Temperature Control During Fermentation

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Temperature Control During Fermentation

Postby scorriga » Mon Nov 21, 2005 1:23 am

Hi all,
I've been debating what the best way would be to gain some more control over the temperatures at which I ferment my beers. I live in a condo, so the fermenter is pretty much at whatever the temperature is in the living spaces. This is usually fine (if not on the high end of the range) for Ales, but it does subject even those to some fluctuation (sometimes 8-10 degrees). Also, although I haven't done a Lager yet I would like to have that option in the future.

The two routes I've been considering are a 5 cubic foot chest freezer and a 4.9 cubic foot mini-fridge. Does anyone have advice on which (fridge vs. freezer) would do the job best and allow me the option of fermenting an occasional Lager? Thanks in advance.
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Re: Temperature Control During Fermentation

Postby Push Eject » Mon Nov 21, 2005 4:05 pm

Since you'll probably be lagering around 40 degrees using some kind of electronic temperature controller like the Ranco 111000 or the Johnson a419, I suppose the question is which one (fridge vs. freezer) handles the power-cycling better?

If it's a frostless freezer (not all are!), both have the same interior space including decent floor-space to set a carboy on and the prices are comparable then I would think one would be as good as the other.

Are you planning on serving out of whatever you get someday? If so, you may want to go the fridge route as that will more easily keep things at serving temperature than the freezer in my experience (unless you like your beer really cold!).

Cheers,
Charlie
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Re: Temperature Control During Fermentation

Postby scorriga » Tue Nov 22, 2005 1:07 am

Thanks for the input. I was actually leaning towards a small fridge so I could use it to serve from someday. My only reservation is it seems that a freezer of comparable volume has a bit more height for an airlock/blow-off tube. It may be tight to get a fermenter with either of those two items sticking out of the top into a fridge. I guess I'll have to take some carful measurements before I buy.

Thanks again.
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How About a Collar?

Postby BillyBock » Wed Nov 23, 2005 7:31 pm

You could always build a wooden collar to put on top of a chest freezer. This would give you the extra headroom you might need. I have a 14.8 cu.ft. chest freezer that I've converted with a collar for serving--it prevents me from drilling into the freezer itself. Having said that, I use an upright freezer (frost free) for my 15 gal conical. Both freezers of course using external thermostats to control the temperature.

The main disadvantage from my experience on my standard freezer was the accumulation of moisture. I solved it to some degree by setting the thermostat to 28F with a 4F differential...so rather than having water pooling in the bottom of the chest freezer, I get some ice build up on the walls, but not too bad. Next time I'm going to get a frost free freezer!

I think overall a freezer gives you more versatility as you can set the temperature much lower than a standard fridge.
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