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Brew Fridge Upgrade Recommendations

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kahlerisms

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Hi Guys

So I'm pretty sure my hand-me-down $50 fridge has finally died. It used to only get to 6-7 degrees (which was fine for fermenting purposes) but recently it doesn't get below 16-17 which prevents me from doing lagers and crash cooling.

So, I'm looking to replace it. There seems to be very little in the second hand full height fridge/freezer arena (I have a heat/cool STC1000) so I'm starting to think about perhaps purchasing something new.

DOes anyone have any model/brand recommendations? I suppose if I'm about to buy something that might last me ten years+, I probably want it big enough to a 100L fermenter in to in the event I ever upgrade to one of those sexy stainless steel jobs.


Anyone got any thoughts?
 

carniebrew

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I wouldn't buy anything new, there's usually plenty of good fridges at 2nd hand stores that would be half the price. And I'm surprised to hear there's nothing available in your area on eBay/Gumtree etc....where are you?
 

QldKev

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Not sure how tall the 100L fermenters are, or where you are. I've got an upside down fridge up for grabs for FREE. It's ugly, built in 1988 and works perfectly, if your son plays with the thermostat to make the beer slightly colder it will even freeze your kegs in the fridge section (he's 21, you think he would know not to just give the knob a spin). Just bring a bottle of your finest, and I'll even help load it into your trailer.

If you think it's soo nice looking you can even use it as a keg fridge, it holds 5 corny kegs.

QldKev
 

jakethesnake559

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Gumtree is awesome for fridge/freezers.
I picked up a 10 year old 380L Kelvinator fridge (without freezer) last week for $120...perfect working order.
Couldn't justify the cost of buying a new fridge for fermenting.

In terms of brands, my family have always had Kelvinators and they never miss a beat.
 

thylacine

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Re applliance to buy:

As the sole beer drinker in the house I have found a 150L chest freezer partnered with a 'Fridgemate' temperature controller ideal for my style exploration. eg. I can do four different ale or four different lager recipes over a brew weekend. ie. four X ex Fresh Wort Kit containers as fermenters.

cheers
 

thylacine

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Re applliance to buy:

As the sole beer drinker in the house I have found a 150L chest freezer partnered with a 'Fridgemate' temperature controller ideal for my style exploration. eg. I can do four different ale or four different lager recipes over a brew weekend. ie. four X ex Fresh Wort Kit containers as fermenters.

cheers
 

kahlerisms

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Thanks all! I'm in the inner east in Melbourne (actually right now I'm at Stuttgart train station about to begin the 42 hour journey home).

Perhaps waiting it out on Gumtree is the best option. Will keep a very attentive eye out.

Thanks for the offer, Kev but I think the 2000k transport costs might not make it such an economical idea. :p
I also reckon the chest freezer idea would be pretty unwieldly, lifting 20-25 kilos in and out all the time.
 

yum beer

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if you cant get a 2nd hand fridge in melbourne for under $150 you aint looking hard enough, ebay make it oyur friend,
may take a week or two but you'll find a bargain.
 

mr_wibble

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I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but with the ridiculous increases in electricity costs, could it be cost effective to buy a newer more efficient fridge?

The guv'ment says:

An efficient fridge-freezer can cost you from $10-$18 per month to run. If you have an older, much less efficient fridge these running costs could be double. As you need to operate your fridge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week there is not much you can do to reduce the amount of electricity it uses other than adjusting the thermostat a few degrees higher. If your fridge is getting old then you should look to upgrade to a 5 or 6 star rated appliances. New fridges are equipped with energy saving features like superior insulation, door seals, improved compressor efficiency and defrost mechanisms, all of which means improved energy efficiency and cost savings.

I guess if you're running at ~18C the costs may not be so much.

*shrug*

-kt
 

mosto

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Another option maybe to look at getting your fridge re-gassed. I've had the temp creep up on a couple of fridges and am lucky enough to have a local bloke that re-gasses them for not a lot of money. Maybe an option if you can't find anything suitable in the near future.
 

Spiesy

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I live in Melbourne's northern suburbs, and have had a few fridge hunts (and purchases) over the past few months. There's normally HEAPS out there on eBay, all over Melbourne.
 

QldKev

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I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but with the ridiculous increases in electricity costs, could it be cost effective to buy a newer more efficient fridge?

The guv'ment says:




I guess if you're running at ~18C the costs may not be so much.

*shrug*

-kt
If your running it only at 18c there wouldn't be much in it

From this thread where I did some testing
320L fermenting fridge with 2 fermenters at:
stable at 18c, cost $33 per annum, so 132kWh/yr
stable at 4c, $142, 568kWh/yr
This is about a 1980 model fridge.

But if you crash chill and leave it there for a while, then you would start seeing better savings from a newer fridge. Mine probably spend a week out of a month at 4c.

QldKev
 

BPH87

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Maybe look into getting a commercial fridge? Pretty cheap for the size.

One of my mates brews two 60lt batches at once and he has a single door Scope commercial fridge. Extremely efficient (apparently).

Cheers,

Ben
 

QldKev

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Maybe look into getting a commercial fridge? Pretty cheap for the size.

One of my mates brews two 60lt batches at once and he has a single door Scope commercial fridge. Extremely efficient (apparently).

Cheers,

Ben

I would check with how efficient they are, my understanding is commercial fridges are less efficient, but have a larger cooling capacity. Bit I could be wrong.

QldKev
 

BPH87

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You are probably correct Kev, although my mate has a glass door one that he has insulated, and it's kept in a cool spot so that would reduce costs. I think the key is to keep it with as much thermal mass as possible.
 

jakethesnake559

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Link

Link


Inner east...same as me :beerbang: .
Here's a couple I was looking at...just contact the seller to confirm internal dimensions and you'll be good to go.
 

kahlerisms

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Another option maybe to look at getting your fridge re-gassed. I've had the temp creep up on a couple of fridges and am lucky enough to have a local bloke that re-gasses them for not a lot of money. Maybe an option if you can't find anything suitable in the near future.

Certainly considered it, but since the fridge only cost me $50 I wasn't sure if it'd be cost effective.

Thanks for the links, Jake. One of those is a bit small but I'll check out the other one once I'm back in Oz.
 

Boogaone

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I just won this 510lt Kelvinator for $107.50 on Ebay. Picking it up on the weekend. Just have to wait for my STC-1000 to turn up and I'm on my way woohoo :super:
 

Jan Meyer

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Hey guys, first post :)

Bought a 2nd hand chest freezer off Gumtree for $50, motor was running but it wasn't cooling at all. Had to drive 50km (each way) and spend $25 on toll to get it, so after fuel etc. was probably closer to $90. Everything closer to me was more like $150-$250. I was very disappointed and frustrated since I have been having a few issues lately due to the incredibly hot weather we had (lost a batch). I had another look on Gumtree and ebay and decided, screw this, there surely must be a cheap new freezer somewhere...

I ended up finding a 203l Palsonic chest freezer at Betta Electrical for under $300. It has 2 years warranty, fast freeze for crash chilling and best of all can fit up to 4 corny kegs! Or a fermentor and 2 kegs. Plus a few beers on the side on top of the step. And no funky 2nd hand smell from whatever they stored in there before. Much, much happier :)

I know there are a gizzilion 2nd hand freezers available out there, but a 10 year old freezer for $150 and I have to pick it up, or a brand new one for $300 and they deliver with 2 year warranty... $150 extra was worth it for me.

I probably could have found another one closer at $50-$100 again, but what if it also didn't work, or just worked for a year and then died? Too much hassle when all I want to do is brew perfect beer :)
 

pommiebloke

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Keep an eye on Gumtree or eBay for upright freezers. Make sure they are the frost-free ones so that you can put in some plywood shelves to take the weight of fermenters. Coupled with a temp mate it's a winner. Freezer is better insulated and cheaper to run than a fridge, so I'm told.

I can get two 30 litre round fermenters in mine easily, or 4 20 litre jerrycans with space to spare. Easier to get stuff in and out than a chesty, takes up less floor space and with the height you can bottle/rack straight from the freezer without having to lug things around.

As I said, make sure it is FROST-FREE. A lot of old freezers are not and they have metal shelving with coolant running through them which means you can't use them to hold much weight.

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