Author Topic: Fermenting Fridge question  (Read 727 times)

Offline BonacBrew

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Fermenting Fridge question
« on: May 01, 2017, 07:13:18 PM »
Hey everyone,

I live in CA and am having difficulty controlling my fermentation temp (well, duh, because it's California in May...). I want to purchase a used mini fridge and utilize an external thermostat to control them temp.

The thermostat I wanted to buy is an Anself Wireless Thermostat plug (https://www.amazon.com/Anself-Thermostat-Automatic-Temperature-Controller/dp/B01I3AKSO6) because it's inexpensive and the idealist in my thinks it would work.

I am only going to be using it for ales since it may cost me less than if I were to make a fridge for lagering.

In any case, would I be able to plug the fridge into the thermostat plug and keep the controller (which is wireless and seems like it records the temp of whatever environment it's in) in the fridge? This thermostat setup does not come with a probe that I'd feed into the fridge, so that is the only way I can think to make it work.

Or, would I need to get some other wacky device and wire it to the fridge existing thermostat? I've read a few things on retooled mini fridges and some of those people did some extensive alterations which I neither have the tools or money for. Any thoughts?

Thank you all in advance for your answers!


Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Fermenting Fridge question
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 07:28:04 PM »
Having a probe attached the the fermenter is the way to go. Spend a few bucks more and get a two stage inkbird

Offline Badgerhead

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 26
    • View Profile
Re: Fermenting Fridge question
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 10:12:40 PM »
I'm in Southern California too - getting the fermentation fridge going is a must.

I have a similar setup with a repurposed Monster Energy Drink minifridge with a Johnson temp controller.  The issue with no probe is that the ambient air temp inside the fridge isn't the same as the temp of the liquid in your fermenter.  For about $5 extra there are several controllers on Amazon with probes (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LZV591B?psc=1).  You can can tape the probe (I cover mine with foam from a pool noodle) to the side or your carboy or whatever and get a reading closer to the liquid temp.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2017, 10:15:19 PM by Badgerhead »

Offline BonacBrew

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Fermenting Fridge question
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 12:18:15 AM »
Badgerhead and Stevie, thank you both. I don't know why I hadn't thought of that (probing carboy, not fridge itself). I'm guessing by probing the carboy, the thermostat will adjust the fridge temp accordingly. I checked out that probe and it will be perfect. Now it's time to buy a fridge. Thanks again and happy brewing!

Offline swampale

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 102
    • View Profile
Re: Fermenting Fridge question
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 11:35:01 AM »
39 F here in Canada. I had to turn on a wall heater because it was too cold. I ferment in my basement and it was 59 F. It's May isn't it?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2017, 11:44:33 AM by swampale »

Offline metron-brewer

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 162
  • White Bear Lake, MN
    • View Profile
Re: Fermenting Fridge question
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 04:58:19 PM »
Some of those mini fridges can get pretty spendy. May want to look at a small chest freezer, it may not cost that much more. That's what I did, coupled with a Johnson controller. I can fit (2) five gallon fermentor's in it, one of which I install a stainless thermowell that accepts the probe.
Ron B.
White Bear Lake, MN

Offline BonacBrew

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 4
    • View Profile
Re: Fermenting Fridge question
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 08:28:36 PM »
metron-brewer I have actually found a number of adequate mini fridges on a phone app called Offer Up. Basically a yard sale app. Found offers between $30-$100. I will, however, look at the freezers you mention because I would like to ferment more than 1 batch at a time! And if so, a thermowell would definitely be something I'd get too. Thanks for the added info!