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Two fermenters same fridge

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Tricky Dicky

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Just thinking of getting a spare fridge repaired that has plenty of room for two 30L fermenters. I already have an inkbird temp controller with a candescent lamp as the heat source, which so far in my other smaller fridge works great. I'm trying to avoid running two fridges at the same time. I was thinking of putting the heat source next to the fermenter at the bottom and anticipate the temp for the fermenter sitting above it would be a couple of degrees warmer. Before I go ahead and get this repaired is there anything else I should be aware of with two fermenters in the same fridge?
 

Grmblz

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Obviously the yeasts will have to be similar in the two brews, so no lager in one and ale in the other.
Candescent globes aren't the best source for heat, light affects beer in a negative way, so a heat pad or a heat lamp Reptile Heat Lamp Ceramic Infrared Emitter Light Bulb Chicken Incubator Brooder | eBay is a preferred option.
Temperature stratification is also an issue, a small computer fan will keep the air circulating and the temp stable top to bottom.
Best place for temp probe is in the heart of the brew but a thermowell is needed for that, a very good second best is to tape a piece of foam (wet suit material or similar) to the side of the fermenter half way up and sandwich the probe between it and the fermenter body.
 

Tricky Dicky

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Thanks Grmblz. The fridge does have a fan so I'll take some readings in different parts of the fridge to see how much the temperature fluctuates.
 

cedric

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forgive me if sound confused, but i am relatively new to this.
i obtained a working fridge 4 months ago, bought an inkbird and a heatbelt.
the heatbelt just sits in the bottom of the fridge and the probe is inside a piece of foam on a fermenter.
when the inkbird is in heat mode, there would be no fans going as the fridge would be turned off.
i have actually unplugged the fridge completely as, in winter, the fridge would never kick in anyway.
so my additional question is, in the experience of you guys, in summer does the fridge insulation hold its temp at say 20c when it's 30c outside.
ie will i need to plug in the fridge in summer and does tricky actually need a working fridge?
also, i paid $125 for my big all-fridge unit on gumtree.
what is the cost of repairing a fridge these days?
 

Grmblz

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Heat belt sitting on the bottom is fine provided the door seals are in good condition, and it doesn't get too cold outside, a second heat belt or heat pad can be added if you find it isn't holding temp.

Probe "inside" foam? It needs to be sandwiched between the foam and fermenter.

It's desirable to have a small fan running continuously, typically a computer fan, a few dollars off e-bay, just make sure it's 240v a lot of them are 12v, can be wired into the fridge electrics but electrical knowledge is necessary, a good option is connecting it to the live side of the micro switch that turns the fridge light on and off, get a sparky if in any doubt about what you are doing,

A fridge will soon warm to ambient temp, so no it wont hold 20c if it's 30c outside, one of the reasons people use upright freezers rather than fridges is the insulation is a lot better, but they too will go to ambient over a 24hr period, and don't forget that fermentation produces heat, so an actively fermenting brew in a turned off fridge will actually be hotter than ambient. So yes Tricky needs a working fridge.

Cost to repair a fridge? is a bit like asking how much to repair a car, depends what's wrong with it, blown motor = $1000's, flat tyre = $50.
Fridges aren't really designed to be repaired, if it has a gas leak, probably due to corrosion of the steel pipes (gone are the days they used copper) it's almost impossible, if the compressor has died then it can be replaced but at $400-$500 you're better off just getting another gumtree fridge/freezer.
About the only time it's worth considering a repair is if the thermostat has died, we don't use the fridge thermostat anyway, options are: replace it with an STC1000 ($20) or if using an external controller (inkbird) just short out the fridge thermostat so that the compressor runs when-ever the fridge is plugged in.
There's plenty of you-tube how too's but honestly if you need to look at you-tube to do it, then DON'T! Get a sparky, or a cheaper alternative might be to take it to one of those second hand fridge/washing machine places and ask them to wire it up, it doesn't take long if you know what you're doing, and they're replacing thermostats all the time.
 

cedric

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ok thanks for that.
my probe is sandwiched inside a piece of material taped to the fermenter (prob didn't make that clear lol)
good point on insulation on fridge v freezer. i should have looked for a 'freezer only instead of 'fridge only'
looking at a $30 240v slimline computer fan.
fridge is now connected to inkbird, ready for summer.

the only fridge repair i've done is change the defrost timer switch.
these can often go faulty, easy and cheap to replace on my beer fridge.
maybe it is one thing to check, the switch can be manually turned on some models to test.
 

Tricky Dicky

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I got the fridge repaired cost $350 for labour and control module, I'm OK with that as its in decent nick with good seals etc and 2 fermenters fit in very easily. I'll source a 240v fan and plug it in to the heat source socket on the Inkbird with an adapter and place the fan near the heat source. The fridge has its own fan so should be good to go, thanks for the input guys.
 

matt77

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I've done 2 fermenters in 1 fridge.
But i staggered the timing.
Temp controlled one til krausen had dropped then put 2nd fermenter in and temp controlled that one. Let 2nd one finish then use ambient to raise temp of both for diacetyl rest.
Then cold crashed em both.
Adds a week to the first one but better than 2 or 3 weeks between brews.
 

Tricky Dicky

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I've done 2 fermenters in 1 fridge.
But i staggered the timing.
Temp controlled one til krausen had dropped then put 2nd fermenter in and temp controlled that one. Let 2nd one finish then use ambient to raise temp of both for diacetyl rest.
Then cold crashed em both.
Adds a week to the first one but better than 2 or 3 weeks between brews.
have you done two brews in the same day and put both fermenters in at the same time? just wondered if you got a significant temperature difference from top to bottom and do you have a fan on all the time ?and is your an upright fridge?
 

cedric

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just checked my upright fridge, which has 3 x brews inside (not beer)
heat strips on the top & middle fermenters are at the set temp of 28c (exactly 27.7C), the bottom one is showing 26c(exactly 26.2C)
no fan installed as yet.
the heatband and probe were on the middle fermenter.
the exact temp difference was 1.5C.
i have moved the probe and heatband to the bottom fermenter to see if that evens it all up.
 

Grmblz

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Moving the probe will change the displayed temp, but not "even up" the temp's within the fridge.
By "heat strips" do you mean stick on thermometers? If so be aware that they are notoriously inaccurate.
No idea what you are brewing or what yeast you are using but 28c is too hot for ale/lager yeasts, and too cool for Kveik, if you're doing some weird thing with bread yeast it might be ok but that's outside of my field of experience.
 

cedric

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i did say it wasn't beer, yes it is bread yeast. :)
yes i know those strips are a guide only, that's why i posted the accurate temps of the individual fermenters by attaching the probe to each.
now that the heat band has been moved to the bottom of the fridge, there is no difference in temp all the way through the fridge.
so the result is, for me, that by putting the heat source at the bottom of the fridge seems to eliminate/reduce any thermal stratification.
 

Eddy Monsoon

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yes i know those strips are a guide only, that's why i posted the accurate temps of the individual fermenters by attaching the probe to each.
now that the heat band has been moved to the bottom of the fridge, there is no difference in temp all the way through the fridge.
so the result is, for me, that by putting the heat source at the bottom of the fridge seems to eliminate/reduce any thermal stratification.
Warm air rises so it should circulate.............

need a fan if you have the heater at the top

I've got the other issue, the fans gone on my upright and it's now 18 at the bottom but I can't use the top as its sitting at around 25
 

cedric

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Warm air rises so it should circulate.............

need a fan if you have the heater at the top

I've got the other issue, the fans gone on my upright and it's now 18 at the bottom but I can't use the top as its sitting at around 25
simples, turn the fridge upside down :)
 

cedric

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oh, didn't think of that.
and your heat strips will read 81 instead of 18
 

HardEight

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2x30L Brewpiless controlled.. Fridge only connected in summer... Reptile heat cord (coiled around inside door) in winter
 

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