Author Topic: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator  (Read 1657 times)

Offline Saccharomyces

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Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« on: August 13, 2020, 04:37:28 pm »
Call me old school, but I have always used an apartment-size refrigerator as a multi-purpose brewing refrigerator.  An apartment size (10 to 14cu. ft) refrigerator is big enough to hold at least two soda kegs with picnic taps while providing me with space to store blank media, my culture collectidon, and sterile starter media in refrigerator section.  I store hops and dried yeast in the freezer section.  My old brewing refrigerator was a 10cu. ft. Samsung non-frost free unit.  That went with my old brewery, so I am now looking at a Whirlpool 11.6 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator.

In a day and age where people are using freezers as keezers and have dedicated chillers for fermentation,  I wonder what people are using to store their hops and yeast.  What happened to the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) approach to amateur brewing?  Did it go away after non-engineers dominated what used to be primarily an engineer's (or at least STEM graduates) hobby in the United States?  If anyone doubts that this hobby used to be dominated by engineering types, all he/she only needs to look at the pioneers.  Charlie P. was a nuclear engineer.  John Palmer was a metallurgical engineer.  I was and still am a computer scientist and engineer (BS and MS degrees in computer science and engineering).  Early brewing was like a mad monks squad of offbeat engineering types (maybe, offbeat was a little too kind).  It was a geek hobby that few people understood. My only guess as to why engineering types dominated amateur brewing in the early days is that it required engineer's ability to build things that people want using things one can get. Sure, there were non-engineers, but they were creative enough to build their own stuff.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2020, 02:42:24 pm by Saccharomyces »

Offline tommymorris

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2020, 04:57:21 pm »
I have a full size fridge and freezer. Side by side model. I use the fridge side exclusively for beer. The freezer has hops and frozen food that is waiting to move upstairs for consumption.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2020, 05:35:25 pm »
That is what I am talking about!  I am looking at brewing setups on YouTube that draw the same WTF were they thinking as I draw with the craft beer coming out of Millennial-owned breweries (You know who you are Millennial brewers).  I know that I am being a little "hey boomer," which is a pejorative that is slung at Baby Boomers by Millennials, but things are getting to be beyond stupid to the point where I question the average amateur brewer's understanding of science and engineering.  It is not Voodoo.  It is art combined with science.

Offline Bob357

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2020, 06:47:18 pm »
I use a 14 cf fridge as a fermentation chamber and store bottles and flasks in the top freezer compartment. My finished beer lives in a 7.3 cf chest freezer with a 3 faucet tower and a Johnson analog controller. I have a mini fridge for my yeasts and other ingredients that require refrigeration and managed to commandeer a shelf and a bin in the freezer half of our large side by side that is primarily used for food and drink.

Technically not an engineer, but as an old automotive electronics tech, I often had to rely on reverse engineering when diagnosing problems. In the earlier days the manuals left much to be desired as far as diagnostic routines go.
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Offline Richard

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2020, 07:50:36 pm »
Here is my temperature regulation system for fermentation. It should make any engineer happy. It is far from perfect, but I like it because I built it all myself and I know its characteristics and limitations. After bottling I keep the beer in a standard refrigerator, nothing fancy.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1igC8erynU6pd3f10Vdt3fUhiK953dSNd/view?usp=sharing
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Offline dannyjed

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2020, 09:07:31 pm »
I have been using a 1980’s 13 CuF fridge for the last 15 years that I got for free. It keeps working, so I keep using it. Once about 8 years ago it stopped cooling. So, I went and ordered a new one. When I got back home the fridge was working again, so I canceled the order. I use the freezer for hops and berries. I use the fridge for two kegs and yeast. I use a small chest freezer with temp control for a fermentation chamber.


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Offline erockrph

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2020, 02:54:33 am »
I commandeer whatever space I can when the wife isn't looking :)

I have a chest freezer with a temp controller as a fermentation/lagering chamber. One of the smaller shelves in my food fridge door is for yeast and rennet (primarily dry yeast packets). I occasionally try to hide a mason jar or two way in the back if I havesome yeast slurry I am trying to store for future use. I have a 3-tap kegerator for serving. And I have an upright food freezer that I have taken over the bottom two shelves of for my hop hoard and a few cheesemaking cultures.
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Offline goose

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2020, 07:14:50 am »
I have two chest freezers with Johnson Controllers.  One serves as a lagering chamber/carbonation chamber and the other one is my six tap keezer.

To store hops and yeast, there is the infamous "beer fridge" in the same room for special beers that I have picked up on brewery travels.  It has a small freezer compartment to store my vacuum sealed hop pellets and a cheese drawer in the refrigerator compatrment for storing yeast.

Above being said, being a retired electrical engineer and ham radio guy with a chemistry degree (figure that one out, although I did use the degree in my pro-brewer gig)  I have built all the rest of my brewing equipment. Why?  Because, I could!
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2020, 07:43:44 am »
I’ve seen some wine/soft drink refrigerators that are just the right size for a bucket fermenter when the shelves are removed. It has a glass in the door with blue LED lights that look pretty cool. It’s about the size of a dorm fridge size kegerator. When my decades old ferment fridge dies that’s the direction I’ll probably go.


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Offline denny

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2020, 08:13:57 am »
I keep hops in the freezer of my serving fridge.  I keep yeast in a temp controlled chest freezer that I used to ferment in.

I good a say, Mark, this sounds a bit like "whatever happened to the horse and buggy?  Why do we have these new fangled cars?"   ;D
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narvin

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2020, 10:00:54 am »
I always thought that an old chest freezer with a temp controller was KISS, but I guess it depends on perspective.  After all, why aren't we using the lagering caves?  :D

Big Monk

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2020, 02:38:18 pm »
to the point where I question the average amateur brewer's understanding of science and engineering.  It is not Voodoo.  It is art combined with science.

I'm fond of the term applied science. As an engineer (Electrical) working in the utilities, everything I do is applied science. In particular, I am a protection engineer which involves interfacing with the high tech SEL microprocessor types, all the way down to the GE electro-mechanicals. I've been alarmed as of late by some of the genuine lack of common sense for even the most basic STEM topics, not only in homebrewing, but all over.


Good to see you posting again here.

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2020, 03:02:15 pm »
I've been alarmed as of late by some of the genuine lack of common sense for even the most basic STEM topics, not only in homebrewing, but all over.

It is a sign of the times and we are to blame.

Offline MNWayne

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Re: Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2020, 08:26:54 pm »
I guess I don't understand your rant.  Are you saying we are not innovative enough?  Granted, there are now a slew of Grainfathers and Picobrews out there.  But there are still those who are creative.  I have converted a used window air conditioner (bought at a garage sale for $5) to a glycol chiller.  Can I be in your club?
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Offline tommymorris

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Apartment-Size Brewing Refrigerator
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2020, 07:34:10 am »
I guess I don't understand your rant.  Are you saying we are not innovative enough?  Granted, there are now a slew of Grainfathers and Picobrews out there.  But there are still those who are creative.  I have converted a used window air conditioner (bought at a garage sale for $5) to a glycol chiller.  Can I be in your club?
You definitely belong in the man club!

Me, I am a thinker not a doer. I’d rather pay someone else to build my equipment, etc.