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Fermentation cooling

I have recently felt the itch to make a lager. However I don’t have the ability to keep my fermenter cold enough to let the yeast really work it’s magic. I have read a lot of different ideas and researched a few ideas, and the most cost efficient method seems to be using a wine cooler with adjustable temperature and removable shelves. That way the entire fermenter can fit inside and the temperature is very controllable.

Question is, does anyone have a recommendation for a model to use? I have found a few for ~$130 or so, obviously I would need to check dimensions and temperature ranges to make sure it would work for my application. I figured rather than trying to get a manufacturer to admit how big the inside of a fridge is, I could ask the forum! Any advice?

You can find 7cf chest freezers around $150 and with a cheap controller you can control the temps while getting the benefit of being able to cold crash. To me worth the little extra money over a $130 wine fridge that may or may not be big enough and keep the temps in check.

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Oh and mine held 2 6gal carboys.

Where did you find these freezers? And my fear is… aren’t freezers getting to like 30 degrees? Does the temp controller just turn the freezer on and off as the temperature moves around?

Craigs list…garage sales.

Yea but where else? Those aren’t reliable, I can’t seem to find any around here so I can’t rely on that

Here is a chest freezer.. You could probably find one for cheaper. I bought mine at Sams Club.

Here is a good but fair priced temp controller. These turn the freezer on/off when needed.

I got mine from my bro in law :grinning:

We just bought the same freezer by Criterion at Menard’s to replace an upright that slumped. Second hand stores might have a freezer for sale. One local appliance store sells used but doesn’t advertise them. Ask around.

Out of curiosity, how would you fit the temperature probe into the freezer without messing up the seal/insulation? Did you drill a hole in it, or just try to close the lid on top of the probe and hope it would seal around it?

My temp probe cord just goes under the lid gasket.

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I do as @uncdeo. The probe lines are very thin and don’t pose much problems.

Then take the probe and place it against the fermenting beer. Insulate the probe for more precise temp control. I used a big enough piece of thick styrofoam insulation and used an ace bandage to hold it in place.

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Actually the “cheapest” way to make lagers is with a swamp cooler and frozen water bottles. I do it all the time. It’s not elegant and requires attention twice/day but it works. I ferment at 50-52F in a 70 degree room.

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I also use a chest freezer. I have a 10.2 cu ft, I know I got it new for under 200 or maybe it was a bit over 200…put a 30 dollar inkbird temp controller on it with the probe wire between the door gaskets and put a little ceramic cube heater in it (another 15.00). And I can ferment At any temp I want and keep loose beers cold and lager kegs … it was worth every cent and in the two years or so I have had it I have had no issues.
The freezers obviously have good insulation and the temp controller holds me to within a couple of degrees (its what I set the hysterisis(sp). At.
My freezer is bigger than you need but I tend to make pretty good use of it. Particularly if I make a visit to the trillium brewery and buy some beer.

Its a simple equation… want mediocre brew? or do you want to step up your game? If you look back in history… no one ever just walked up to the brew kettle and made an awesome brew that everybody wanted… You have to understand the process and the a way to control your process. Sneezles61

Old refrigerators shouldn’t be too hard to come by on line, etc with a little looking and patience. I like having a “fermigerator” for a lagering chamber separate from my kegerator for my kegs/ package beer etc. I’m not sure how happy you will be with one of those wine cooler thingies…they tend to be notoriously short lived, the reviews are awful.

We got ours (refrigerator in garage)for free from our neighbors back in 1995( backstory: he was an officer in Delta Force, his standing line was, " now that you know I have to kill you". ) they moved to DC from here( near Patrick Air Force base).

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