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Journeyman

Getting serious about Brews

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Still waiting for the controller. le sigh!

But I now have a Fermenting Fridge - it's all fridge so it fits 2 x FV's in there. Perfect for purpose.  😄 Cost a massive $30.  And he brought it around for me! 😄

I've got another fridge coming which was to be the FF but it has a freezer section at top which meant only 1 FV at a time. (although I did pick up a squat but fatter FV that I was hoping to fit in with the taller one)

That fridge will now be the supplies and beer fridge.

Fermenting Fridge.jpg

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I am kinda wondering how the shelf will take a 25 kg load... and how I might reinforce it. Any suggestions welcome.

I'm leaning towards maybe some 'legs'  and cross bar to go either side of the lower FV and across the middle of the shelf to support the upper full FV.

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52 minutes ago, Journeyman said:

I am kinda wondering how the shelf will take a 25 kg load... and how I might reinforce it. Any suggestions welcome.

I'm leaning towards maybe some 'legs'  and cross bar to go either side of the lower FV and across the middle of the shelf to support the upper full FV.

Make a bunnings run, grab a snag and a couple of pieces of wood. Cut um' down just enough for a snug fit so it support the grate near the sides of the plastic housing. The weight will likely make the grate sag a bit in the middle and should be supported by the pieces of wood. If you have a dremel, you can probably make some notches in the wood the size of the grate itself so it sits nicely. Just want to take pressure off the plastic bits.  Should do alright...

Edited by squarerootnegative1
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I was figuring the weight might cause a sag that could pull the shelf out from the sides. But if it does, I'm not sure just support out near the edges would do the trick, which is why I was thinking a cross bar of some kind to provide support across the middle. Would also help keep the legs upright. 

The other possible from Bunnings would be a piece of plywood to replace the shelf - the question there would be if the thickness of ply that would fit in the slots would be thick enough not to have the same bending issue. 

Trial and (hopefully) not too much error I guess. 😄

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Get a piece of 18mm thick marine grade ply. Cut it to size, varnish it to protect it against moisture. I've done just this for my second ferment fridge, just gotta do the varnish but it holds a full 25 litre cube and you wouldn't even know it's on there. ZERO sag. I didn't bother using the shelf with it, just a straight swap.

https://www.bunnings.com.au/project-panel-1220-x-610-x-18mm-aa-grade-mixed-hardwood-marine-plywood_p0320032

Edited by Otto Von Blotto
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Building a B's list here... Also got to fix my trolley so moving FV's (if needed) isn't a risk to my knees and back, so there's parts for that as well. Then there's an elliptical to fix, some of those post & cog (?) things to fix a computer desk, the ply and varnish, probably another power board for 2 fridges and power controller, (if it arrives 😞 ) and I'm sure there was something else...

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You may need to trim the edges of the ply to fit in the slots, or it may be like mine where the 18mm thickness is just the right size. This cube weighs basically the same as a fermenter with a batch in it. 

20191102_124339.thumb.jpg.0b9607312adf4f2072522a85731c48de.jpg

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$30 and free delivery....definitely been storing bodies in it for that price. 
 

im just jealous I can’t fit 2 FVs in mine.

happy brewing!

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9 hours ago, MitchBastard said:

$30 and free delivery....definitely been storing bodies in it for that price. 

Apparently his son always planned to use it for brewing but after a couple of years of nudging, the dad decided it had to go. 😄

15 hours ago, muzzag said:

I used 12mm ply with 2 coats of varnish.

 

That looks good and all... That is a very versatile fridge for shelf spacing - never seen one with that many options.

Why the foam around the FV's? First thought was for the temp probe but you wouldn't be running 2 in there would you?

If you are, how does that work with temp control?

I've been wondering how it will cope with a 2nd batch going in after (say) a week - the new batch would have yeast causing exothermic temp rise so the fridge would kick in to keep the first batch at correct temp. Would that affect the new batch if it is forced to stay at (say) 18° instead of getting warm from the yeast activity?

 

Edited by Journeyman
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In that instance you'd probably put the new one on the bottom of the fridge as it is likely gonna be cooler down there overall unless it has air circulation built in like a lot of modern fridges do. Otherwise it might cool the first batch a bit more than it should be since there'd be little to no yeast activity by then. 

The other option is to put two batches in at the same time. 

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2 hours ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

In that instance you'd probably put the new one on the bottom of the fridge as it is likely gonna be cooler down there overall unless it has air circulation built in like a lot of modern fridges do. Otherwise it might cool the first batch a bit more than it should be since there'd be little to no yeast activity by then. 

The other option is to put two batches in at the same time. 

So there's no particular drama with the new batch being cooled in the 1st couple of days? The yeast doesn't NEED to be allowed to warm the brew?

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What you're aiming for is the brew to sit at whatever temperature you set it to, it isn't based on yeast activity. The yeast activity will warm it up, hence the controller kicks the fridge on when it gets to a set point above the set temperature. Most of us use 0.3 or 0.5 degrees as the set point above, so if it's set to maintain 18, it'll kick the fridge on when the brew gets to 18.3 or 18.5 and turn it off when it drops back to 18. This is with the temp probe taped to the fermenter under foam or some sort of insulation. 

You don't need to allow the brew to warm up any further than that at the beginning, it's actually better not to. Some of us allow it to warm up 2-3 degrees near the end but by this stage the flavour is pretty well locked in so the slightly higher temperature doesn't affect it.

Edited by Otto Von Blotto
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Is the 'warmer' stage near the end the Diacetic rest I read about? Or do you have another reason? Maybe encourage the yeast to put in a final effort or something?

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With ale yeast I just do it to speed up the finishing off and clean up, not really for diacetyl. With lagers I do it for both reasons. 

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I cracked a bottle last night. Colour was deeper in the glass that I thought for a Real Ale. Head was a bit light on - retention wasn't too long but made a nice glass for a while. Taste was pretty good, quite complex - as in nothing like some home brews I've tried before. There was a little cloudiness from the bottom of the bottle but not as much as from (say) a CPA stubbie. No bad after tastes or anything off - was a bit disappointed I'd only chilled 1 bottle. 😄

All in all, very pleased with my first go.

Today I clean and sanitise the 2 fridges - supplies/bottle fridge probably doesn't really need sanitising but then again, why not? Waiting anxiously for the temp controller to arrive so I can get the next batch in. Have a Bunnings visit also, - I'll need to wire a set up to plug in my heating and fridge so I figure a box with a double power plug set in the side should do it.

Will maybe also clean/san the gear for the next brew, although I'm inclined to leaving that until brew day to reduce any possible contaminants.

 

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First beer... Have to work on my photo skills. 😄 Didn't look hazy like it seems in the pic.  I think that's all glass frosting - had the glass in the freezer to chill it.

image.png.4ed69ba0603d69779396c5706ec513a8.png

 

Found this in Woolworths for $4 - pump for pressure, brass adjustable nozzle - great for surfaces and brilliant for bottle sanitiser - wide angle spray, 'phsst!' and it's done. 

image.thumb.png.75ab40ba223496c66aab02d1ab0e83ce.png

Edited by Journeyman
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1 hour ago, Otto Von Blotto said:

Clean it now, starsan on brew day 👍

I'll see how I go. Got 2 x fridges and a massive cupboard to clean. Then I can wash the approx 40 long necks I have and store them in the fridge. THEN I can do the 3 sanitisers and store them in the cupboard..... 😄

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On 11/3/2019 at 8:00 AM, Journeyman said:

Apparently his son always planned to use it for brewing but after a couple of years of nudging, the dad decided it had to go. 😄

That looks good and all... That is a very versatile fridge for shelf spacing - never seen one with that many options.

Why the foam around the FV's? First thought was for the temp probe but you wouldn't be running 2 in there would you?

If you are, how does that work with temp control?

I've been wondering how it will cope with a 2nd batch going in after (say) a week - the new batch would have yeast causing exothermic temp rise so the fridge would kick in to keep the first batch at correct temp. Would that affect the new batch if it is forced to stay at (say) 18° instead of getting warm from the yeast activity?

 

Hi Journeyman, sorry for the late reply. I brew 2 batches simultaneously (with the same kit and kilo ingredients) and use foam at the rear of each fermenter to insulate the brew from the fan forced cold air. I do around 10 brews,then pack everything away. It takes around 5 hour's from start to finish to complete the two batches.

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10 hours ago, muzzag said:

Hi Journeyman, sorry for the late reply. I brew 2 batches simultaneously (with the same kit and kilo ingredients) and use foam at the rear of each fermenter to insulate the brew from the fan forced cold air. I do around 10 brews,then pack everything away. It takes around 5 hour's from start to finish to complete the two batches.

Are you using '10' as binary for 2? 😄 

I shouldn't have that problem - fridge isn't fan forced, but if I mix types I'd be putting the lagers up top near the cold panel it uses. 

Did my cleaning the other day and totally forgot to check what 25 L does to the wire tray. 

Finally got my temp controller so today is a Bunnings visit for electrical parts and see what they might have as a box to put it in. Then it's BREW DAY! 😄 

And I guess there's no reason I can't do both the Dark Ale and my 'special' brew at the same time. 😄 

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I'd put the lagers at the bottom, cold air sinks even if the cooling plate is at the top. 

As for the shelf I thought about building something with legs like one of the previous posts but I didn't feel it necessary when a single piece of plywood does the same thing. 

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I'm leaning towards that cold plate around the top 3 sides being the coldest place in the fridge.

Then again, would it matter much when the controller is monitoring the temps? Might have to wait and see what my shelf solution is then check if there's a differential and make sure the temp sensor is on the right FV. (which I'd guess would be the lager - the ale yeasts I've got and looking at seem fine at lower temps but reading suggests lagers don't react well to higher temps - at the start of ferment anyway)

 

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The point is, being a fridge without a fan the cold air will sink to the bottom which is probably why they put the cooling plate at the top, to try to offset that somewhat. 

It probably doesn't matter a whole lot of you have the controller monitoring the brew temp itself but I don't know what effect the shelf would have on air flow downward. If you do use ply it might pay to drill a few holes in it around where the FV sits to let the cool air flow down to the bottom. My shelf is at the bottom anyway so it will be fine.

As for yeast it depends. Nottingham will work at lower temperatures than other ale yeast but it doesn't suit all styles of ale either. 

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Not a problem - I thought about the airflow and plan to make the shelf a couple of inches shorter than the depth of the fridge. 😄

Agreed about the controller.

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