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> Using a upright Freezer as fermenter temp controller, and what is a good ref/freezer thermostat controller
Montana
post Mar 24 2008, 05:41 PM
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Hello All,
A few questions for those that use refrigerators or freezers for fermentation temperature control. I am going to purchase a new upright freezer from Lowes, I would use a refrigerators but I have a Blichmann Fermenator and cannot find a refrigerator that has a flat bottom. All the refrigerator’s that I have seen have small humps on the bottom back of them and the Fermenater will not fit in it and I am not going to modify my fermenter so that it will be able to fit in.

First Question will using a upright freezer work as a place to control the temperature of a fermenter with the help of a Refrigerator Thermostat Control (the ones that the home brew stores sell) or would using a refrigerator work better? I am sure the freezer will work just fine but want to make sure. Also, I am going to use it as a Kegerator when not using it to control a fermenter.

Also, what is a good refrigerator thermostat controller?
I see them at Midwest Brewing, Williams Brewing, More Beer etc…

http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/Pr...aspx?SubCat=620
http://www.williamsbrewing.com/CONTROLLER_II_P183C100.cfm
http://morebeer.com/search/102282

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JonesZ
post Mar 24 2008, 06:12 PM
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You can use either one (freezer or fridge) to ferment in. Both will require an external thermostat. The analog ones are fine and mor reliable. What are you planning on doing with your kegged beer when your fermenting in the freezer?
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Montana
post Mar 24 2008, 06:26 PM
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QUOTE(JonesZ @ Mar 24 2008, 04:12 PM) *
You can use either one (freezer or fridge) to ferment in. Both will require an external thermostat. The analog ones are fine and mor reliable. What are you planning on doing with your kegged beer when your fermenting in the freezer?


Well good question, my wife just asked me the same thing. I am just going to pull the kegs out of the freezer when I am fermenting and them put them back in when I am done fermenting and conditioning. Unfortunately for me my wife will not let me get a separate kegerator so I will have to make due with just the freezer to work as my fermenter temp. controller and kegerator.

Also, I thought the digital controllers where more accurate/reliable than the analog controllers per another thread.
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Fletch
post Mar 24 2008, 06:44 PM
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QUOTE(Montana @ Mar 24 2008, 03:41 PM) *
Hello All,
A few questions for those that use refrigerators or freezers for fermentation temperature control. I am going to purchase a new upright freezer from Lowes, I would use a refrigerators but I have a Blichmann Fermenator and cannot find a refrigerator that has a flat bottom. All the refrigerator’s that I have seen have small humps on the bottom back of them and the Fermenater will not fit in it and I am not going to modify my fermenter so that it will be able to fit in. (snip)


First, freezers have compressors, too, of course, so you may have the same "hump" issue with a freezer. Perhaps more importantly, many upright freezers have the evaporator tubes built into the shelves. While some have reportedly been able to bend them down, I wouldn't recommend it. First, that's just begging for a refrigerant leak (either immediately or some unknown time later - it WILL happen), not to mention that the evaporator will not absorb heat the way it was designed to, leading to refrigerant floodback and short compressor life.
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Montana
post Mar 24 2008, 07:05 PM
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QUOTE(Fletch @ Mar 24 2008, 04:44 PM) *
First, freezers have compressors, too, of course, so you may have the same "hump" issue with a freezer. Perhaps more importantly, many upright freezers have the evaporator tubes built into the shelves. While some have reportedly been able to bend them down, I wouldn't recommend it. First, that's just begging for a refrigerant leak (either immediately or some unknown time later - it WILL happen), not to mention that the evaporator will not absorb heat the way it was designed to, leading to refrigerant floodback and short compressor life.


That is a good point. I have found a few upright freezers that do not have the “hump – Compressor” at the bottom. A few brands that I have seen look like may be the shelves are removable, but I will need to make sure. I know one brand that I looked at had the evaporator tubes built into the shelves which I will not buy. Also, to make sure that I am on the right track, the evaporator tubes would the tubes underneath each shelf inside the freezer not in the door shelves. I may end up cutting the door shelves to make sure the fermenter fits in.
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BelgianBoy
post Mar 24 2008, 09:25 PM
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I bought mine at Sears. I can fit 4 cornies or 2, 6.5 gallon carboys in mine. If I make a shelf, I could fit 4 carboys in mine. Don't buy the one with the coils running through the shelves believe me you will regret it. I have two of the analog Johnson controller and it is very accurate.
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Montana
post Mar 24 2008, 09:59 PM
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QUOTE(BelgianBoy @ Mar 24 2008, 07:25 PM) *
I bought mine at Sears. I can fit 4 cornies or 2, 6.5 gallon carboys in mine. If I make a shelf, I could fit 4 carboys in mine. Don't buy the one with the coils running through the shelves believe me you will regret it. I have two of the analog Johnson controller and it is very accurate.


What brand Sears freezer did you get?
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datamike
post Mar 25 2008, 07:49 AM
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Use a freezer - a fridge won't easily get down to the temps needed to lager or cold-condition without undue cycling. Either analog or digital controllers will work, but digital is much more accurate. Actually what you need is a two-stage controller and a heat source like a fermenwrap or reptile heater if you really want precise temp control.

Get a frost free freezer. They're cheaper and will work just fine for a fermentation chamber. Here's a link to Blichmann's FAQ on converting a freezer: http://www.blichmannengineering.com/FAQ/Fermenator_faq.htm

Michael
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BelgianBoy
post Mar 25 2008, 08:35 AM
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QUOTE(Montana @ Mar 24 2008, 10:59 PM) *
What brand Sears freezer did you get?

I bought a Kenmore frost free upright. Works great. I think I paid 400-500 dollars
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Montana
post Mar 25 2008, 01:21 PM
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QUOTE(datamike @ Mar 25 2008, 05:49 AM) *
Use a freezer - a fridge won't easily get down to the temps needed to lager or cold-condition without undue cycling. Either analog or digital controllers will work, but digital is much more accurate. Actually what you need is a two-stage controller and a heat source like a fermenwrap or reptile heater if you really want precise temp control.

Get a frost free freezer. They're cheaper and will work just fine for a fermentation chamber. Here's a link to Blichmann's FAQ on converting a freezer: http://www.blichmannengineering.com/FAQ/Fermenator_faq.htm

Michael


Thanks for the link.
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manny101
post Mar 25 2008, 01:39 PM
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QUOTE(datamike @ Mar 25 2008, 07:49 AM) *
Use a freezer - a fridge won't easily get down to the temps needed to lager or cold-condition without undue cycling. Either analog or digital controllers will work, but digital is much more accurate. Actually what you need is a two-stage controller and a heat source like a fermenwrap or reptile heater if you really want precise temp control.

Get a frost free freezer. They're cheaper and will work just fine for a fermentation chamber. Here's a link to Blichmann's FAQ on converting a freezer: http://www.blichmannengineering.com/FAQ/Fermenator_faq.htm

Michael



I thought that when use use one of those thermostat controllers all you have to do is plug the appliance into the controller and place the probe inside. Why would you need to do this conversion method? Is that necessary?
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Montana
post Mar 25 2008, 02:07 PM
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QUOTE(BelgianBoy @ Mar 25 2008, 06:35 AM) *
I bought a Kenmore frost free upright. Works great. I think I paid 400-500 dollars


Thanks, I will look for one of those models, I may now try to get a used one as opposed to buying a new freezer.
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datamike
post Mar 25 2008, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE(manny101 @ Mar 25 2008, 01:39 PM) *
I thought that when use use one of those thermostat controllers all you have to do is plug the appliance into the controller and place the probe inside. Why would you need to do this conversion method? Is that necessary?


You're essentially correct; plug the freezer to a controller and place the probe inside will work. It will turn the freezer on at a certain set point. The "conversion faq" simply outlines some simple mods that increase the usefulness and convenience, such as removing the door shelves to increase usable space. The remote airlock is also a good idea as it keeps the internal pressure inside the freezer down and allows you to monitor fermentation without opening the door.

Ideally though, you want a two-stage controller - one to control the freezer, and one to control a heat source you locate inside. This will allow you to keep very precise control of fermentation temps as well as for making Belgian ales that might need to be fermented at 75+ degrees. This essentially mimics the morebeer heated/cooled conical fermenters, but is much cheaper and works much better.

Michael
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datamike
post Mar 25 2008, 02:47 PM
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QUOTE(Montana @ Mar 25 2008, 02:07 PM) *
Thanks, I will look for one of those models, I may now try to get a used one as opposed to buying a new freezer.



Something like this will work great for a fermentation chamber: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=prod...&lpage=none

It's only $368 brand new and will probably be more energy efficient than a used, older model. Also, I would highly recommend a manual defrost model. "Frost Free" models achieve their "frost-freeness" by occasionally heating up to around 45-50 degrees. With the manual models, it's either cooling or it's not, period.

Michael
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Montana
post Mar 25 2008, 04:36 PM
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QUOTE(datamike @ Mar 25 2008, 12:47 PM) *
Something like this will work great for a fermentation chamber: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=prod...&lpage=none

It's only $368 brand new and will probably be more energy efficient than a used, older model. Also, I would highly recommend a manual defrost model. "Frost Free" models achieve their "frost-freeness" by occasionally heating up to around 45-50 degrees. With the manual models, it's either cooling or it's not, period.

Michael


Thanks for the link to the Lowes Freezer. Are the shelves on this model removable? It looks like it has tubing built into each shelf.
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