I’m slowly getting back into home brewing after moving to Florida, and need to deal with the warm temperatures that exist 8 or 9 months out of the year. Fermenting at 65 degrees is difficult, and I’m thinking of buying a chest freezer and external thermostat. My question: is the “natural” temperature of a freezer (less than 32 degrees) too low for it to be converted to a fermenter at 65 degrees? I see lots of advice for converting freezers into kegerators, but no mention of fermenters. I’m afraid the compressor will cycle on and off too rapidly. Does anyone have any experience with this? Thanks.
Welcome to the forum. Many people use a chest freezer for fermenting. All you have to do to keep the freezer from cycling on/off too much is to put the temp probe (from external controller) in a bottle of water. This is what I do and it really works well. Mine runs a few times a day.
Thanks! Small refrigerators with sufficient inside depth for a fermenter are impossible to find, but chest freezers are easy. Thanks again.
Freezers with external temp controllers do the job. I made this upgrade earlier this year.
For freezers, it seems like 5cu. ft. freezers have WAY to much room for one bucket/carboy, but no where near enough for 2. My 7.1 from Lowes fits 2 nicely. Others go bigger. If you measure HxWxD of the carboy’s/buckets, don’t forget to leave 3-5" height for the airlock. Upright freezers tend to have non-movable shelves; I was unable to find any that would work for me. For the chest freezers, they all have a hump of some size in the bottom (to make room for the compressor) so don’t just trust that a 7.1 will fit 2 without checking the hump.
For temp controllers, the Johnson a419 seems popular. (<$100) There’s also the BrewPi and an upcoming thing called BrewBit (<$200), which seems intriguing, as it has most of the geek factor of the BrewPi, while being almost as simple, maybe simpler, than the Johnson to set up. BrewPi just seems a bit overcomplicated IMO as it uses a Raspberry Pi AND Arduino. Forum user Nighthawk has a sig which has a link to a controller which is amazingly cheap if you’re not afraid of a little wiring. I’m actually using a controller of my own design, so I’m no help picking a controller.
See my signature line for a temp controller that is under $30
Thanks for the information. I went and looked at the 5 cu-ft freezer at Lowes and this is the one I plan to go with. And the inexpensive thermostat as well. Thanks again.