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Old 06-14-2013, 04:59 PM   #1
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Default Chest Freezer for Fermentation Chamber?

Been extract brewing for awhile now (year), and have come to realize that maintaining solid 60's fermentation temps is my biggest hurdle. I keep getting an "off" flavor that is sorta harsh, mouth puckering(ish)...so I believe its astringent or "alcoholic", which I believe is either due to oxidation or high fermentation temps.

I know that I want to build a Keezer at SOME point down the road, and I was wondering if anyone had any insight in buying a chest freezer (and temp control) and use that to get solid 60-70 temps while fermenting and upgrade it to a keezer when money is more available.

I have done the wet towel route, but the scientist in me wants control and precision. I don't have room in my apartment for a full stand up fridge, so that is why I was wondering if a chest freezer would be better (since I plan to get one later anyway). Good brands that will fit a 6 gallon carboy?

Thoughts? Comments? Please tell me if I am being an idiot and should just put it in a pail of water and wet towel method for now.


Cheers


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Old 06-14-2013, 05:05 PM   #2
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You're the first person to think of this!

No, you can absolutely do this, many many many many people have in the past and it works great. Look for floor models, end of life models or really good sales to save money. Used works as well of course.


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Old 06-14-2013, 05:07 PM   #3
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I bought a chest freezer from a buddy for $60. I picked up an STC-1000 from ebay for $20 plus a few bucks shipping. I wired the controller in (no project box, direct wire-in) and it's sitting in my garage keeping my fermenting brew at a cool 66*.

Do it! It's cheap, easy, and effective.

I also have a keezer. It's extremely difficult to have one chest freezer for everything because beer needs to be served much colder than fermentation temperatures. Plus, unless you have a BIG freezer, it's tough to get 3-4 kegs plus a carboy/ferm bucket in there.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:34 PM   #4
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One word for the freezer...........craigslist.
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Old 06-15-2013, 03:49 PM   #5
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Awesome, thanks guys.

Just confirmed what I was thinking. I'll start to scope out CL for some cheap ones.

Thanks again!

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Old 06-15-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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Mine's doing double duty as a fermentation chamber and 4 tap kegerator.





I want to add another as a dedicated kegerator in my basement, behind my bar.
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesIPA View Post
I bought a chest freezer from a buddy for $60. I picked up an STC-1000 from ebay for $20 plus a few bucks shipping. I wired the controller in (no project box, direct wire-in) and it's sitting in my garage keeping my fermenting brew at a cool 66*.

Do it! It's cheap, easy, and effective.

I also have a keezer. It's extremely difficult to have one chest freezer for everything because beer needs to be served much colder than fermentation temperatures. Plus, unless you have a BIG freezer, it's tough to get 3-4 kegs plus a carboy/ferm bucket in there.

For the most part, you are right - however if you are making lagers, you could get away with serving and lagering at the same temps. But if you are doing ales - it'll be a little rough. Since many of the ferm temps for ales are in the 60s-70....which is too warm for basically everything...even Belgians.

You could do this though - you could brew two batches over a weekend or two weeks and then put them in the temp controller freezer at a certain temp. They would basically be on the same schedule (of course you should probably use either two lagers or two ales) unless you are going to cold crash one or both of them. That way you are utilizing the temps for as much as possible then when they are done fermenting - then you can turn the temp down to serving temps.

You could also do one other thing...I haven't tried this yet but will probably do so soon. You could get some 2" rigid foam insulation and make yourself a rectangular upright box that would encase your fermentation bucket or your carboy. Of course you would assemble it with some foamboard adhesive and assemble all sides except for the "lid". That way you can assemble it and put it in your chest freezer and then put your fermenter inside it and then put the lid on it. That way it'll keep the temps inside your "fermentation chamber" warmer than the rest of the chest freezer. We all know fermentation can increase temps by 5-10 or more degrees but with something that is insulating it...it might be able to keep it warmer. Plus it shouldn't kick on the compressor so much.
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Old 06-15-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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Mine does double duty as well. If I'm fermenting ales I'll just fill up some 2L soda bottles from the keg(s) and put them in the refrigerator as needed.
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Old 06-16-2013, 04:02 PM   #9
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My first fermenter chamber was a 7 CF chest freezer with an STC-1000. Worked great. It's now been re-assigned (pic below) to be the keezer in my game room and I use a fridge for fermenting plus an upright freezer for cold crashing/lagering (@ 35*F). All of my units are controlled with STC-1000s.

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Old 06-17-2013, 12:27 AM   #10
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^^^ The upright piano keezer!


Sweet looking keezer Bigfloyd.


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