Author Topic: Refrigerator or chest freezer?  (Read 4387 times)

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #30 on: August 19, 2013, 10:30:41 AM »
I use a little dry z air (or whatever brand) desicant thingy I got at home depot. Works great. Lasts a couple months

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #31 on: August 19, 2013, 10:47:44 AM »
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.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2013, 06:11:58 AM »
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
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Offline rapurcell85

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #33 on: August 24, 2013, 04:58:04 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).
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Offline kgs

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2013, 08:06:44 AM »
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. ;-)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2013, 08:26:18 AM by kgs »
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Offline denny

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2013, 08:32:03 AM »
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.
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Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2013, 08:40:31 AM »
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?

Offline blatz

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2013, 10:12:14 AM »
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.
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Offline kgs

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2013, 10:14:11 AM »
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.
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Offline davidgzach

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #39 on: August 28, 2013, 05:50:52 AM »
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!   :)
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Offline Jarhno

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #40 on: September 11, 2013, 11:56:09 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.
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]
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 $400 or more on a fridge or freezer would be a huge plus.
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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #41 on: September 11, 2013, 12:12:28 PM »
I like my fermentation "closet" cooled by an a/c unit. Build it to size/fit what you want/need. I had the a/c unit, so it was wood and insulation and screws 30$ 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]
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
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Offline blatz

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #42 on: September 11, 2013, 01:35:44 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. 
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #43 on: September 11, 2013, 04:17:10 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]
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.
I'd really just rather be brewing in sunny Carlsbad New Mexico

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Refrigerator or chest freezer?
« Reply #44 on: September 12, 2013, 07:16:10 PM »
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.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 07:20:08 PM by ynotbrusum »
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