Author Topic: Mini fridge  (Read 1846 times)

Offline jaftak22

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Mini fridge
« on: September 02, 2014, 12:55:58 AM »
I know how important fermentation temps are and I wanna step up my game. Came across a thread for this fridge. Have any of you used this for a 6.5 gallon carboy?

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/external-link/?f=51&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FIgloo-4.6-cu.-ft.-Refrigerator-and-Freezer-Black-FR464%2F15162430
« Last Edit: September 02, 2014, 12:58:58 AM by jaftak22 »

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 01:04:54 AM »
I'm a fan of chest freezers. The cold doesn't all spill out when you open the door.

Offline wingnut

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 02:06:07 AM »
I use a wine fridge (glass door dorm fridge) with a Johnson Temp controller wired into the compressor circuit.   It has been in service for about 4 years now, with no complaints. 

I chose this model because I could put a bucket or carboy on the floor NEXT to the hump and still close the door.  The evaporator is a plate along the back, so there is plenty of height.   

That is the killer with the dorm fridge, most are just a little bit shy on space depth wise for a carboy next to the hump (that houses the compressor) and once you build a shelf so you can put the carboy on the shelf, you run out of height. 

I would look at the dimensions and if it fits.....GET IT!!!   My beers improved from "homebrew" to winning awards once I started managing my fermentation temps. 

DoitDoitDoitDoit...  :-)
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Offline jaftak22

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2014, 02:47:08 PM »
So I do like the idea of using a mini fridge or wine fridge. But I bought a 16 cubic ft stand up fridge. Now that I have one I just need to buy a temp control. It already has shelves in it so no modifications there. Will I need to do any other modifications to it?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2014, 03:01:56 PM »
So I do like the idea of using a mini fridge or wine fridge. But I bought a 16 cubic ft stand up fridge. Now that I have one I just need to buy a temp control. It already has shelves in it so no modifications there. Will I need to do any other modifications to it?

for fermentation all you need is the temp controller. you might find you need moisture control at some point, one of those plug in reusable salt based dehumidifiers or just a box of damprid
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2014, 04:00:54 PM »
You need to be able to control the temperature. Most fridges run at temperatures too cold for fermentation and you are left to guess at the temperatures produced by the knob control in the fridge. Some have digital thermometers and allow tighter control of temperature by using the manufacturer's temperature control system but that is rare for smaller fridges, except some wine fridges. If you are using a fridge without good temperature control then you will want to buy a temperature controller. Some are designed to be wired into the fridge while others just require you to plug the fridge into the controller. Which is right for you depends on your confidence in wiring appliances.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2014, 06:08:00 PM »

Will I need to do any other modifications to it?

Make sure the shelves will support the weight of the carboy. If not, you can build a wooden support box. Most stand up fridge kegorators need this, so info is out there, but for fermentors its usually not necessary.

Until recently, I taped the controller probe to the side of the fermentor. Just bought a thermowell stopper for my carboy, and there is a significant difference between the temp on side and the inner liquid. Cheap investment, high return.

I like my pre-wired, 2-stage Ranco from MoreBeer. You can DIY but its a PITA. $150 well spent IME.
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Offline cmooreseymour

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2014, 03:40:42 PM »
Instead of a thermowell stopper, I've considered just putting the copper thermostat probe into a bottle of (cheap) beer or glass of water.  This would eliminate the contamination risk while still giving you an accurate temperature of liquid inside your fridge/freezer.  Any thoughts?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 04:17:52 PM »
Instead of a thermowell stopper, I've considered just putting the copper thermostat probe into a bottle of (cheap) beer or glass of water.  This would eliminate the contamination risk while still giving you an accurate temperature of liquid inside your fridge/freezer.  Any thoughts?

the smaller volume will respond to temp changes much more quickly than 5 gallons of liquid. I just dangle the temp probe and knock my temp setting ~5 degrees lower than target. But you can tape insulation over the proble and attached the whole thing to the side of the fermenter as well.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2014, 06:58:30 PM »
Jug of water will help with short cycling your compressor. I do this when I crash a beer. I put the half gallon of water, actually the remnants of my blowoff, in the corner where it contacts coils on two sides. I simply pull the cap with thermowell off of the carboy and stick it in the blowoff jug replacing it with a vented stopper on the carboy. This has the double benefit of less short cycling and not trying to chill 5+ gallon to 32 in one go. My ferm freezer is in my garage which is a billion degrees during the summer. Yes, a billion.

Offline klickitat jim

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2014, 07:20:44 PM »
Instead of a thermowell stopper, I've considered just putting the copper thermostat probe into a bottle of (cheap) beer or glass of water.  This would eliminate the contamination risk while still giving you an accurate temperature of liquid inside your fridge/freezer.  Any thoughts?

the smaller volume will respond to temp changes much more quickly than 5 gallons of liquid. I just dangle the temp probe and knock my temp setting ~5 degrees lower than target. But you can tape insulation over the proble and attached the whole thing to the side of the fermenter as well.

This is what I do. Works just fine. I wouldn't do the water thing because, thats not the temp of your beer. Fermentation causes some heat in the beer, so the water might be 68 but your beer might be 72 or more.

Offline cmooreseymour

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2014, 12:30:16 PM »
I currently just lay the copper probe in the bottom of the freezer, suspend a thermometer next to the carboy and adjust the thermostat until the thermometer reads what I want.

You're saying I should instead suspend the probe or wrap it in insulation instead of placing it in a small or large amount of water?  I finally got a 7 cu ft freezer for fermentation temperature control and want to make sure I'm doing it correctly. Thanks!

Offline dcb

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2014, 01:32:02 PM »
You're saying I should instead suspend the probe or wrap it in insulation instead of placing it in a small or large amount of water?

I don't wrap the probe in insulation, but I tape it to the side of the bucket and then tape a big padding of insulation over the probe.  The idea is to get it to measure the temperature of the fermenting beer as closely as possible.  With one side touching the bucket and the outside covered in insulation, you'll get within a degree or so of measuring the temperature of the beer instead of the air inside your chamber.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2014, 01:59:50 PM »
You're saying I should instead suspend the probe or wrap it in insulation instead of placing it in a small or large amount of water?

I don't wrap the probe in insulation, but I tape it to the side of the bucket and then tape a big padding of insulation over the probe.  The idea is to get it to measure the temperature of the fermenting beer as closely as possible.  With one side touching the bucket and the outside covered in insulation, you'll get within a degree or so of measuring the temperature of the beer instead of the air inside your chamber.

short of a thermowell this is the best option. I am lazy and find I get perfectly good, sometimes very good indeed results with the probe suspended in the middle of the chamber and my temp set 5 degrees below target.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Mini fridge
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2014, 09:04:18 PM »
I currently just lay the copper probe in the bottom of the freezer, suspend a thermometer next to the carboy and adjust the thermostat until the thermometer reads what I want.

You're saying I should instead suspend the probe or wrap it in insulation instead of placing it in a small or large amount of water?  I finally got a 7 cu ft freezer for fermentation temperature control and want to make sure I'm doing it correctly. Thanks!

You want to measure/control the temperature of the fermenting beer. Fermentation produces heat, enough to increase beer temp 5-10F under normal conditions without active cooling. You're using the freezer to remove that heat and keep the beer temperature constant.

Sensing a rise in temp of air around the carboy means the carboy is already warm enough to transfer heat to the air, which means temperature inside the carboy has already increased.

This is why I suggested the thermowell, and attaching the probe to the side of the fermentor is another option. I use both methods (I tape the probe to the side of plastic buckets).

You've got the right equipment to actively (properly) control fermentation temp; now all you have to do is stick the probe in the right place. Cheers!
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