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Control fermentation temp.

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Rick Crane

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Hi!
I was in the introductions forum and was just informed that I have been promoted to the beginners Forum.

I want to find, (buy new) a fridge or chest cooler to hold my 5 gallon carboy with airlock so I can control fermentation temperatures. I will buy an aftermarket temp controller. Right now I want to ferment ales. I just need the carboy to fit inside, so I can close the lid, or door without modification.
thanks.
Rick
 

IslandLizard

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was just informed that I have been promoted to the beginners Forum.
Welcome to HBT!
Don't take things like that too literally. ;) We have some jokers around, and alcohol. Most is done in good spirit. ;)

You may post in any forum of your liking. Just try to place your new thread in the best fitting forum to receive the best input and feedback. There's a lot of leeway and overlap. If you feel your thread was misplaced, report the first post (click on the [Report] button, it's on the bottom of every post) and ask for the thread to be moved to whatever other forum you find more suitable.

Some threads tend to divert, that's just the way it is, normal life on internet forums.
 

IslandLizard

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Also look on Craigslist and other local market places. Friends or family may have a spare fridge or freezer they don't want or need anymore. Win-win for both.

Depending on your available space, getting a somewhat larger unit may help future proofing your purchase and efforts, allowing you to use certain fermenters that just need more space or accessories (e.g., Speidels, Fermzilla, conicals). Or maybe ferment 2 beers at the same time.
 
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Rick Crane

Rick Crane

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Also look on Craigslist and other local market places. Friends or family may have a spare fridge or freezer they don't want or need anymore. Win-win for both.

Depending on your available space, getting a somewhat larger unit may help future proofing your purchase and efforts, allowing you to use certain fermenters that just need more space or accessories (e.g., Speidels, Fermzilla, conicals). Or maybe ferment 2 beers at the same time.

Thanks. I know that guy was messing around, so I figured I would keep it going, :p

What I want is for my condo, 850 sq ft. I looked at home depot online and see one that is 3.6 cubic feet the dimensions were close, but I think I need like 12x12xnot sure how tall inches at the very minimum, so a 5 gallon carboy will fit. So the 3.6 may not work. The 5 cubic ft one may work well, and it is less than $300.00. The bottom of the chest freezers have a step in them. Does anyone else have a small chest freezer they use?

GE
Model # FCM5SKWW


freezer.jpg
 

VikeMan

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Lots of us use, or have used, chest freezers. (But I have no experience with really small ones.)

You might find this thread helpful...

But the best bet (especially for models not discussed in the other thread), IMO, is to measure your equipment, then go to the big box store (or wherever) and measure internal dimensions yourself.
 
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Rick Crane

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Thanks, found the thread very useful indeed. A lot of time and effort went into that thread and the spec sheets. My car is being fixed, i will get to Home Depot and Lowes soon to look at units up close.
 

AJinJacksonville

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I know the box stores have had runs on chest freezers for all the doomsday preppers. That being said, HBT is a great resource for others who have built that list the exact make/model for your referencing. You can always bring a couple of empty corny kegs (or buckets, etc.) to the store...get weird looks...and then physically see if it'll fit. As you've probably seen in other posts already, a wood collar can be affixed to the top to provide more headroom (and to make a suitable material for running faucets, etc.).
 
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Rick Crane

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NateDawg

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3 Dawg Night

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You can always bring a couple of empty corny kegs (or buckets, etc.) to the store...get weird looks...and then physically see if it'll fit.
Make sure to have some loose wires coming out of your kegs and running to a clock if you REALLY want to get some looks at the store (and probably a free tour of your local FBI office).
 

AJinJacksonville

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Whatever you do, just don't trip and fall and roll it into the store...even more of a sure way for a free ride and tour...haha.
 

NateDawg

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OR you could just get a tape measure and measure the dimensions of the carboy, then measure the interior of the fridge without turning any heads or needing to carry around a big container haha
 

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Mine is about 7.5 cubic ft I think and will hold two carboys without modification.

I don't regret it at all and if there is a chance you might ever want to do ten gallon batches it is good for future proofing. It was about a year old, $125 on craigslist.
 

Mark3885

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Here is my Frigidaire chest freezer inside dimensions 16”front to back 22” wide 19” deep to top of step and 28” deep without step . I added a 2x 6 collar that I leave loose on top of the freezer so I can remove the lid to get the empty half keg out easier. I use an inkbird controller. After fermentation, I pull out my blow off tube to prevent the keg from siphoning my airlock water back into the keg, then cold crash.
C052840C-D9F3-4AF8-9156-4CE06CFFA2FF.jpeg
 

mygar

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No problem. I haven't decided which one I'll be getting yet, just sharing the ones I found that look most promising. This one looks like it would definitely be big enough, cheap, and supposedly all shelves and bottom drawer can be removed. Very good reviews as well. Magic Chef 4.4 cu. ft. Mini Fridge with Freezerless Design in Stainless Steel-HMAR440ST - The Home Depot
I just received this yesterday and have it set up. At the moment I only have 1 and 3 gallon carboys... but it looks like a 5 gallon would fit. I could provide interior measurements if anyone interested.
 

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I just received this yesterday and have it set up. At the moment I only have 1 and 3 gallon carboys... but it looks like a 5 gallon would fit. I could provide interior measurements if anyone interested.
awesome, thanks for the info. I'm leaning towards going with a freezer at this point, so don't bother with measuring the dimensions (unless someone else needs them)

FWIW, this is what I'm thinking about getting at this point because it's very big for the price... Hisense 7.0 CF Chest Freezer - Walmart.com
The only problems are is out of stock (probably due to doomsday preppers as someone else had mentioned). Also, the reviews aren't great because it often comes dented when ordered online, but sounds like very few people have had functional problems. I was thinking I might pick one up in person when it's back in stock but I don't really mind if it comes dented.

Here are a few other decent products I found for anyone that might be interested in getting a freezer...
 

mygar

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awesome, thanks for the info. I'm leaning towards going with a freezer at this point, so don't bother with measuring the dimensions (unless someone else needs them)

FWIW, this is what I'm thinking about getting at this point because it's very big for the price... Hisense 7.0 CF Chest Freezer - Walmart.com
The only problems are is out of stock (probably due to doomsday preppers as someone else had mentioned). Also, the reviews aren't great because it often comes dented when ordered online, but sounds like very few people have had functional problems. I was thinking I might pick one up in person when it's back in stock but I don't really mind if it comes dented.

Here are a few other decent products I found for anyone that might be interested in getting a freezer...
I will go to a freezer at one point myself... and this fridge will become a beer cooler. Have you checked the upright freezers? Easier to get things in/out. Can see better etc. Look like they may accommodate taller conicals possibly. Would be interested in the interior dimensions on this. Of course, there are larger ones but they get pretty expensive. This looks like pretty good price with good reviews:

 

NateDawg

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I will go to a freezer at one point myself... and this fridge will become a beer cooler. Have you checked the upright freezers? Easier to get things in/out. Can see better etc. Look like they may accommodate taller conicals possibly. Would be interested in the interior dimensions on this. Of course, there are larger ones but they get pretty expensive. This looks like pretty good price with good reviews:

That one is really nice, would be better than a chest freezer especially since my carboys have spigots on them. The only thing is I'm trying to keep it in the $200 price range and it looks like most of the upright freezers are significantly pricier than the chest freezers.

I think I've made my final decision mainly because I don't feel like researching this anymore haha.

Going with this one because it's wide enough to fit 2 larger carboys (5 - 6.5 gal), excellent (and many) reviews, price is $220, which is a little higher than some of the others I've been looking at, but I think the longer width and the fact that it appears to be a better quality product makes it worth the extra money imo.
 

LittleRiver

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... this is what I'm thinking about getting at this point because it's very big for the price... Hisense 7.0 CF Chest Freezer - Walmart.com
The larger size will give you plenty of space for multiple fermenters, with space left over. Get a couple of re-usable dehumidifiers, and keep one in the freezer all the time.

...Here are a few other decent products I found for anyone that might be interested in getting a freezer...
My keezer is based on that freezer. It's only about a year and half old, but no problems so far. I got the freezer brand new in a slightly water damaged box at a building supply salvage place for $90.
 

mygar

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That one is really nice, would be better than a chest freezer especially since my carboys have spigots on them. The only thing is I'm trying to keep it in the $200 price range and it looks like most of the upright freezers are significantly pricier than the chest freezers.

I think I've made my final decision mainly because I don't feel like researching this anymore haha.

Going with this one because it's wide enough to fit 2 larger carboys (5 - 6.5 gal), excellent (and many) reviews, price is $220, which is a little higher than some of the others I've been looking at, but I think the longer width and the fact that it appears to be a better quality product makes it worth the extra money imo.
Yep the upright are more expensive for sure. That one there is pretty nice and good price! Beware... if you plan on best buy shipping to your house. They are notorious for shipping damaged appliances. Heck a reseller next to me ... has entire store stocked with dented best buy fridges. and online all kinds of folks complaining about damaged fridges and they have to bring the appliance back to store themselves.
 

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The larger size will give you plenty of space for multiple fermenters, with space left over. Get a couple of re-usable dehumidifiers, and keep one in the freezer all the time.
Thanks for the advice, but I'm wondering what is the purpose of the dehumidifier? I'm thinking a dehumidifier will not affect the humidity inside the carboy because the airlock will prevent external air from entering the carboy?
 
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LittleRiver

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... what is the purpose of the dehumidifier? I'm thinking a dehumidifier will not affect the humidity inside the carboy because the airlock will prevent external air from entering the carboy?
Your fermenters will be belching moisture laden gas. You have to control the moisture somehow, otherwise you will get mold growth inside your chamber.
 

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I will humbly submit for consideration that you dont need a freezer to control fermentation temperature to do most ales. A plastic tub filled 1/2 with water and a couple ice packs during the first 2-3 days is all that is required.
So, if you decide to go with the freezer for ferm chamber and after a few beers you dont really notice a difference...come back...we’ll help you turn into something useful like a keezer...you’re gonna love kegging
 

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Since Covid 19, Freezers have been hard to find at a decent price. The sellers admit the prices have gone up due to demand. I live in an apartment with limited space and recently purchased this mini fridge.
Frigidaire 4.4-cu ft Freestanding Mini Fridge (Silver Mist)
Item #821163Model #FFPA4422UM Goes for about $150 depending on the sale.
It has no freezer at the top to take up space, so internal dimensions are better than most. I connected to an Ink-bird. It will hold a carboy or a corny keg. Due to height restrictions, I skip the air lock on top and run a hose to pan of water in the fridge for a bubbler. Otherwise, I have used just to hold a keg at temp to continue the process.
 

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I will humbly submit for consideration that you dont need a freezer to control fermentation temperature to do most ales. A plastic tub filled 1/2 with water and a couple ice packs during the first 2-3 days is all that is required.
How do you maintain steady temp with this method? I’m assuming you would have to use a thermowell for this?
 

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How do you maintain steady temp with this method? I’m assuming you would have to use a thermowell for this?
The goal in my brewery is just good beer. My fermentation temps need to be steady enough to not produce off flavors. In my brewery that means I only need to keep my ale yeast from spiking above 66ish for the first few days when fermentation is most active. My ambient is ~69F so the first few days is really the only time I need to worry about it. After the first few days, ambient of 68-72F is not a concern in my brewery.
So, a water bath with an ice pack dropped in once or twice a day for the first 3 days is plenty of cooling power to not let my fermentation temp get to a point it’s going to be harmful....at least in my brewery.

To each their own...I think ferm chambers are awesome and if OP gets one and it makes a difference then he should keep it. If it turns out his ambient just needs a little help with a water bath then maybe his ferm chamber can become. Keezer helped the beer in my brewery a lot more then the ferm chamber.

Just my 2 cents...brew on!
 

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My ambient is ~69F so the first few days is really the only time I need to worry about it.
So, there's the rub. Ambient in my Alabama garage in July is roughly 8-gajillion degrees. I tried a swamp cooler/ice bath on my first couple of brews, but it just didn't cut it. The fermentation chamber is some of the best money I've ever spent.
 

Moose_MI

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So, there's the rub. Ambient in my Alabama garage in July is roughly 8-gajillion degrees. I tried a swamp cooler/ice bath on my first couple of brews, but it just didn't cut it. The fermentation chamber is some of the best money I've ever spent.
Absolutely...no doubt..you nailed it. As OP is saying that he’s going to put the ferm chamber in his condo I am assuming his ambient is reasonable and he may not require the same level of control that you bama fellers do in the garage. :)

brew on!
 

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So, there's the rub. Ambient in my Alabama garage in July is roughly 8-gajillion degrees. I tried a swamp cooler/ice bath on my first couple of brews, but it just didn't cut it. The fermentation chamber is some of the best money I've ever spent.
my garage in NC is a bit cooler, 3-4 gajillion degrees, and out temp in house is 77°F so a ferm chamber is definitely warranted.

I was going to add, the mini fridge as a ferm chamber can be repurposed / dual-purposed as a kegerator.
 

Moose_MI

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my garage in NC is a bit cooler, 3-4 gajillion degrees, and out temp in house is 77°F so a ferm chamber is definitely warranted.

I was going to add, the mini fridge as a ferm chamber can be repurposed / dual-purposed as a kegerator.
If my house temp was 77F I’d be sitting in my ferm chamber. :)
 

DVCNick

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I'd probably give up my kegerator before my ferm chamber.
Just kidding, but not really.
Once you've experienced the ease of setting a temp with a controller and theoretically being able to walk away for three weeks, you are never going back to an ice bath.

Re humidity: I've never done anything to actively dehumidify it, but mine is inside in the AC'd air so it is sitting in relatively low humidity which I'm sure helps. Also I just leave it open to dry completely if and when I'm not using it.
Maybe more of a problem if you are going to keep it in an non AC'd garage.
 

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my garage in NC is a bit cooler, 3-4 gajillion degrees, and out temp in house is 77°F so a ferm chamber is definitely warranted.

I was going to add, the mini fridge as a ferm chamber can be repurposed / dual-purposed as a kegerator.
I am also in NC, moved last year from western WA state where its obviously much cooler on average. What is it about the garage that it's so f'n hot all the time?! I thought it was just mine for some reason. I also keep my house at 76-77 for the most part, guess it's about being acclimated.
 

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I am also in NC, moved last year from western WA state where its obviously much cooler on average. What is it about the garage that it's so f'n hot all the time?! I thought it was just mine for some reason. I also keep my house at 76-77 for the most part, guess it's about being acclimated.
My garage is on the west side of my house, so it get's the FULL afternoon sun.
 

Fewk

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If my house temp was 77F I’d be sitting in my ferm chamber. :)
lol I’m mostly used to it but will break a sweat running the vacuum. 😂

I am also in NC, moved last year from western WA state where its obviously much cooler on average. What is it about the garage that it's so f'n hot all the time?! I thought it was just mine for some reason. I also keep my house at 76-77 for the most part, guess it's about being acclimated.
My garage is on the west side of my house, so it get's the FULL afternoon sun.
My garage also faces west and gets full exposure of the afternoon sun. No HVAC nor insulation for the garage itself = crazy heat.
 
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