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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: denny on August 16, 2013, 08:41:07 PM

Title: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2013, 08:41:07 PM
Which is better for fermentation?  Will running a chest freezer at fermentation temps shorten its life?
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: beersk on August 16, 2013, 08:45:35 PM
If you're asking this, then I have no authority to answer...

I recently switched the roles of my chest freezer and kegerator (2 tap tower fridge). Built a collar for my chest freezer and use the fridge, with tower removed and holed plugged, for fermentation. I like it better. I would imagine that it's harder on the freezer's compressor to run it so warm, versus a fridge, which is usually set at a much warmer temp in general than a chest freezer.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: morticaixavier on August 16, 2013, 08:46:43 PM
wow Denny. moving up in the world huh?
I have heard that it will shorten the life of a freezer to run at higher than normal temps but I think that if you can avoid too many short cycles it will be fine. The fridge is a problem because every time you open it all the cold falls out. course you don't have to lift buckets into the fridge.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Joe Sr. on August 16, 2013, 08:47:44 PM
I can't answer with any authority, as I don't know, but I can't imagine it would.  You shouldn't be short cycling the motor which is where the wear and tear would come from.

My plan is to get an upright fridge because I don't look forward to lifting fermenters in and out of a chest freezer.  I see back pain when I think of that.  And I don't want to spend months rigging some sort of block and tackle in my basement to eliminate the lifting.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: beersk on August 16, 2013, 08:51:48 PM
I can't answer with any authority, as I don't know, but I can't imagine it would.  You shouldn't be short cycling the motor which is where the wear and tear would come from.

My plan is to get an upright fridge because I don't look forward to lifting fermenters in and out of a chest freezer.  I see back pain when I think of that.  And I don't want to spend months rigging some sort of block and tackle in my basement to eliminate the lifting.
This is why I switched and went the fridge route for fermenting and freezer for kegerator. Got tired of lifting carboys in and out of the freezer.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: duboman on August 16, 2013, 08:53:08 PM
One thing I have heard regarding chest freezers is moisture problem can develop because they do not manage moisture the same way refrigerators do, especially when maintaining temperatures higher than they are meant to be run. Whether this shortens the life or not I have no experience but the moisture issue is one I have seen addressed many times. It's my understanding the mold can develop on the inside and drainage of moisture can create issues externally depending upon its location.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Stevie on August 16, 2013, 08:59:55 PM
Damprid helps with the moisture and using thermowells helps with short cycles. I also keep the freezer as full as possible using 5 gallon buckets filled with water.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2013, 09:16:47 PM
wow Denny. moving up in the world huh?
I have heard that it will shorten the life of a freezer to run at higher than normal temps but I think that if you can avoid too many short cycles it will be fine. The fridge is a problem because every time you open it all the cold falls out. course you don't have to lift buckets into the fridge.

Yeah, getting tired of carrying buckets up to the house to out them in a tub of water.  Yesterday the water overflowed onto new carpet and it was kinda the last straw.

Whichever I use for fermentation, I don't imagine it being opened too frequently.  If I go for the freezer, I'll put empty buckets in it and pump the wort in.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2013, 09:27:05 PM
How about preferences for a temp controller?  Johnson A419 or Ranco ETC-111000?
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: michaeltrego on August 16, 2013, 09:31:12 PM
I went with a used upright freezer for fermentation.  It helps to avoid lifting, and with a dual stage controller (Ranco ETC-211000) you can ale and lager to your heart's content.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Stevie on August 16, 2013, 09:32:46 PM
How about preferences for a temp controller?  Johnson A419 or Ranco ETC-111000?


STC-1000 but I want a BrewPi
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 16, 2013, 09:36:53 PM
How about preferences for a temp controller?  Johnson A419 or Ranco ETC-111000?


STC-1000

Is that Ranco?
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: thebigbaker on August 16, 2013, 09:47:57 PM
I've got a Johnson A149 and it's been great and very simple to use.  I've only had it about two months though.  I picked up a chest freezer in June and have been happy using it as a fermentation chamber.  A little condensation does collect in there, but I just wipe it down when ever I open it up. 

I've been happy with the set up and since I did well before w/ controlling temps w/ wet t-shirts and fans, no real difference in the final product.  However, it's definitely a lot less work and less of a mess! 
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Stevie on August 16, 2013, 09:50:27 PM
How about preferences for a temp controller?  Johnson A419 or Ranco ETC-111000?


STC-1000

Is that Ranco?

Sorry, it's one of these from China. Pricing varies from $16-22 shipped. Only bad thing is it only reads in Celsius.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-All-Purpose-PID-Temperature-Control-Controller-STC-1000-W-Sensor-110V-/370773791107?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5653d71183

Wiring took all of 30 minutes. Pretty sure I followed this guys instructions, but there are loads more out there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7I-iwFLykxs

$50 worth of parts + 30 minutes = dual stage controller.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: klickitat jim on August 16, 2013, 09:55:52 PM
Converting chest freezers to refrigerators is popular in the energy conservation crowd. Cold air stays in chest when opened. I guess they are far more efficient too. Read up on energy costs and conservation in Canada.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Jimmy K on August 16, 2013, 10:01:49 PM
My Johnson digital controller has a short cycle prevention setting. Also, a big freezer can hold several carboys.


Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: repo on August 16, 2013, 10:53:14 PM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: HobsonDrake on August 16, 2013, 11:20:16 PM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
Repo
Would like to see pictures of your setup. Maybe post one or link to one that is up?
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: repo on August 17, 2013, 04:39:51 AM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
Repo
Would like to see pictures of your setup. Maybe post one or link to one that is up?
https://sphotos-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/q71/s320x320/1170886_498452870241586_1033276336_n.jpg

https://fbcdn-sphotos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/q71/s320x320/999599_498463366907203_101578312_n.jpg

https://sphotos-a-sjc.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/q77/s320x320/9347_498463603573846_302569114_n.jpg

Here are a few shots, I can squeeze four 5 gallon batches in there. I will make it bigger next time, didn't want to go nuts in a rental
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: majorvices on August 17, 2013, 10:56:21 AM
Chest freezer problems are numerous. They creat a Tom of condensation, they only last about 4-5 years cycling the compressor on and off, and they are a pain in the back lowering kegs, carboys, buckets. But on the other hand, I can fit 8 kegs in my chest freezer, so that's what I go with!
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: corkybstewart on August 17, 2013, 01:53:56 PM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
That's what I did.  But I had the wood and everything else, I just had to buy a $100 AC.  Here's a picture of the inside of mine:
[URL=http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html](http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg) (http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html)
Even though it's around 100F in my garage right now, I'm fermenting a smoked roggenbier at 54F internal temp(notice the temp probe wire going into the thermowell).  The AC probably runs less than 15 minutes per hour to keep the temp stable.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 17, 2013, 03:39:51 PM
Chest freezer problems are numerous. They creat a Tom of condensation, they only last about 4-5 years cycling the compressor on and off, and they are a pain in the back lowering kegs, carboys, buckets. But on the other hand, I can fit 8 kegs in my chest freezer, so that's what I go with!

I want something I can get 2 buckets into.  They'll go in empty, so that solves at least the first part of the problem.  Still gotta get the full ones out, though!  If I could fit in a couple kegs for storage, not serving, it would be a plus.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: majorvices on August 17, 2013, 03:43:05 PM
15 cu ft chest freezer is what I use. Works great. Holds 4 buckets easily. You could maybe put the freezer up on a frame (in the south we just use cinder blocks :P) off the ground and siphon the beer out.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 17, 2013, 05:15:45 PM
15 cu ft chest freezer is what I use. Works great. Holds 4 buckets easily. You could maybe put the freezer up on a frame (in the south we just use cinder blocks :P) off the ground and siphon the beer out.

Thanks for the info.  Off to price freezers!
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: erockrph on August 17, 2013, 06:12:42 PM
15 cu ft chest freezer is what I use. Works great. Holds 4 buckets easily. You could maybe put the freezer up on a frame (in the south we just use cinder blocks :P) off the ground and siphon the beer out.

Thanks for the info.  Off to price freezers!

If you're not in a huge rush and want to price shop http://www.homebrewfinds.com usually finds a good deal on various models a couple times a month. The sale prices are usually a real good deal if you find a model on sale that fits your needs.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 17, 2013, 06:32:43 PM
15 cu ft chest freezer is what I use. Works great. Holds 4 buckets easily. You could maybe put the freezer up on a frame (in the south we just use cinder blocks :P) off the ground and siphon the beer out.

Thanks for the info.  Off to price freezers!

If you're not in a huge rush and want to price shop http://www.homebrewfinds.com usually finds a good deal on various models a couple times a month. The sale prices are usually a real good deal if you find a model on sale that fits your needs.

Thanks.  There's no big hurry, so I'll check it out.  I found one at Home depot for about $400, including delivery.  Delivery is important.  I have no way to haul one.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Stevie on August 18, 2013, 03:29:10 AM
Never pay full price. Sale prices an freezers are sometimes 40% below "retail."
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 18, 2013, 04:13:12 PM
Never pay full price. Sale prices an freezers are sometimes 40% below "retail."

Yeah, that's what I'm finding as I look.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: DrewG on August 19, 2013, 04:53:09 PM
I've got the Ranco dual stage. Very happy with it.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: kylekohlmorgen on August 19, 2013, 05:04:05 PM
Whichever I use for fermentation, I don't imagine it being opened too frequently.  If I go for the freezer, I'll put empty buckets in it and pump the wort in.

Chest freezers sweat (a lot) at fermentation temps. Even though I clean mine fairly regularly, I wouldn't trust it with open fermentors and sweet wort.

Plus you'll have to eventually get the wort OUT, so unless you're somehow elevating the freezer, you'll have to lug full buckets up and over anyway.

I got my little ferm fridge free on the side of the road when a couple moved out down the street. It works great. Barely fits one bucket, but that's all ya need.

As far as the controller: My ambient basement temperature (where the fridge is) is usually lower than my ale ferment or diacetyl rest temps, so I use a dual stage and a heat belt to keep the fermenter temp steady at the back end of fermentation.

The dual stage is worth it: It really nails ferm temps within a degree, allows you to ferment anywhere, and allows you to maintain relatively high temps (for saisons, high gravity brews, diacetyl rests, etc.)
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: klickitat jim on August 19, 2013, 05:30:41 PM
I use a little dry z air (or whatever brand) desicant thingy I got at home depot. Works great. Lasts a couple months
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Jimmy K on August 19, 2013, 05:47:44 PM
Plus you'll have to eventually get the wort OUT, so unless you're somehow elevating the freezer, you'll have to lug full buckets up and over anyway.
That's  good point. Getting full kegs or carboys into a freezer is awkward. Getting them out is worse (down is easier than up). But kegs are usually empty when you pull them out. Plus, kegs don't break.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: davidgzach on August 21, 2013, 01:11:58 PM
Denny, I go Johnson controller with a chest freezer.  Not sure of the square footage but I can fit 4 buckets in there.  It was given to me by my bro-in-law, is a million years old and still works great for me after 3 years of fermentation use.  Cycling is not a problem if you keep it full!

I found my upright freezer on Craigslist for $100.  If you have time and can find a cheap way to haul it, it's a great way to go.

Dave
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: rapurcell85 on August 24, 2013, 11:58:04 PM
I use a chest freezer as a fermentation chamber.  Not sure exactly how big it is, but I can easily fit 2 six gallon better bottles in there and I know it's one of the smaller models.  I had a horrible problem with moisture, but got some Damp Rid from Home Depot, and put it in the freezer.  That took care of the moisture (as long as I refill it when I should).
Bob
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: kgs on August 25, 2013, 03:06:44 PM
For the right balance of price and ergonomics I went with a small all-fridge refrigerator (a Danby, http://www.danby.com/en/US/our_products/refrigeration/dar044a2sldd ). It was at CostCo and I happened to have a CostCo rebate check that paid for most of it. I wanted to avoid lifting items in and out of a freezer and I had seen discussions about using this fridge.

As a 3-gallon brewer, it works great without further modification. The fridge doubles as a printer stand. :-) However, you'd need to modify it to fit standard fermenters, and this newer model requires more work to do that (the previous model had a door panel that screwed off, this one is glued in). There are Youtube videos if you're interested.

I use the Johnson controller and it works great. I put velcro on the back of it. But the two-stage controller was probably overkill... I doubt I will ever use it the "other" direction.

It's limited to one batch at a time, but even without considering the advantage of controlled-temp brewing, the advantage of no longer lugging a fermenter up and down stairs cannot be underestimated. 

Edit: Denny, two things you might consider in your planning are a) where is your brewing "pain point" and b) how long you plan to be brewing in the future.  You've mentioned the lifting issue several times in the past--it seems to be the thing that takes away from the hobby for you. For me, I'm not a champeen homebrewer but I'd like to be brewing my little batches for a good long time to come, and that means ensuring my brewing workflow is designed around my gently aging self. My dream is to build a highly accessible, all-electric brewstand that could be used by someone with limited physical mobility and less-than-acute vision. I will never be the world's best homebrewer, but with enough planning I could eventually be the oldest. ;-)
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: denny on August 25, 2013, 03:32:03 PM
Edit: Denny, two things you might consider in your planning are a) where is your brewing "pain point" and b) how long you plan to be brewing in the future.  You've mentioned the lifting issue several times in the past--it seems to be the thing that takes away from the hobby for you. For me, I'm not a champeen homebrewer but I'd like to be brewing my little batches for a good long time to come, and that means ensuring my brewing workflow is designed around my gently aging self. My dream is to build a highly accessible, all-electric brewstand that could be used by someone with limited physical mobility and less-than-acute vision. I will never be the world's best homebrewer, but with enough planning I could eventually be the oldest. ;-)

Wise advice!  Right now, lifting isn't much of an issue.  Although I dislike it, I can still do it without much problem.  If I keep brewing another 10+ years (my intention) it might get to be more of an issue.  I'll have to modify my system as I fond things that I need it to do for me that don't happen now.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: klickitat jim on August 25, 2013, 03:40:31 PM
I wonder if one of our mechanical members could design a stand with a fulcrum boom swivel that would lift a 5 gallon fermentor, swing it over a freezer, etc. Maybe with a locking pin to hold it up in the air for racking?
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: blatz on August 25, 2013, 05:12:14 PM
There isn't any more lifting with an upright chest freezer vs a fridge.

I have two of them, and before I used conicals I put four carboys or buckets in them.

I wouldn't use a horizontal chest freezer for fermenting.  I deadlift 385 and I still have a heck of a time wrangling kegs in and out of my horizontal freezer, can't imagine dealing with a bucket or carboy.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: kgs on August 25, 2013, 05:14:11 PM
I wonder if one of our mechanical members could design a stand with a fulcrum boom swivel that would lift a 5 gallon fermentor, swing it over a freezer, etc. Maybe with a locking pin to hold it up in the air for racking?

An interesting AHA research project would be a feasibility study on various approaches to improving accessibility for homebrewing. Less formally, a wiki page on easing the physical process would be easy enough to kick into gear. Hoists, wagons, lifts, small-batch brewing, etc. I personally am happy with my RAID setup (Random Array of Inexpensive Danbys) but there are many approaches and I still haven't solved for other parts of my workflow. Even a scenario exercise would be useful for visualizing the physical challenges that crop up in a typical homebrewing workflow.

In terms of homebrewing and accessibility, the situations I observe the most are a) women who share with me that they find homebrewing too cumbersome, especially at the 5-gallon level; they find the hobby interesting but frustrating, and b) posts on discussion boards where someone who has been brewing a long time comments that he has scaled back because of a physical life event such as a strained back, illness, etc.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: davidgzach on August 28, 2013, 12:50:52 PM
There isn't any more lifting with an upright chest freezer vs a fridge.

I have two of them, and before I used conicals I put four carboys or buckets in them.

I wouldn't use a horizontal chest freezer for fermenting.  I deadlift 385 and I still have a heck of a time wrangling kegs in and out of my horizontal freezer, can't imagine dealing with a bucket or carboy.

Paul, a gallon of water weighs about 8.5#.  A 6 gallon carboy would then be about 51# plus the carboy.  If you can deadlift 385, it should be like feathers to you!   :)
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: Jarhno on September 11, 2013, 06:56:09 PM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
That's what I did.  But I had the wood and everything else, I just had to buy a $100 AC.  Here's a picture of the inside of mine:
[URL=http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html](http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg) (http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html)
Even though it's around 100F in my garage right now, I'm fermenting a smoked roggenbier at 54F internal temp(notice the temp probe wire going into the thermowell).  The AC probably runs less than 15 minutes per hour to keep the temp stable.

That is a really interesting setup. How stable does this closet method keep the temperature? I love working with my hands and not spending $400 or more on a fridge or freezer would be a huge plus.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: morticaixavier on September 11, 2013, 07:12:28 PM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
That's what I did.  But I had the wood and everything else, I just had to buy a $100 AC.  Here's a picture of the inside of mine:
[URL=http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html](http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg) (http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html)
Even though it's around 100F in my garage right now, I'm fermenting a smoked roggenbier at 54F internal temp(notice the temp probe wire going into the thermowell).  The AC probably runs less than 15 minutes per hour to keep the temp stable.

That is a really interesting setup. How stable does this closet method keep the temperature? I love working with my hands and not spending $400 or more on a fridge or freezer would be a huge plus.

with a decent temp controller a setup like that will keep the internal temp dead on with 1 or 2 degrees or so in either direction. The beer temp will be even more stable due to the higher thermal mass
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: blatz on September 11, 2013, 08:35:44 PM

Paul, a gallon of water weighs about 8.5#.  A 6 gallon carboy would then be about 51# plus the carboy.  If you can deadlift 385, it should be like feathers to you!   :)

 ;D not the weight, rather the shape/size and fragility that makes them cumbersome. 
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: corkybstewart on September 11, 2013, 11:17:10 PM
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ or so for mine.
That's what I did.  But I had the wood and everything else, I just had to buy a $100 AC.  Here's a picture of the inside of mine:
[URL=http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html](http://i362.photobucket.com/albums/oo65/rocdoc1/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg) (http://s362.photobucket.com/user/rocdoc1/media/my%20beer%20stuff/WeeHeavyOctober2009014.jpg.html)
Even though it's around 100F in my garage right now, I'm fermenting a smoked roggenbier at 54F internal temp(notice the temp probe wire going into the thermowell).  The AC probably runs less than 15 minutes per hour to keep the temp stable.

That is a really interesting setup. How stable does this closet method keep the temperature? I love working with my hands and not spending $400 or more on a fridge or freezer would be a huge plus.
I have the temp controller set to a 2 degree variance, so if it's set at 54F it won't get above 56 internal temp.  If I do this again I'll go to a used appliance store and get a dead upright freezer carcass to convert.  It would already be very well insulated and have a good door, something my box needs badly.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: ynotbrusum on September 13, 2013, 02:16:10 AM
I have two chest freezers and separate A419 controllers one at ferment temps and the other at lager temps.  I am in the process of setting up unistrut with a carriage mechanism to roll on the unistrut along a pathway between the two.  The lift will be a rope hoist used for hanging deer.  The hoist uses pulleys to minimize the effort to lift.  I have the pieces but I have to engineer the angle for fastening against the angled ceiling (it is not flat above the freezers, so it may simply be a wooden piece ripped at the angle to make it work).  The system will be tons cheaper than a large motor hoist or similar standalone apparatus.
Title: Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
Post by: reverseapachemaster on September 13, 2013, 02:58:43 PM
I have a small fridge that tightly fits a tall 7.9 gallon bucket. It's larger than the usual small fridge but much smaller than a regular fridge. Found it on craigslist for $40. Some guy was using it as a kegerator so it has the hole drilled in the top. It fits corny kegs (barely) so it may have a future use as a kegerator. Like everybody else I run it on a digital controller.

It doesn't get cold enough to lager and I don't keg to justify a chest freezer so I can't lager beers properly. I can get beer down to the low 40s which gets me in the neighborhood of a decent lager. So what you brew makes a big difference in which option might work best for you.