Author Topic: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question  (Read 1288 times)

Offline JKL

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Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« on: April 18, 2011, 07:53:45 PM »
So I brewed my 1st batch on the new 1/2 bbl system on Sat and sad to say I felt like a newbie again.  I began cleaning the new equipment at 10am, started heating my HLT at 1:30, and was still cleaning up at 11.30pm.  LONGEST BREW DAY IN HISTORY! I couldn't figure out why my pump wouldn't pump upward to my mashtun (4ft?).  I probably should've played with it before brew day? I think it wasn't primed right but I didn't figure that out until after the boil.  My boil kettle LPG tank had a bad valve (or somethin?) and I had to swap it even though it was almost full.  Finally, I put my fermenters in in the freezer with the thermo sensor in a thermowell.  3 hours later it was at 62F so I pitched my US-05.  The next morning it was 55F?  :o No activity at all.  Then I realized the freezer was so cold it kept cooling the wort.  I left the lid open all day yesterday but the best I got to was 56F.  I pulled the fermenters out and left them out until 10pm last night.  They were 58F.  I put them my other fridge which was set to 60F.  This is where there are now.  There was some activity this morning.  24+hr lag :-[.  I was wondering what you guys with freezers for fermenter do about this?  Do you just set the freezer to 55F or 60F and just wait til the next day to pitch?
-J.K.L. 

Offline linenoiz

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 08:08:13 PM »
I just put a heater (I use a brew belt, but a small lamp in a coffee tin would work as well) in the freezer. In the summer time, I connect the freezer to the temperature controller, and in the winter I connect the heater to the controller. In the spring and fall, where a day can be both well above and well below my set point, I leave the heater running constantly while I hook the freezer up to the temperature controller. Not the most efficient way of doing things (that would probably require the use of a dual-stage controller), but it works out rather well.

Offline dak0415

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2011, 08:33:28 PM »
I just put a heater (I use a brew belt, but a small lamp in a coffee tin would work as well) in the freezer. In the summer time, I connect the freezer to the temperature controller, and in the winter I connect the heater to the controller. In the spring and fall, where a day can be both well above and well below my set point, I leave the heater running constantly while I hook the freezer up to the temperature controller. Not the most efficient way of doing things (that would probably require the use of a dual-stage controller), but it works out rather well.
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 I did this for a couple of years.  A 25 watt bulb is plenty, but I found a 2 stage controller for $35, so now heat and cool.  Gotta love ebay!
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Offline JKL

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 08:52:48 PM »
I just bought a single stage Ranco for this freezer.  I wish I would have thought about this and I would've got the 2-stage.  I may have to stick to the fridge and use the freezer for the kegerator?  Then again, next time I may just set the control 5 deg higher,  pitch the yeast and see what happens.  Next 1 is a lager. ;)
-J.K.L.

Offline dak0415

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 12:11:31 PM »
How big are your batches and how big is the freezer?  I sometimes have some overshoot when the beer temp is higher (5 deg) than my setpoint.
Dave Koenig
Anything worth doing - is worth overdoing!

Offline JKL

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2011, 12:53:10 PM »
How big are your batches and how big is the freezer?  I sometimes have some overshoot when the beer temp is higher (5 deg) than my setpoint.

The batch was 10 gal. Two 6.5 gal carboys.  The freezer is small.  I don't know the cf?  I put a 7.5" collar on it and it's Just big enough for the carboys.
-J.K.L.

Offline narvin

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2011, 01:16:35 PM »
The freezer is going to get (and stay) pretty cold if it has to run for 3 hours to get your wort down to pitching temps.  Set it 5 degrees above what you're aiming for... once everything has equalized, you can set it at your desired fermentation temperature.
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Offline JKL

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Re: Chest Freezer Fermenter Question
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2011, 02:39:37 PM »
The freezer is going to get (and stay) pretty cold if it has to run for 3 hours to get your wort down to pitching temps.  Set it 5 degrees above what you're aiming for... once everything has equalized, you can set it at your desired fermentation temperature.

Sounds good.  As a test, I'll probably pitch with 7 degrees difference on the next batch b/c that was the drop on this one.  Thanks for the input guys!
-J.K.L.