12v compression fridge

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Velnerj

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Hi everyone,

I was doing me some thinking about fermentation chambers. I have one that doubles as my kegerator but I'd like to have a dedicated fermentation chamber so I don't have to take the kegerator apart every time I brew a new batch.

I didn't want to expand my spatial footprint too much and buy a second refrigerator. So I started to explore my options. Glycol is too expensive and the diy glycol is too complicated for me. Then a stumbled upon the idea of those electric coolers that you can plug in and keep things cold.

I found out that not all electric coolers are created equal. Some will barely keep things cool. But there are some that have compressors and cooling systems that even keep things frozen.

My thought would be to use one of these 12v compression fridge/coolers as a fermentation vessel. Just sanitized the inside and pour the wort in, add yeast close lid and set the temperature.

I understand that it's not the most air tight but it would probably allow the CO2 to escape without exploding either... Or perhaps an airlock could be rigged up...

What do you all think? Have I lost my mind? Would this work?
 

kartracer2

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Well you have my attention! It's an idea that is certainly out of the box so to speak. Now if it's viable or not is another deal.
I'm not sure I would put wort directly in it but why not? Right?
I could see a cube fermenter in one with a homemade foam lid or something if you needed more height...
I'll be waiting to see if any body has thoughts, ideas, and / or criticisms.
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 
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Velnerj

Velnerj

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After doing some thinking and research I have two points of caution.

Firstly, compression cooler boxes aren't cheap, they are basically the same price as a mini fridge. Used mini fridges are much easier to find which means that a fridge is probably going to be cheaper.

Second, I have no idea what the functionality of one of the compression coolers when it is filled with liquid, that may cause problems. I'm not willing to experiment with that risk considering the buy in price.

Nonetheless if I'm not the only bonehead who has come up with this idea I'd be happy to hear what experiences are out there.
 

dtashmore547

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you may find it is an expensive failure, they are usually only for a very small volume and work on a Peltier disk, I built a 3 x 30lt box with polystyrene insulation and tried a 2 x 60 watt Peltier unit, big failure. ended up building a 350watt refrigeration unit to cool it down, works a treat. you will probably be best off converting another fridge to do the job.
 
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Velnerj

Velnerj

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you may find it is an expensive failure, they are usually only for a very small volume and work on a Peltier disk, I built a 3 x 30lt box with polystyrene insulation and tried a 2 x 60 watt Peltier unit, big failure. ended up building a 350watt refrigeration unit to cool it down, works a treat. you will probably be best off converting another fridge to do the job.
I think you are talking about those thermoelectric coolers that use the peltier system. I don't think that would work as it's sensitive to water...
But there's another type of cooler that actually has a compressor and runs similarly to a fridge.

 

dtashmore547

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I think you are talking about those thermoelectric coolers that use the peltier system. I don't think that would work as it's sensitive to water...
But there's another type of cooler that actually has a compressor and runs similarly to a fridge.

yes you are correct, these look to be an expensive option and I am not sure how it would be utilised as a fermentation cooler. still better to use a fridge.
 

day_trippr

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Sanitation would be problematic.
I think I'd use a fermentation bag like the no-chill guys use.
Flop the fridge on its back, drop the bag and bubbler in, strap the door closed, stand the fridge back up and have at it :)

Cheers!
 
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Velnerj

Velnerj

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Sanitation would be problematic.
Maybe one could dump boiling hot wort directly into it to Sanitize. Then switch on to cool, pitch when target temp is reached, close the lid and go. A no chill fermentation vessel/temp chamber all in one.

I feel like there's still something big I'm missing though...
 

kartracer2

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I doubt it would like being filled with boiling wort directly, I can see the liner deforming at that temp. Also my guess is that it would be a lot of work to cool the wort down to pitching temps just using the cooling system.
Still kinda like the idea though...;)
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 
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Velnerj

Velnerj

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I doubt it would like being filled with boiling wort directly, I can see the liner deforming at that temp. Also my guess is that it would be a lot of work to cool the wort down to pitching temps just using the cooling system.
Still kinda like the idea though...;)
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
There's some truth to this but is it that much difference than what we do to our mash coolers? Also not sure how well it will cool starting at that temperature....

Another way to sanitize is to fill the cooler with starsan solution that is pushed out of a purged keg...
 

Zambezi Special

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Just thinking:
Find a jerrycan that fits inside. Lid on and drill a hole somewhere for airlock or possibly better, an overflow tube.
I use "normal" cooler boxes for mash and fermentation and search for a yeast that will work at the expected temp in the cooler (lower than day time max, higher than night time low).
 

hbarsquared

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I recently picked up the Brewlution Ferminator for similar concerns - the CFO insited I was allowed exactly one fridge, and it was always going to be a kegerator. So far I'm extremely happy with it for 20L batches. I'm able to keep the temps rock solid at 10C and ramp consistently as well.

It uses a peltier element for cooling (and heating) so it's not as efficient as a compressor fridge and you can't use a fancy-pants programmable temp controller so you'll need to ramp manually, but when it's not in use you can pack it up and store it in a closet.
 
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Bad DNA

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I'm playing with a BeerMKR -- effectively the same kind of device. Peltier plates heat for pasturization and cool for fermenting. It uses a bag/bladder for the wort to avoid having liquids directly against the plates. Thermal xfer is slower for Peltier plates than a fluid-cycled system, so smaller batches would be wise if you go that route.
 
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