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How to make a lager fridge?

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Vgonman

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Folks,

I have been extract brewing for a year, and have had alot of great successes. I am interested in getting into lagering, but i want to set myself up right from the start. Can anyone advise me on how to find the proper fridge, and adapt it to hold the correct temps to get the best results?
 

vtfan99

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Any fridge will do...or a chest freezer. What is the space requirements of your carboys/buckets. How many batches do you plan on lagering at once? These two questions can help you determine how large a lagering fridge/freezer you need. Another important factor is money. How much are you looking to spend? I was lucky enough to find someone who was getting rid of their old fridge, so they gave it to me for free. That makes it the perfect fridge as far as Im concerned. Ask around.

As for maintaining temperature, buy an external temperature controller. These can be found pre-wired at homebrew shops or unwired from various controls suppliers (for a significantly lower price). The controller will allow you to set your fridge/freezer to virtually any temperature (as long as its in the functional range of the fridge/freezer).
 
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Vgonman

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Interesting...So I can use a chest freezer and the temperature range will not necessarily make me "freeze"? I never knew that. I probably would not lager more than a couple batches at a time, so I may be able to talk my wife into buying a bigger freezer, and then using my old small chest freezer for lagering..........(fingers crossed)
 

vtfan99

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You need to have an external controller attached to the freezer in order to maintain a temp above freezing. Using the freezer temp control will not get you out of the freezing range.
 

JacktheKnife

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Wow,

I woke up this morning thinking about
how much I wished I could brew lager.
I like ale and it is fine but I always,
wish I had room for an old fridge for making lager.

I never knew a freezer could be adapted with a temp. controller
to be less than freezing.
And I actually have a good freezer on my porch.
It is full of Coon, Cat, and Coyote hides now.
And I get my disability check today.
I am also on the way to the homebrew supply today too!

Thanks 'vtfan' for the profoundly good advise.
In such a timley manner.
I may not have enough money for a controller today,
but will ask old Kelly and Gary about one,
the realization that my freezer could be adapted to brew beer is exciting.

A new door gasket and a temp. controller has just doubled my productive capacity.

Thanks vtfan
and what does vt fan refer to?


J. Knife
 
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Vgonman

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I just found an article on making a controller for your freezer.......... BYO magazine, May-June 2004 Vol 10 No. 3, page 53............does not look too hard to do!
 

DeRoux's Broux

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Vgonman said:
Interesting...So I can use a chest freezer and the temperature range will not necessarily make me "freeze"? I never knew that. I probably would not lager more than a couple batches at a time, so I may be able to talk my wife into buying a bigger freezer, and then using my old small chest freezer for lagering..........(fingers crossed)
Vgonman, just from my set-up, you can only fit one carboy in a 7 cu ft chest freezer. you'll need to go bigger if your planning on doing more than that at one time (or 2 may fit in a fridge?). and remember that you'll need to have the temp set at 55-58 degrees for primary, then 30-32 for lagering for at least 4 weeks. so, you would have to have two brews at the same schedule to have them going at the same temp range. plus, i use a chest freezer so when i open it up to peek, all the cold air doesn't rush out and over my feet! :D
 

JacktheKnife

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Just got back from the homebrew headquarters,
I got an external temp control and a book:
'Brewing Lager' by Greg Noonan
This morning I called the fridge repair place to get a door gasket for the old Montgomery ward freezer out on the porch.
Things are coming about...

I sure appreciate the advice on using the old freezer.
Gary at the homebrew headquarters,
said no secondary is nesessary, and told me all this high math stuff,
I had better read the book tonight.
And concentrate on getting the freezer temp control hooked up but it wouild seem that just plugging it in should do the trick.

I also got 33 lbs of pale syrup and asked abouit getting a 300lb barrel of syrup. Gary said about a dollar a pound would do it!
Thats half price from what I have been paying.

Scuse me I am brewing... and thanks again

{I was born in Virginia}


J. Knife
 

vtfan99

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300 lbs of syrup?!?!...Now that will make some beer. Glad things are working out for you. I've only made one lager so far. Im a little impatient, so its tough, but man did it turn out great. Surprisingly great. Good luck to ya.
 
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Vgonman

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How much did the controller cost you? And how does it work?
 

JacktheKnife

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Hi,

I paid nearly $60. for a temp. control
which plugs into the wall socket,
then the freezer plugs into it.
A little thermomitor on a wire goes into the freezer,
Set it, and thats it.
Idiot proof! Works for me...

Good luck

J. Knife
 
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Vgonman

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Too cool. I can's tell you guys that this is a great list. So much info!
 
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