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Brewing Fridges

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Hey Fellas,

 

I have been brewing for a year now, 1 a week, sometimes 2 depending what is coming up, and im getting sick of drinking funky beer. I know its the heat because i put down some rippers in cooler weather, and the beer is clear with no scum, and no explosions (yet)

Just after some advice regarding brewing fridges. At the moment we are getting temps up to and over 30deg and its killin me taste buds, as of yet i haven't purchased a brewing fridge or external thermostat but i have done a heap of reading on the topic. I'm after some first hand knowledge in the taste testing department, i understand my beer will taste better, but won't bottle conditioning in 30 odd deg heat produce the same off flavors?

 

Cheers look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi Ryan,

 

I am in the process of looking in to some fridges as well. I am keen to start off brewing correctly from the start as I know if I try and brew a couple of batches and they taste funky then it will put me off doing it often.

 

I was looking to maybe get a Kegorator as a brew fridge. Though they are quite expensive. Other than that I am just hoping on some guidance as well as to what the smallest size bar fridge I could use to brew would be, and then I would look at getting the STC-1000 and a brew belt to put in the fridge and hopefully this will do the trick.

 

Let me know what you are going to do as I would be keen to see how the process goes for you.

 

Cheers

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Most of the funky flavours are produced during primary fermentation so fermenting a few grams of sugar at 30 degrees shouldn't cause a noticeable problem.

 

Although it isn't ideal storage conditions, I would definitely ferment in a fridge and bottle condition at 30 degrees if that is all I could do. That is much better than all at ambient temps and you will notice an improvement.

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Hey Wizbang, i was just going to gut a second hand 215L fridge and build a box for the fv to sit on, stc-1000 looks to be the go, but my problem is heat so i wont need the belt because in winter its still around 20+deg.

 

Hairy, thanks for your reply, i only have the space and money for 1 fridge and because i drink purely what i brew i put a new brew on every week/fortnight sometimes more.

 

Another question, it was suggested that the probe sit on a piece of foam under the fv to block out a false reading from the circulating air temp, would the yeast cake act as an insulator?

 

p.s. My next rental will have a cellar...

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I bought an old chest freezer for this purpose. $50 + $60 for a wired and neatly boxed controller. I will not need heat either.

Works very well and fits 2 X FVs. May become a Keezer one day and I'll get a bigger Fermeezer.

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Hi Ryan

 

I've not heard of putting the probe under the FV. Currently I'm taping it to the side, about half way up, then taping a wodge of foam over it to try to get it to register the FV temp rather than the fridge internal air temp.

 

I've just acquired some leads with stainless steel temp probes, so next brew I'll lower that into the wort itself to get more accuracy.

 

Re the fridge size, if the FV fits, it's good. I replaced the moulded plastic door liner in my little 'bar fridge' with a thin galvanised steel sheet, and my FV does, in fact, just fit.

 

Since controlling the temp, and adding some specialty grain and extra hops, my brews have improved out of sight. My guess is that the temp factor is significant.

 

Here's to good brewing!

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Will I need a heater if brewing in Melbourne Victoria? I know that the process itself generates some heat but I was just under the assumption that I would need a heat element in the fridge also?

 

Would an upright freezer of this size work possibly?

http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/cranbourne/fridges-freezers/mistral-upright-freezer-very-good-condition/1039312516

 

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Yes, you will need a heating belt or heating pad.

 

LHBS sells belt for $50 however I picked one up for around $15 from ebay, works great!

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Could get away with a few bottles of hot tap water.

THat freezer would possibly be too small, expensive too.

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My guess for Melbourne is that a heating source inside the fridge would be a good idea, only because the weather and temperatures fluctuate so damn much. It shouldn't really affect it too much given that fridges are insulated from the outside environment but still better to have one than not, in case it does start to drop too low.

 

Up in Brisbane I have no use for a heating source inside the fridge as it doesn't need it. I have found ales don't carb very well (or very quickly) in winter so if I do them, I just stick the bottles in the brew fridge for a week and use a flask of boiling water to heat it up inside, leaving the fridge turned off the whole time. That would probably be a bit of a pain in the arse for fermenting a batch though.

 

I've also never heard of putting the temp probe under the FV. I just tape mine to the side of it about half way up under a piece of foam same as Ramjet and it is usually pretty accurate. At least accurate enough for me and good enough to produce excellent tasting beers.

 

Finally, I wouldn't waste money on a kegerator just for fermenting in. It's a much cheaper option to find an old second hand fridge on gumtree or whatever and grab an STC-1000 for 20 or 30 bucks to control the temperature.

 

Cheers

Kelsey

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Do you just shut the door and the seal will close around it ok?

 

Yep, just like the temperature probe for the controller.

 

That bar fridge will have a lump at the bottom - the compressor sits there, so you will need to make a shelf. It may also have a small freezer that may get in the way.

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Thanks for the tips. I will measure up the fv and head down to see if it fits in. Can take out the freezer part if needed

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Hi Wizbang,

Try and get yourself an all refrigerator, that way you can do 2 brews at once. You might pick up a trade in at one of the electrical retailers. My son is an electrician/refrigeration mechanic and has direct wired 2 fridges for me, that way no wires/probes through door seals.

Good luck & happy brewing.

 

Cheers,

 

Peter

 

"Don't waste time, keep drinking"

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Will I need a heater if brewing in Melbourne Victoria? I know that the process itself generates some heat but I was just under the assumption that I would need a heat element in the fridge also?

 

My experience says yes. I started last year, just using the fridge as an "insulation box" and needed the heat belt in cooler months up until late December, although as you know the weather was unseasonaly cool in Dec. You will need and STC1000 because the heat belt tends to overheat the brew overnight, even on for 6 hours seems to be too much. Good luck.

 

edit (20th Feb)

Had to put the belt on this morning, brew dipped to 14C and not much hope of it warning up with ambient today - its only going to be 20. Even in Feb you're gonna need a heater Wizbang. I bet Scottie has the same.

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I use a thermostat on my brew belt , so there is no overheating but will come on if temp drops below whatever thermostat is set to , I have been pleased with the way it works.

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You will need and STC1000 because the heat belt tends to overheat the brew overnight, even on for 6 hours seems to be too much. Good luck.

 

Thanks for this. Will get one. Thought I read somewhere you can buy a version of this pre-wired so that you can just pug in the fridge and heatbelt straight in to it. Happy to pay a bit extra to get this wired correctly. Best place to get one ready to go?

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Got one of these little beauties last week on ebay for $122. Pretty much brand new.

http://www.ibuywesell.com/en_AU/item/Heller+130L+All+Fridge/35552

 

Was searching for quite a while to get one that fits the fermenter without having to modify the fridge or resort in buying a huge one.

 

Fermenter fits like a dream in it. Chuffed. Got a Pilsner in secondary at 1 degree as we speak.

 

Magic.

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Got one of these little beauties last week on ebay for $122. Pretty much brand new.

http://www.ibuywesell.com/en_AU/item/Heller+130L+All+Fridge/35552

 

Was searching for quite a while to get one that fits the fermenter without having to modify the fridge or resort in buying a huge one.

 

Fermenter fits like a dream in it. Chuffed. Got a Pilsner in secondary at 1 degree as we speak.

 

Magic.

 

Seems like a good size.

 

So that fits the Coopers FV in it perfectly?

 

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Yes it fits in there nicely with space along the side for about 5 Pet bottles and also has one door shelf (had to take 2 of them out) with room for about 6 more bottles, but it may depend on which version of the Coopers FV it is, I have the one with the lid, no airlock. Got it about 1.5 years ago. I believe there's different shaped older ones, so to be honest I don't know if they fit too.

 

Ps. I don't use the Krausen collar anymore, I doubt it will fit if I used that. I stopped using the collar ages ago.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Cheers jay

 

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Thanks Jasony.

 

I am thinking of grabbing something like this

https://www.jbhifihome.com.au/130L-Bar-Fridge.aspx

 

Seems about the same size as the one you got. Might measure up the FV though before I buy it.

 

So you dont need to use the krausen collar then?

 

Yep thats the one. Guess it depends whether you're happy to pay that amount or try and get one 2nd hand.

 

I was told by the guys on this forum that the collar isn't really needed, and haven't used it since.

good luck with it all.

 

the FV I have is this one:

https://store.coopers.com.au/site_media/cache/f6/39/f6392c68595dd638538037a6d000da7e.png

 

cheers Jay

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Yep thats the one. Guess it depends whether you're happy to pay that amount or try and get one 2nd hand.

 

 

Yeah not sure about getting a brand new one or not. Also looking in to maybe getting a wine fridge instead which would be alright.

 

Have the same fermenter as you so I may just not sue the collar if it isn't really required.

 

Thanks

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I bought an old chest freezer for this purpose. $50 + $60 for a wired and neatly boxed controller. I will not need heat either.

Works very well and fits 2 X FVs. May become a Keezer one day and I'll get a bigger Fermeezer.

 

Ive got a chest freezer at home wich I don't use. Just a question Ben' date=' if you have the fermenter in the bottom of the chest freezer isn't it a ball buster trying to lift out 23litres of beer when its bottling time??

Oh and on a side note my first brew has now been in the bottles for 4 weeks and its tasting a treat [img']smile[/img]

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