Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fermentation Temperature Control System

Over the winter, I picked up a temperature control box off Northern Brewer. The temperature kit came with the control unit, the Thermowell stopper, and a Fermawrap. This worked great in the winter months, but now that spring is here, I need to keep the temperature down, not up. This requires refrigeration. Though I do have an extra fridge, this is used to hold my bottled beers (and soon to be kegs). I can’t keep the fridge temperature at 66-68 and keep my bottles cold, so I needed another solution.

About 5 years ago, I happen to get a promotional Red Bull fridge that can hold soda’s, beer, and what ever needs to be cold. The fridge is tall and slender and I keep it tucked away in the garage. I break it out in the summer months, when I have a party. The fridge is very energy efficient and is insulated to keep the inside temperature steady for a long time. I tested it out and was amazed that the 6-gallon Better Bottle I use fit right in.

For the blow off tube cup, I dug out the Christmas wreath holder my wife uses on the front door, taped a Double Big Gulp cup to it, and hung it on the side of the fridge. This keeps the system as one unit. The fridge is on wheels, so I can wheel it out of the way, if I need to.

The fridge can get down to almost freezing, so it can be used for lagering and also brightening up ales.

Below are some pictures of the system. I’ll post back once my Pale Ale is finished.


12 comments:

Jeremy said...

What a great find! Obviously the powers that be want you to brew.

Have you tried to figure the actual power consumption of this fridge?

Jeff Louella said...

This is the fridges website. http://www.vestfrost.com/Default.aspx?Page=Commercial&Group=53&ID=244
They didn't really say. They did say it's 150watts. The fridge does have great insulation. I think it has the gel from those blue ice pack in it's walls. It can keep it's temp for hours with out using any electricity. Though I can not see that from the site, I do remember reading that when I got it.

B said...

Jeff - I enjoyed this and agree you have a great find here. I would prefer this to another separate fridge. Great idea!

rogersjoe489 said...

Is that a temperature controller attached? Did it come with the unit?

Jeff Louella said...

The controller is separate and can be found here: http://www.northernbrewer.com/temp-control.html

The fridge is a fridge. The controller can work on any fridge or heater. It just depends on how you set your pins (for heating or cooling).

Bill said...

Will a corny keg fit inside that cooler?

Jeff Louella said...

No, a corney sticks out like 4-5 inches.

Bill said...

So, with an airlock attached, does it fit into the Red Bull Fridge?

Bill said...

Meaning with your 6 gallon carboy with a airlock attach, does it fit into the fridge?

Sam said...

awesome job! I just scored one of these fridges off of craigslist. I was thinking of my options for a fermentation fridge when I saw this online, and it seemed too good to be true.

By my judgment, an airlock would stick out about 2-3 inches from the top. I'm thinking it wouldn't be too hard to just make a new lid out of plexiglass to accommodate it though. i was also thinking of putting some sort of spring-loaded system to make lifting the carboy out easier. we'll see.

Robert Burns said...

I am exploring a system to achieve what you did. I admire yours. On the light side, your use of "Big Gulp" is precious!

us.azbil said...

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