Author Topic: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment  (Read 1138 times)

Offline my99thtry

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Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« on: February 01, 2010, 10:34:30 AM »
I would like to start doing controlled temperature fermentation.  This will enable me to brew all year and it is part of some feedback that I have received from some of you on the message board here.

I am looking for input on a good refrigerator that will fit a 6-gallon bucket or 5-gallon carboy.  AND it should fit in my apartment.  So a chest cooler or full-size refrigerator is out.

It does not seem like a lot of the mini fridges out there will fit the bucket w/air-lock, but maybe some of you know of or use an appropriate sized model.

Has anyone used a wine fridge?  It seems that would eliminate the need for an additional temperature controller since you could probably achieve the desired ale and lager fermenting temperatures.


Offline roffenburger

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 10:41:59 AM »
I have a sanyo 4912. My bucket fits nicely with an airlock.
Travis R.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 11:50:14 AM »
I recommend going with a chest freezer or an upright freezer - usually they are cheaper than fridges. And you can lager in them. Go ahead and get one than can accommodate 10 gallon batches.
Keith Y.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 01:08:00 PM »
Bigger is better. At least that is what I have found. Allow room for expansion and/or multiple buckets, carboys or kegs. I have a 7.5c.f. chest freezer with a Johnson controller that can hold up to two 7.5 gallon buckets and two kegs.
Ron Price

Offline skiwithg

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 04:39:14 AM »
I found a wine refrigerator on CL for $75 that fits a bucket or carboy nicely.   Larger than a dorm refrigerator, but still pretty compact.

Cheers,
Glenn

Offline my99thtry

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 07:26:28 AM »
skiwithg, do you happen to know the make/model/dimensions of the wine fridge you picked up?  How do you find the effectiveness of the temp. control on it?  I assume that you do not need an external temp. controller like you would for a regular fridge?

I figure a wine fridge is a good move.  It will suit my need for something small and compact now.  Then later when I might have more space for something larger I will have a wine fridge to use as... a wine fridge.

Offline blatz

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 07:36:44 AM »
I recommend going with a chest freezer or an upright freezer - usually they are cheaper than fridges. And you can lager in them. Go ahead and get one than can accommodate 10 gallon batches.

+1 to the upright freezer - and you can build a shelf inside to accomodate at least 4 buckets, if not 5. 
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 09:42:52 AM »
I have a chest freezer with a Love temp controller that works great.

Offline skyler

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 03:24:10 PM »
I did this recently - got a chest freezer that fits 1 carboy/bucket with airlock and one without (so I use a breathable silicone bung for secondary), along with 1 keg and a bunch of beer. If I wanted to do secondary in kegs, I could fit 4 kegs (w/airlocks) and a 5 gal carboy (w/ silicone bung) in there at once. Actually, my plan is to get a bigger chest freezer for fermenting and turn this one into a 4-keg kegerator in the future. The shelf is easily big enough to fit a big C02 tank and a nitro/beer gas tank as well (so one of my taps could be a nitro tap). I'm not sure if I'm going to go the collar route or the tower route, as both have obvious advantages.

The bottom line: buy for expansion, because you will likely need it. On the other hand, any model that can be used for a standard kegerator (with a sankey keg) would be just about the right size for a single bucket or carboy.

Offline skiwithg

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Re: Controlled Temp. Fermentation Equipment
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 04:38:33 AM »
skiwithg, do you happen to know the make/model/dimensions of the wine fridge you picked up?  How do you find the effectiveness of the temp. control on it?  I assume that you do not need an external temp. controller like you would for a regular fridge?

I figure a wine fridge is a good move.  It will suit my need for something small and compact now.  Then later when I might have more space for something larger I will have a wine fridge to use as... a wine fridge.

It's a Magic Chef brand, model unknown, about 31 x 21 x 21, intended to hold about 16 to 24 bottles.  I do use a Ranco two-stage temperature controller:  one side for the wine frig, the other for a fermwrap heater.  I place the probe under bubble wrap  taped to the side of the carboy, it keeps the beer right at my desired fermentation temp in any season.  I'm in NJ so we do get big swings over the course of the year.

Cheers,
Glenn