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Fridge as Ferment Chiller?

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SwAMi75

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As I mentioned before, I $#&^ed up a brand new compact fridge drilling it for conversion to a keggerator. I'm sure ORRELSE and I can get it going again, but I doubt it'll be as efficient as it would have been new.

So, I'm thinking that with an external temp controller, it would serve well as a ferment chiller. Do you think it could maintain a temp of 62-65F? I figure for summertime, it shouldn't be a problem, as I plan to keep it in the garage. For wintertime, I'm sure I'd have to bring it in the house. Or lager in it.

Am I on to something here?
 

vtfan99

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This is exactly what I do. I bought a Ranco controller and use it to control my fridge. It has no problem maintaining temp in the mid 60s during the summer. When it gets colder, you can hook the controller up to a heat source within the fridge in order to maintain temp. I have never done this so I don't know what a good source is (or how safe it is).

Ranco makes a single stage and a double stage controller. Basically, the single stage can connect to a cooling source (the fridge) OR a heating source. The two stage can connect to both a cooling AND a heating source. If you look around on the web, you should be able to find these things for a decent price unwired. Just grab an extension cord from Lowes, cut it open and wire according to the directions. If you buy it prewired from a brew store, plan to pay at least 30 bucks more. If I remember, I paid about 45 (including shipping) for my single stage......the same one that Northern Brewer is selling for $80.
 

2nd Street Brewery

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I am using an old fridge as a ferment chiller right now with a Johson 2 stage controller and have been able to keep the temps in the 40s for my Lagers with no problem, even with the high temps we've had up NE this year.
 
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SwAMi75

SwAMi75

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vtfan99 said:
This is exactly what I do. I bought a Ranco controller and use it to control my fridge. It has no problem maintaining temp in the mid 60s during the summer. When it gets colder, you can hook the controller up to a heat source within the fridge in order to maintain temp. I have never done this so I don't know what a good source is (or how safe it is).

Ranco makes a single stage and a double stage controller. Basically, the single stage can connect to a cooling source (the fridge) OR a heating source. The two stage can connect to both a cooling AND a heating source. If you look around on the web, you should be able to find these things for a decent price unwired. Just grab an extension cord from Lowes, cut it open and wire according to the directions. If you buy it prewired from a brew store, plan to pay at least 30 bucks more. If I remember, I paid about 45 (including shipping) for my single stage......the same one that Northern Brewer is selling for $80.
Wow....I never knew you could use one to heat as well as cool. Now I'm getting all kinds of crazy ideas. :D

Seems to me the easiest source of heat would be a light bulb. I'd bet that a regular 75-100 watt light bulb would do the trick in a 45-50dF garage. If not, a heat lamp should do the trick. The obvious problem with that is protecting the beer from light, but that could be solved with some redneck engenuity.

Thanks also 2nd St....it's good to know I could lager in it, if I were so inclined.

So....any more ideas on using a dual stage temp controller for maintaining 60-70dF in a fridge? Ideas on cheap and easy heat sources would be most appreciated.
 
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