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Old 01-02-2009, 07:52 AM   #1
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Default fermentation temperature control options

I've been thinking for some time about getting a fridge/freezer to control fermentation control. The idea of being able to make lagers also appeals to me. And I also want to be able to convert it into a kegerator/keezer at some point.

Other relevant information: Since I live in an apartment, a full-size model is out of the question for me (so no used $20 fridges on Craigslist for me). Also, I am not a DIY kind of guy.

I've come up with two options and would appreciate any input:
1. Small chest freezer.
•Chest freezer is only $199 from Home Depot.
•Freezers are well insulated (=more energy efficient?)
•(Have not yet figured out how many cornies it contains)
•A chest freezer is more useful in the unlikely event I ever stop brewing.

•Would have to convert it to a kegerator myself
•Louder than option 2
•Takes up more floor space than option 2

Total cost: $447
•freezer: $199
•digital temperature controller from Northernbrewer: $79
•Fridge conversion kit from Northernbrewer: $169

2. Danby
•Already set up as a kegerator
•SWMBO loves stainless look (this is what she wants me to get)
•Holds three cornies

•More expensive than option 1
•Possibly less energy efficient than option 1
•Would have to modify for use as fermentation chamber (this involves disconnecting the power supply to its own digitial temperature controller)

Total cost: $552
•Danby: $473
•digital temperature controller from Northernbrewer: $79

I'm leaning toward option 1 -- the chest freezer -- right now, but because of my aversion to putzing around with stuff option 2 still seems very appealing to me.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 01-02-2009, 02:42 PM   #2
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I say go with option one. I recently put one together for under $150. I found an upright freezer that will hold 4 carboys for $100 on craigslist and picked up a Ranco controller for $40 on ebay. If you are patient and willing to wire the controller yourself it can be done on the cheap.
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