind of setup looks fine I guess (I don't have much experience...). My setup should be able to heat and cool.

So now the main question I have is : Should I buy a small fridge or a freezer? (Heating will be done with a lightbuld covered by a coffee can or something like that..., I don't have huge heating need).

I'd like to be able to ferment all kind of beer with my fermentation chamber and I don't want to build another 1 in 1 year because there is something I cannot do.

If you also have a nice reference website/page/document on the subject please let me know

Thanks!



 
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:31 PM   #2
billl
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Both work fine, so if you can get craigslist steal, go for it. If you have to purchase new, you'll probably be able to get more bang for your buck with a chest freezer.

Watch out for the mini-fridges though. Many are not big enough to fit a fermenter because they have a step in the back.



 
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:44 PM   #3
BigFloyd
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If you buy either a 7ft chest freezer, upright freezer or regular size fridge, that will cover your ends nicely. I've used all three to ferment (currently using a fridge) and the only downside to the chest freezer is having to lift the bucket to get it in and out. It's now my keezer, so I get to heft corney kegs in and out.

STC-1000 is also available on Amazon for $20 shipped if you have a $25 order or two day free ship if you are a prime member. I've bought three from there and all work fine. The DIY paint can fermenter heater does a great job when you require warmth.

You are going to bless the day that you made this decision to have a ferment chamber.
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:47 PM   #4
inhousebrew
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One thing to consider is how capable you are moving heavy fermentation vessels. I work out a bit and it's still a pain lowering carboys down into the chest freezer and then lifting them out. With a fridge you just open the door and slide it in. Just something to consider. Either should work.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:07 PM   #5
kontrol
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Thanks for the quick answers guys!

You outlined issues/questions I already had.

A fridge will either need to be bigger or stripped of inside parts because there is a lot of spaces lost to trays and other useless (for my need lol) stuff. What I hate about stripping the fridge is voiding the warranty (If I'm going to buy new). Chest freezer seems to be a lot cheaper (specially for my need).

Yes a chest freezer will make it hard to drop and lift my bucket/carboys. I don't know what to think about this one at the moment. Since it's cheaper and that my gf would probably want me to buy stuff for our babies instead of investing in a fridge, I might end up with the freezer heh.

If there aren't any downside on the freezer that's cool

Everyone had good experience with the STC-1000? Or does anyone would suggest another temperature controller?

 
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:22 PM   #6
Zubius
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You could use a couple of kitchen cabinets, gutted and insulated with a mini fridge/freezer attached to the side..
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inhousebrew View Post
One thing to consider is how capable you are moving heavy fermentation vessels. I work out a bit and it's still a pain lowering carboys down into the chest freezer and then lifting them out. With a fridge you just open the door and slide it in. Just something to consider. Either should work.
This, if your not comfortable lifting about 50lbs in a upright rowing motion up to your chest to get a bucket or corny keg over the lip of a chest freezer you should get one.

Freezers will be WAY more power efficient. Every time you open the fridge door all the cold air is going to dump out onto the floor and your compressor is going to have to run for a while to get it chilled again.

My chest freezer hardly ever runs, it gets down to 35ish and sits there for most of the day.

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Old 04-16-2013, 08:05 PM   #8
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I'd consider how much u wanna brew at one time. Im only gonna do one at a time and consider lagering in corneys so I went with a 4.4 frigidaire fridge. I can ferment at any time and then cool down to whatever i need without a problem. a chest freezer at 7 cu would prob allow for 2-3 fermentors at a time or so many cornys.

I also went with the STC-1000 off of amazon, it was 20 with free shipping on prime and then went with a little Lasko heater that is supposed to work great. There's alot of peoploe who use it and alot of diagrams and videos on youtube on how to wire it. For the price and what u need it for, i don't think u'd need to invest any more $$$
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:10 PM   #9
kontrol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FuzzeWuzze View Post
This, if your not comfortable lifting about 50lbs in a upright rowing motion up to your chest to get a bucket or corny keg over the lip of a chest freezer you should get one.

Freezers will be WAY more power efficient. Every time you open the fridge door all the cold air is going to dump out onto the floor and your compressor is going to have to run for a while to get it chilled again.

My chest freezer hardly ever runs, it gets down to 35ish and sits there for most of the day.
I also thought that chest freezer would be more efficient.

Lifting 50-60lb won't be hard, but given the position I will probably have (over the freezer and arm cannot reach the bottom correctly) I don't want to hurt my back. If I have enough space I could put stuff in the bottom to lift it up so it won't be as hard.

 
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Old 04-16-2013, 08:12 PM   #10
kontrol
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pratzie View Post
I'd consider how much u wanna brew at one time. Im only gonna do one at a time and consider lagering in corneys so I went with a 4.4 frigidaire fridge. I can ferment at any time and then cool down to whatever i need without a problem. a chest freezer at 7 cu would prob allow for 2-3 fermentors at a time or so many cornys.

I also went with the STC-1000 off of amazon, it was 20 with free shipping on prime and then went with a little Lasko heater that is supposed to work great. There's alot of peoploe who use it and alot of diagrams and videos on youtube on how to wire it. For the price and what u need it for, i don't think u'd need to invest any more $$$
I don't know yet how much I would brew at the same time. How different are the temperature of your brew while fermenting?

Do you ferment 1 pale ale at 68 and another one at 66?



 
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