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peterlonz

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Well it's happened again, by poor planning I have polished off 3 x 19 ltr kegs, brewed in spring with ambient temp presenting no problems.
I am a kit brewer, just combine extracts, select special hops & fit 3 kegs in my fridge.
Now the ambient day temp is 27+ I will not get ideal fermentation without temp control which is something I have neglected until now.
So I very recently bought a brewing insulated jacket for my fermenter (the fairly usual plastic pail) & now I feed 3 ltr solid frozen bottles to the inside & monitor the temp. This is proving rather hit & miss as well as being damned awkward . I am aiming to start a pilsner with lager yeast at between 18 & 20 Deg & then ferment out at about 18 Deg.
All this to avoid buying a 5th fridge (2 of which are essentially brew fridges - kegs, bottles, wine etc) and of course the wife loads up the freezer compartments so I do not have complete flexibility.
Instinct tells me I need (another) small fridge, big enough for one fermenter, fitted with an STC controller.
Problem is I am out of space, manoeuvring around 6 fridges might become tedious?
What are alternative low cost efficient ways of managing this fermentation temp control problem?
All help appreciated, thanks
 

barls

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. I am aiming to start a pilsner with lager yeast at between 18 & 20 Deg & then ferment out at about 18 Deg.
lager yeast at 18 is just asking for headaches, try us05 instead as it will be cleaner.
see if you can find the 100 can coolers, they fit a fermentor perfectly and then all you need is to change the ice bottle morning and night to achieve 18-20 even in 36+ temps.
 

technobabble66

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FWIW, for lagers S-189 & Mangrove Jacks California Lager can both ferment reasonably cleanly at 18°C.
If your ambient is 27+ though, it'll be a struggle maintaining even that. So i'd probably go with the Saison idea. Belgian ales rock!
Barls' idea with the cooler/esky seems like a good one, or you could try a home-made version yourself if you can get the right sized styrofoam & gaffer tape. Having said that, surely it'll end up being the same kind of obstacle as having another fridge?? So maybe just suck it up and get another fridge.

Is there no way you can re-configure your fridges, etc?
I ask only because many brewers would argue the "cold-side" of brewing is the most important for determining the quality of your beer.
I'd say, in reality, it's assuming you've got the hot-side/recipe stuff kinda right, then the fermentation conditions can play the biggest role. Especially if you're an extract/KnK brewer, then the hot-side is largely already done, so the only thing you really need to worry about (read: get right) is the cold-side - i.e.: maybe need to re-prioritise and get your fermentation nailed! ;)
If it's any consolation, i think everyone eventually gets a fermentation fridge and a temp controller. :D
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Hoppy days have dried saison yeast on special, stock up and use that.

If I need quick supplies one goes in temp control and one saison out at ambient.
 

Grott

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Well it's happened again, by poor planning I have polished off 3 x 19 ltr kegs, brewed in spring with ambient temp presenting no problems.
I am a kit brewer, just combine extracts, select special hops & fit 3 kegs in my fridge.
Now the ambient day temp is 27+ I will not get ideal fermentation without temp control which is something I have neglected until now.
So I very recently bought a brewing insulated jacket for my fermenter (the fairly usual plastic pail) & now I feed 3 ltr solid frozen bottles to the inside & monitor the temp. This is proving rather hit & miss as well as being damned awkward . I am aiming to start a pilsner with lager yeast at between 18 & 20 Deg & then ferment out at about 18 Deg.
All this to avoid buying a 5th fridge (2 of which are essentially brew fridges - kegs, bottles, wine etc) and of course the wife loads up the freezer compartments so I do not have complete flexibility.
Instinct tells me I need (another) small fridge, big enough for one fermenter, fitted with an STC controller.
Problem is I am out of space, manoeuvring around 6 fridges might become tedious?
What are alternative low cost efficient ways of managing this fermentation temp control problem?
All help appreciated, thanks

Have a look at post #25 in Coopers Canadian Blonde in the current topic list about using supermarket cooler bags.
 

Bribie G

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If space isn't a problem and you can strike a deal with the Mrs about freezing bottles, a good method is to get a dead fridge and use it as an insulated cabinet. Good Guys etc often have a "take your old fridge" away deal and end up with a fair few dead ones. Might be worth enquiring.
I brewed on Bribie Island in a dead fridge for about 3 years before I even got a fermenting fridge / Fridgemate and even won two back- to- back Brisbane competitions. Once you get your bottle swapping happening, you can control the temperature within a couple of degrees.

Another low cost method is to buy a large size removals carton and a roll of bubble wrap from a storage place and make a Bribie Chestinator®
chestinators .jpg

I used them with frozen bottles for a couple of years before I bought a new kegmate for serving, and relegated the other one to a fermenting fridge. (see below)

If you do end up buying another fridge for fermenting only purposes, I'd recommend one, or in my case, two of these. They are brilliant value compared to anything from Harvey's because they are totally beer-oriented and can fit up to a 60L fermentor as seen below. They're great for lagering and cold crashing as well as fermenting.
fridgemates2.jpg


double batch in FV.jpg
 

Yeado

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Bribie,

What brand/model are those fridges? I also notice you have a NutriRocket in that photo, do you use it to crush grain? I have 2kg of grain to be crushed which I thought I would be able to do myself sans a grain mill (rolling ping method) but if that NutriRocket is decent I think I know where I can borrow one. I would love to keep supporting my LHBS but they don't sell crushed grain and I can't see me getting a mill anytime soon.
 

Bribie G

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Hi Yeado, the Nutrirocketblaster thingo is out of the way in the garage because I get heckled if I use it in the kitchen "seeingstars: bloody thing is louder than a 747 passing low overhead. So sorry to disappoint re grain..

I've bought all my fridges from Craftbrewer.

These fridges are at a really good price point for what they are, try walking into Harvey's with $550 and there's not much they could show you.

There could be quite a few mills for sale on the forum shortly with the current bulk buy.. over 50 sold, so a few no doubt surplus to requirements - keep eyes peeled.
 

Yeado

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Cheers,

oh well was worth asking. Will keep an eye out for a mill but I think I will just resort to buying online (premixed and crushed) rather than at LHBS in Lismore.

Fridges look good, im sure my wife will approve /s
 

evoo4u

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My new (12 months or so) Aldi "bar fridge" (but a decent sized bar fridge, unlike the sort Harvey et al sell, which barely hold a six-pack) is doing a great job, but --- it only holds one FV. With a krausen collar, it just fits.

At the moment, I have three FVs on the go - an IPA nearly ready to bottle, a replacement Smoked Porter for the Dec swap (to go into good PETs this time ;) ), and a Julebryg for Christmas. It's all go up here ATM.

But how to keep the last two at 18C? I initially put them in our air-conditioned evoo" clean room", but takes way too much power to get it down to18C. Then I remembered the wine storage cabinet sitting idle, since we don't drink too much wine these days. I had forgotten I had it. Anyway, a quick dustoff, set the thermostat to 18C, and Bob's your uncle!

A brilliant cabinet for storing wine no matter what part of the country you're in, thermostat markings go from 5C to 30C, but I don't know whether it will control to those temperatures. I used to have it set to 15C. So a bit of experimentation required. Could be ideal for lagering.

For wine storage, it was superb, as it uses low voltage Peltier plates to do the cooling. Therefore no refrigerant, compressors, vibration, etc - just a pair of very smooth running fans to circulate air. Draws 1 amp. Not so flash for rapid cooling, but once at temp, should have no trouble holding it.

And before you say "trub", yeah, I will be taking steps next brew to minimise trub carry-through from the cube into the FV :D

Wine cabinet.jpg
 
B

Brewnicorn

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Sorry to butt in - Can I ask how the little fridges (any really) handle the cut in/cut out from the Inkbird temp controllers and the like? I need temp control and space is at a premium in the new place (garage is teeny).
 

evoo4u

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Can I ask how the little fridges (any really) handle the cut in/cut out from the Inkbird temp controllers and the like?
My fridge is controlled by an STC-1000. The fridge thermostat is turned to max cold, and the fridge is plugged in to the STC-1000 box. There's a user setting in the STC-1000 to control the delay time between the fridge cutting out and then cutting in again. It's very important to use this function to prevent compressor failure.

But to answer your question - they (fridges) don't seem to have any problems with this cycling.
 
B

Brewnicorn

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Ok cool. The stc is kind of asking for trouble for me. I’ve seen a few home electricians cop it here for shit work. I’ll dodge that bullet and grab an inkbird 308- no affiliation -has that compressor delay protection you mentioned. Good tip I’d not heard of it. I’d be going an easy solution but I’d be alive to drink beer.
Thanks for the info!
 

Bribie G

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Cheers,

oh well was worth asking. Will keep an eye out for a mill but I think I will just resort to buying online (premixed and crushed) rather than at LHBS in Lismore.

Fridges look good, im sure my wife will approve /s
Where do you live in relation to Lismore?
 

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