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Couple Of Ferment Fridge Questions

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Moad

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I've managed to snag myself a working fridge for a fermentation setup, stc 1000 in the mail ($20...bargain).

I had to pull the plastic inner out as my coopers fermentation tub wouldnt fit with it in there, I have an old whiteboard laying around that I plan on cutting to size and screwing back in to the door.

There is going to be a small gap between the whiteboard and the seal on one edge (about 2cm) that I was planning to fill with some kind of sealant. I have some acrylic sealer but not sure if it is suitable, any advice?

The fridge is a standard one with the freezer above it, looks as though the cool air is just vented from the freezer down into the fridge... Is it worth trying to cut a hole between the freezer and fridge to speed up the cooling from the freezer? Making it one big chamber?

One last one, is the defrost function able to be switched off or will it not really matter. If it is going to be a massive problem I'll just use this fridge as a keg/serving fridge later on and find another fermenting fridge.

cheers for any help. :icon_cheers:
 

J.T

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I've managed to snag myself a working fridge for a fermentation setup, stc 1000 in the mail ($20...bargain).

I had to pull the plastic inner out as my coopers fermentation tub wouldnt fit with it in there, I have an old whiteboard laying around that I plan on cutting to size and screwing back in to the door.

There is going to be a small gap between the whiteboard and the seal on one edge (about 2cm) that I was planning to fill with some kind of sealant. I have some acrylic sealer but not sure if it is suitable, any advice?

The fridge is a standard one with the freezer above it, looks as though the cool air is just vented from the freezer down into the fridge... Is it worth trying to cut a hole between the freezer and fridge to speed up the cooling from the freezer? Making it one big chamber?
No, not at all. Wouldn't be worth the stuffing around.

One last one, is the defrost function able to be switched off or will it not really matter. If it is going to be a massive problem I'll just use this fridge as a keg/serving fridge later on and find another fermenting fridge.
Again, I wouldn't bother, for fermenting temps you are hardly going to get much ice buildup to warrant defrosting. Any ice will melt away during the off cycle.

cheers for any help. :icon_cheers:
 

Moad

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Sorry to be a PITA but I have on more question. I have the stc1000 all hooked up and it works a treat, I plan on sticking the probe to the side of the fermenter using an old stubby cooler.

I should be fine for temps in summer but I am curious as to how people are using the heating side. If you use a light or belt how do you run the power cable through the side of the fridge? Did you drill out a big enough hole to fit the plug or did you cut the cord and use some kind of junction box outside of the fridge?
 

carniebrew

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Lots of different ways, heating pads sitting under the FV, or heat globes normally a little away from the FV to not directly heat it.

I have a cable running to a 150w red floodlight globe, sitting away from my FV. I just run the power cable alongside the temp probe, the fridge just seals around it at the top. No need for drilling holes.

Also, another option is to sit the temp probe in a container of water inside the fridge, the water will be a similar temp to your wort.
 

Big E

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I also just run the temp probe cord and power cord for heating belt through the seal of the fridge. Dosent form a great seal but is fine for handling ferm temps.
 

jakethesnake559

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I also just run the temp probe cord and power cord for heating belt through the seal of the fridge. Dosent form a great seal but is fine for handling ferm temps.
On the hinge side, you should be able to feed the cords out between the door and the fridge body.
You get a lot more pressure on that area of the seal.
Works for me.
 

Yob

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heating pads sitting under th fv
You don't want the heatoad directly insert the fv either, think about it, if you do, the hottest part is going to be the trub.. for me, the heat pad sits in the shelf of the door.
 

Truman42

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If your going to use this as a fermentation fridge at say from 16-22c those sort of temps arent that cold. Cutting a hole between the freezer and fridge would allow more cold air in but an easier way is to block off some of the air vents in the freezer so more air is forced down into the fridge. Ive blocked off the entire back wall of a freezer section so all the air was forced down into the fridge. But I was using this for kegs so wanted it to get down to 4C quickly.

But.....You dont really need to do this when running it at fermentation temps. If anything I would go the other way and close off the vent so the freezer is set to maximum. Then you can possibly use the freezer for hop storage etc. You might just have to stick a thermometer in there and keep checking it to see how cold it gets. With the fridge section set at 18-22C for fermenting it wont switch on all that often so you first want to make sure your feezer section is at least going to get to - 15C or lower first without climbing up too high inbetween running times.

If the freezer still isnt that cold you could use tape to block off all of the vent but just a small section. You wont need that much air coming in from the freezer to hold your ferment at 18-22C once it gets there.

Its really going to take some experimentation to see what works out the best. Ive had it so my freezer section was at +5C and my chiller section was at+3C just by blocking off vents in the freezer and using an STC1000.
 

stux

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You don't want the heatoad directly insert the fv either, think about it, if you do, the hottest part is going to be the trub.. for me, the heat pad sits in the shelf of the door.
I wrap heat belts around fermenters a few inches above the base, above the tap. Above the trub and below most of the beer.

If you bundle your power and sensor lines together to pass through the seal it's not so bad, especially if you use some PVC tape to build a ramp before/after the cables
 

Moad

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thanks guys, I just scored a keg setup for a good price which included a heat pad. I've heard it isn't a great idea heating up your trub so I'll stick it in the door in winter and keep an eye on it and see how it goes. The garage gets hot in summer so the fridge will do a bit of work but in winter it should sit around 15 (double brick) so not too much heating to be done when you consider the heat from ferment as well.

I was thinking about using this for fermentation and a beer fridge which is why I was asking about cutting the holes but now I have a keg fridge with a tap so no need (also a freezer for hops and glasses etc). I'll just run the cables through the side of the door close to the hinge as suggested.

thanks again
 

Spiesy

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After consulting with a couple of brew friends, I went with a ceramic infrared heat lamp from eBay.

The logic behind this:

Heat Pads and Heat Belts - can result in hot spots in the wort. Heat pads, if underneath the fermenter can just be heating yeast (alive or dead). Heat belts are notorious for getting hot, quite a lot of fermenters bear the scars that a heat belt's melted plastic sheath has left behind...

Lights/lamps - can emit damaging rays that degrade your beer.

This is the one I got, it even comes with a clip on mounting base, which just clips onto my fridge shelves: HERE

$50 delivered. No affiliation.
 

Yob

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Spiesy said:
Lights/lamps - can emit damaging rays that degrade your beer.
you are talking UV light yeah? normal light (bulbs) do not affect yeast health AFAIK..
as mentioned above, its not best practice to place a heatpad directly under the FV, this does not mean that they are inferior as a heat source if placed correctly in the fridge.
I think I'll keep my heat pads, I rekon it's more a gentle and ambient heat than those linked.. each to his own though, not sayin it doesnt work, just sayin that a heat pad in the fridge door shelf is pretty gentle a sort of heat ;)
 
B

Brewnicorn

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Brewers! Sorry to resurrect an old thread but I used the search function (cough) to identify the most relevant threads... this one answered a few of my questions on fermenting fridges. But I’ve got one or two more if anyone has some answers:

I need a fridge, my questions are:

-cos it’ll be second hand is there a kind of fridge that’s more repairable?
-is there a gas type that’s more friendly for refilling etc?
-likely a fridge freezer combo - keen to know what happens with the freezer compartment when the inkbird (in my case) kicks in (single compressor setups) - guessing it cycles on & off too but is largely wasted?
-people talk about these $100 fridges they get on eBay & gumtree and I’m thinking these people have also seen Elvis & Bigfoot sharing a shake at Hungry Jacks - or I’m actually really bloody slow.
-I’ve got the standard fermenter types, a coopers one & a couple of 25/30L drums - it’ll only need one in at a time, how big is too big for wasted space around the fv?
- throw me a bone for any obvious things people stuff up when looking at fridges also please.

Grateful for any tips.
Thanks all
Sam
 

TidalPete

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No idea about the cheapest repairable fridge or about refrigeration gas but if I was starting out in AG again I'd go for an all-fridge (Got that) which should easily hold 2 x 30-litre fermenters & after getting that I'd put my dollars away for a fridge-freezer that would take care of all my hop & yeast storage as well as allowing room for any spare kegs, bottles & assorted stuff that needs to be kept cold.
Of course, You would still need a proper dispensing/serving fridge or freezer as well if you're thinking about going into kegging unless of course, your selected fridge-freezer for your hop/yeast storage is pretty damn big. ;)
 
B

Brewnicorn

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No idea about the cheapest repairable fridge or about refrigeration gas but if I was starting out in AG again I'd go for an all-fridge (Got that) which should easily hold 2 x 30-litre fermenters & after getting that I'd put my dollars away for a fridge-freezer that would take care of all my hop & yeast storage as well as allowing room for any spare kegs, bottles & assorted stuff that needs to be kept cold.
Of course, You would still need a proper dispensing/serving fridge or freezer as well if you're thinking about going into kegging unless of course, your selected fridge-freezer for your hop/yeast storage is pretty damn big. ;)
Thanks TidalPete. I reckon I might be swayed into the whole fridge scenario. The idea of running 3 is pretty awesome. But I have **** all chance of getting away with that! Garage is already lacking room - 3 fresh acquisitions would be worth the shock value...
I have mini kegs at the moment & hope to use the bigger kegs down the track. Baby steps.
 

SeeFar

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There are HEAPS of sub-$150 fridges on gumtree in my town of 450k. Not rare at all!!

I too will be looking for a full fridge to allow 2 fermenters.
 

timmi9191

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I went thru several $50 and free gumtree fridges in the beginnings.

If i was to do over, id start with 2 chest freezers. 1 for fermenting and 1 for cold crashing and lagering
 
B

Brewnicorn

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Thanks timmi9191. I am cautious about that too. Might get a new fridge for the house and give the current one a new purpose. That said the Chest freezers aren’t too exxy these days!
 

Bonenose

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I use an old chest freezer for fermenting, fits two fermenters and a couple dozen bottles. Having to lift fermenters in and out is possibly the only disadvantage I can see as compared to a fridge.

As an afterthought would not worry about what is easy to fix and just avoid buying anything the does not work well. That said my freezer was fairly cheap as the seals are crap so it constantly iced up as a freezer but makes no difference for fermenting.
 

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