Author Topic: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons  (Read 1765 times)

Offline pricepeeler

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Group,
I would like to build a keezer or beer refrigerator and keep it in my detached garage.  I was wanting to know what kind of problems I may run into during the winter months.
-Outdoor/Garage Temp dropping below ideal interior fridge temp.
-I live in TX so it's not a big problem most of the time, but when the temp drops, just want to be prepared. Can I be?

I have already found some answers to my own questions, but I would like some more direct advice.
Than you,
Price

Offline euge

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 06:20:51 PM »
For the winter you should use a 2-stage controller to alternatively heat or cool the fermenter as the temps fluctuate.

I live on Texas and know how it can be 35 at night and 80 during the day in January. The only problem I see is the freezer/fridge in the summer operating in a hot environment and having to work real hard.  I'm keeping mine indoors though it certainly could have gone in the garage.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline pricepeeler

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2011, 05:37:29 AM »

I see the summer as set and forget. Works hard, but only cools when it reaches a set high temp.
How do you set up for winter? Do you have a link that explains your system?

How does the 2 stage heat or cool the fridge? Are you suggesting I have a heating element that kicks on at a certain low temp? Alternatively have the fridge kick back on if a high temp is reached?


Thank you,
Price

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2011, 07:57:37 AM »

I see the summer as set and forget. Works hard, but only cools when it reaches a set high temp.
How do you set up for winter? Do you have a link that explains your system?

How does the 2 stage heat or cool the fridge? Are you suggesting I have a heating element that kicks on at a certain low temp? Alternatively have the fridge kick back on if a high temp is reached?


Thank you,
Price

That's it exactly. Have a light bulb or other heating element plugged into the 'low' sensor on the two stage temp controler and the fridge plugged into the 'high' sensor. thus heating and cooling in one.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2011, 08:47:28 AM »
Instead of a light bulb, I know a number of folks use infrared heaters like this

http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiCare-Ceramic-Infrared/dp/B0002AQCPK/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_3
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Offline richardt

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2011, 08:56:05 AM »
http://www.etcsupply.com/manuals/ranco_etc_2stage.pdf
The product manual.

http://www.thereeftank.com/forums/f76/how-to-wire-a-ranco-etc-2-stage-temp-controller-111162.html
A step-by-step tutorial with pictures.

Easy to do it yourself with basic tools around the house.  I ordered mine off of e-Bay, bought some basic extension cords from HD and put it together in less than an hour.  Fermentation temp control is so important in brewing good beers--the quality of your beers should significantly improve.  Make a pouch with folded-over paper towels and tape it to the side of the fermentation buckets (or carboys) and put the thermoprobe inside the pouch with the probe touching the wall of the bucket or carboy (but not exposed to the ambient air in the fridge).  I live in FL and my beer fridges are in the garage--No problems with outdoor temp fluctuations.

Offline pricepeeler

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2011, 12:07:00 PM »
Thanks for all the links and advice.

For Fermentation:
I currently have a fridge as my fermentation chamber. I utilize a Johnson Digital Temperature Controller to maintain temperature.  I now only have the probe dangled inside the door and its set with a two degree differential.  Don't know what temp my carboy/beer is, but at least its stable at whatever temperature it is.  Its hot most of the time in TX so I'm in the clear most months.  single stage controller works for now.

I have the controller set at 66, and the set for the compressor to turn on at 68.  Its a great controller, but kind of wish I would have bought the 2 stage now.

Beer Fridge:
Soon to be assembled.  Will be taking this advice into consideration.

That's a great build thread. Taking it back to my DIY roots, the aquarium forum.

Price


Offline pricepeeler

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2011, 01:21:11 PM »
So, drill through the back or side of the fridge to insert temp probe?
For now I have mine dangling of the inside of the door, with door shut on the cord.


Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2011, 02:37:48 PM »
So, drill through the back or side of the fridge to insert temp probe?
For now I have mine dangling of the inside of the door, with door shut on the cord.



DO NOT drill through any part of the fridge unless you can get a detailed schematic of the inside fo the walls. I think most folks just run the probe wire in through the door as you are doing. Oscar can tell you what can happen when you drill through the walls.
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Offline pricepeeler

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2011, 10:57:14 AM »
OK, I will just stick it through the door for now, thanks.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 11:05:03 AM by pricepeeler »

Offline Pi

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2011, 12:35:40 PM »
Instead of a light bulb, I know a number of folks use infrared heaters like this

http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiCare-Ceramic-Infrared/dp/B0002AQCPK/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_3
Wouldnt there be an issue from exposing beer to light?
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 12:42:56 PM »
"These porcelain heating devices screw into a standard porcelain incandescent socket, giving off intense "muscle-penetrating" infrared heat, while emitting no light."
Tom Schmidlin

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 01:07:51 PM »
Instead of a light bulb, I know a number of folks use infrared heaters like this

http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiCare-Ceramic-Infrared/dp/B0002AQCPK/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_3
Wouldnt there be an issue from exposing beer to light?

I use a l100W light bulb, and a 40W thermowrap.  No problems - the beer is in SS.
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Offline pricepeeler

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 04:36:17 PM »
Glad I spent money on the single stage controller.  Should have gone with the two stage Ranco.
I will put the single on my beer fridge, I have a few more months before it get's really cold.
I assume I would then need the two stage for my beer fridge.  Cool connected to compressor and heat connected to heating element in order to maintain my upper 30s temp?

It's going in my garage.

Thanks,
Price


Offline dhacker

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Re: Detached Garage - Beer Fermentation and Refrigeration with the Seasons
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2011, 05:36:06 PM »
Instead of a light bulb, I know a number of folks use infrared heaters like this

http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-ReptiCare-Ceramic-Infrared/dp/B0002AQCPK/ref=pd_sim_petsupplies_3

I had an old water bed heater pad laying around I put to work  . . .
Just brew it...