Author Topic: Lager Fridge  (Read 4107 times)

Offline srnoel

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Lager Fridge
« on: March 16, 2011, 02:30:19 PM »
Recently I have been looking around for a fridge to brew lagers in.  I guess I am having problems determining what fridge to get that will fit at least one 6 gallon carboy in there if not 2-3 smaller 3 gallon carboys (not all at the same time, either a big 6 gal or the two smaller ones).  I don't really want to spend more than $150 on this so I have been skimming craigslist consistently in the Minneapolis area but no luck yet.  I don't have space for a full sized fridge so I have been mainly looking at small chest freezers (5 cubic feet or so) and wine coolers.  Is there a better place to look or should I be looking at something else to do my lagers in?

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Lager Fridge
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2011, 03:20:26 PM »
You are in MN, so you can do this like I do in MI - well maybe.
 
If you have a garage or basement that gets cold,you can ferment your lagers.  My basement cold room gets to 48F, and that is where I used to ferment.  Now I do it in the big refridgerator known as the garage, where it gets to the 38-42F range depending on the weather and and the in and out of the cars (heat sources when going in hot).  In this application I add heat via a controler and a termogrid (and a light bulb, but the beer is in a SS conical).

For lagering the beer goes into a chest freezer, packaged in cornies.  A second temp controller is set to lagering temps.

You need to think fermentation and lagering temps.  If you plan to do many lagers, you will need to have one of each.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline srnoel

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Re: Lager Fridge
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2011, 04:45:38 PM »
I have read up on the difference for lagering and fermentation temps, that won't be a problem for me.  It's just where to find something to lager in for cheap, and ferment at lower temps in, is the question I am trying to figure out. 

Offline smkranz

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Re: Lager Fridge
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2011, 08:36:30 PM »
You can lager in a small dorm 'fridge with a few modifications, as in taking off the door and replacing it with a piece of Plexiglas with adhesive magnetic strips around the edge to hold it onto the 'fridge.  You also have to bend the small freezer compartment out of the way.  I did a write-up of my project in our club's newsletter a few years ago:

http://home.comcast.net/~midnighthomebrewers/Newsletters/2009No.2.pdf

The photo in the article shows the 'fridge holding a 5.25 gallon rectangular water jug (i.e.carboy) which I bought at B.J.'s Wholesale Club.  But the 'fridge also perfectly holds two 3-gallon Better Bottle carboys, so it works out better (heh...) because of the additional capacity.

Used it many times with great success.  As I write this, I am lagering 5 gallons of Baltic Porter in the very same 'fridge at a steady 37°.  To control the temperature, I use a Ranco controller and a thermowell.  To get the thermowell into the Better Bottle, I just drilled a second hole in one of those large-sized plastic carboy bungs.  An orange carboy cap also works for Better Bottles, but for this application it's slightly too tall.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 08:39:47 PM by smkranz »
Steve Kranz
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Midnight Homebrewers' League
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http://www.midnighthomebrewers.org

Offline gwk453

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Re: Lager Fridge
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2011, 05:20:12 PM »
Well your talking beer fridge.... Look for an old beater with a freezer on top. Before you buy look inside the freezer to see if the bottom of the freezer has a screwed in bottom and has a fan that works on the rear wall. What has worked for me is to remove the sheet metal bottom of the freezer compartment, gently remove the insulation below, and not to damage any of the refridgeration tubing (normally off to on side of the freezer). Then remove the sheet metal piece that is the top of the refridgerator. Now you have a full lenght fridge. I brew 15 gal at a time and stack three 7.9 gal fermentors for controlled fermentation with a Johnson controller. I do cold storage with it too. If you need more room in the fridge you can remove the plastic door shelves that protrude into the compartment. Dont destroy the flex magnetic seal retaining part of the door when modifying. The freezer fan provides excellent air circulation. Now you can perfect your fermentation and have cold storage , too! Good Luck ::)

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Lager Fridge
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2011, 09:55:34 PM »
Well your talking beer fridge.... Look for an old beater with a freezer on top. Before you buy look inside the freezer to see if the bottom of the freezer has a screwed in bottom and has a fan that works on the rear wall. What has worked for me is to remove the sheet metal bottom of the freezer compartment, gently remove the insulation below, and not to damage any of the refridgeration tubing (normally off to on side of the freezer). Then remove the sheet metal piece that is the top of the refridgerator. Now you have a full lenght fridge. I brew 15 gal at a time and stack three 7.9 gal fermentors for controlled fermentation with a Johnson controller. I do cold storage with it too. If you need more room in the fridge you can remove the plastic door shelves that protrude into the compartment. Dont destroy the flex magnetic seal retaining part of the door when modifying. The freezer fan provides excellent air circulation. Now you can perfect your fermentation and have cold storage , too! Good Luck ::)
Can you post some pics of this setup?  Use "[ img ] pic url [ /img ]" with quotes and spaces removed, they can't be uploaded, they have to be hosted somewhere else.
Tom Schmidlin