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fletcher

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I've luckily snagged myself a sexy little bar fridge as i wanted a fermenting fridge to make proper, decent, correctly temperature-d lagers and just had a few questions of the 'where to next?' variety.

1. i understand i'll need a temperature 'controller' of sorts - any recommendations? tips? ideas? happy to spend a little extra if it can mean less work and pissing about. i live in sydney, NSW. i've been considering the STC1000 as it's all i've read about on here. they look quite good but can they be bought pre-wired? like a plug and play?

2. do i mix my brew (i am only using kits and extracts at this point), and pitch at room temp before cooling to desired ferment temp for lagers? (i understand that it will vary on beer and yeast but just wanted to know exactly WHEN to lower the temp)

3. how long, as a rough average, does a lager take to ferment at those low temps?

4. when i eventually bottle condition, do i keep them in the same temp inside the fridge? and if so, for how long?

5. do i ever bring them to room temp again, or just keep them at the same lower temps, then refrigerate before serving? (approx 16-28 degrees at this time of year which varies of course).

6. if i refrigerate, when? and for how long before serving?

7. i don't know much about cold crashing (and the opposite?) and such, even though i've read as much as i can. are these required? any info on this would help

i've done a lot of searching and found many different perspectives but no concrete info (i'm guessing as it's very opinionated in terms of what's right etc) but if there's something you know of with info like the above, i'd be very excited to read it.

thanks so much. i try and only ask questions after i've exhausted myself searching.

beer on.
 

keifer33

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1. i understand i'll need a temperature 'controller' of sorts - any recommendations? tips? ideas? happy to spend a little extra if it can mean less work and pissing about. i live in sydney, NSW. i've been considering the STC1000 as it's all i've read about on here. they look quite good but can they be bought pre-wired? like a plug and play?
Yes similar devices can be purchased but are alot more expensive than the stc1000 and some wiring. KegKing have something similar pre-done but dont list a price so a quick email will probably answer that one - http://www.kegking.com.au/Temperature%20Co...%20Devices.html

2. do i mix my brew (i am only using kits and extracts at this point), and pitch at room temp before cooling to desired ferment temp for lagers? (i understand that it will vary on beer and yeast but just wanted to know exactly WHEN to lower the temp)
Yes mix as normal but if you are using a proper lager yeast such as for example dry yeast S23, W34/70 then pitching closer to you fermentation temperature is preferable and best done within the range of the yeast you are using. Starting low and letting it go up is better than starting high and trying to cool it down. S23 for example recommends a temp of 9C 15C, ideally 12C.

3. how long, as a rough average, does a lager take to ferment at those low temps?
This can depend on your definition of ferment as there are plenty of steps you can take to make a better lager (please note I am not a huge lager drinker/maker currently) but they can take longer than ales especially if you have a decent lagering time. Maybe check out the How-to-brew section on lagers - http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter10.html

4. when i eventually bottle condition, do i keep them in the same temp inside the fridge? and if so, for how long?
Once you have bottled your beer you can store them as per your normal bottles. It is just a different type of yeast and doesnt redefine much other than the fermentation stage. Storing them cooler is obviously better but that goes for any beer so find a nice cool spot in the house (or get some kegs :p)

5. do i ever bring them to room temp again, or just keep them at the same lower temps, then refrigerate before serving? (approx 16-28 degrees at this time of year which varies of course).
See above

6. if i refrigerate, when? and for how long before serving?
As long as it takes to get to your desired temp.

7. i don't know much about cold crashing (and the opposite?) and such, even though i've read as much as i can. are these required? any info on this would help
Cold crashing is just basically dropping the temperature to help everything drop out and is effectively lagering to a degree when it comes to lagers. Most would recommend this step for most beers(negative on the wheat beer) but it just depends on the length of time and temperature.
 

yum beer

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hey fletcher, try ebay at the moment there is a fella selling some pre wired temp controllers.
search 'home brew' only listed them yesterday, or go the kegking option.

Really they are not that hatd to wire up, plenty of info here and videos on you tube. Will cost you about 30 bucks.
 

fletcher

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hey fletcher, try ebay at the moment there is a fella selling some pre wired temp controllers.
search 'home brew' only listed them yesterday, or go the kegking option.

Really they are not that hatd to wire up, plenty of info here and videos on you tube. Will cost you about 30 bucks.
cheers guys. thanks for your replies
 

Liam_snorkel

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I've got one of those ^
it died last week. Lasted maybe 6 months?
 

fletcher

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I've got one of those ^
it died last week. Lasted maybe 6 months?
oh really? not too good then? i'm sure i could chat about it with my LBS and see what they can suggest too. I'm sure i could get a mate to help me set one up. i'm not that bad but i'm usually all thumbs with electronics so i'd be scared i'd weld my finger to the controller haha.
 

Liam_snorkel

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It worked fine while it lasted. I had it outdoors on the patio so I guess it was semi-exposed.

Long term you should be looking at something like an STC.

If I can figure out how to wire it & not die, then you probably can too. Just triple check your wiring before plugging it in.
 

fletcher

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It worked fine while it lasted. I had it outdoors on the patio so I guess it was semi-exposed.

Long term you should be looking at something like an STC.

If I can figure out how to wire it & not die, then you probably can too. Just triple check your wiring before plugging it in.
yeah should be fine. i've seen a bunch of youtube clips on it so i'm sure i'll be okay. cheers mate.
 

wbosher

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I'm looking into getting one of the STC-1000 too, looks piss easy to wire up. Just need to make sure that my FV will fit in the garage fridge.

What do you guys find is best for heating (when inside a fridge), the heat pad or belt?
 

slash22000

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yeah should be fine. i've seen a bunch of youtube clips on it so i'm sure i'll be okay. cheers mate.
Strictly speaking, it's illegal in Australia to wire your own electronics plugged into mains power unless you're a certified electrician. So if your house explodes or something, I would probably avoid mentioning the temp controller on the insurance claim.
 

Helles

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http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/DIGITAL-FRIDGE-...#ht_4010wt_1271

Pre-wired, etc.

I forget who had tried them on this board, but I do remember reading a thread and they said it works fine. Just read the instructions and you are good to go.

Ive got three of these 2 where free as the first wasnt very good
Had temp controller set @ 4'c fridge was at 10'c
display temp was something very different
At lowest setting @ -9'c fridge was 4'c
 

fletcher

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haha, right so:

1. stay away from those digital controllers - the pre-wired ones, and
2. get an electrician (read: friend / myself) and not mention anything when the house blows up :)

haha
 

KingKong

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haha, right so:

1. stay away from those digital controllers - the pre-wired ones, and
2. get an electrician (read: friend / myself) and not mention anything when the house blows up :)

haha
I was once in a very similar position as you are. There is a wiring diagram on here for both the heating and cooling functions to work on the STC1000, with two power point sockets.

I found that once I actually purchased the STC and had a look at the guts of it, the whole wiring thing made a lot more sense. It was the first thing I have ever done with electronics and from following the diagram I had a sparky look at it with no dramas. Its been going strong for 4 months.

Although the first time I turned it on was on the end of a 20 metre extension lead, run out into the front yard.... I just wasn't 100% on what was going to happen and didnt want to re-creat Hiroshima. Didnt need to worry though.
 

krisisdog

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Ive got three of these 2 where free as the first wasnt very good
Had temp controller set @ 4'c fridge was at 10'c
display temp was something very different
At lowest setting @ -9'c fridge was 4'c
Is your fridge capable of less than 4*? You need to set your fridge t'stat to as cold as it goes then use the chinese one to control temps.
 

Yob

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You need to set your fridge t'stat to as cold as it goes then use the chinese one to control temps.
or better still, disable it and let the STC sort it out. One of my newer fridges would not get down to under 4'c until I did this. After this it can go sub 0 easily if I want it to.
 

fletcher

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again...these are the reasons i need to get someone to do it. i'd have not known that (re: firdge's thermostat). how is this done? or is it more technical knowledge than can be done in this thread? i'm guessing someone's posted it before but i've not searched yet
 

Yob

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a bit of a search and I dug it up for you

HERE

Safety first though mate, read that thread all the way through.

Yob
 

fletcher

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much appreciated yob, thanks mate
 

Liam_snorkel

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You don't need to disable the thermostat *unless* you want your fridge to run at a lower temp than it can on it's lowest setting.
the bar fridge (w/ STC-1000) that I use for fermenting can hold a steady 2deg no worries.
 

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