From the HBD Archive
From: Darryl Richman <darryl@ism780c.isc.com>
Subject: Second refrigerator
Date: 1989-03-23 14:17:33 GMT

From: lbr@gatech.edu
"My wife is considering buying me a second refrigerator for my birthday

Happy Birthday!

"The units she's looked at are your basic top/bottom refrigerator/freezers.
"This should give me plenty of room in the refrigerator part. I'm a little
"concerned about temperature, though. Miller and Noonan say ferment in the
"45-55 degF range. Most refrigerators are set to maintain the low 40s.
"Is the fridge's thermostat likely to hold 50, or will it require the
"external on/off timer that some writers mention?

Most refrigerators try to hold the temperature in the high 30s. It is
usually not possible to set the thermistat for more than a bit above
40.

When I first got my refrig, I used an appliance timer to approximate
50. This seems to work alright, although many writers say that
temperature cycling is bad for your beer.

Now I also have a chest freezer. I hooked the power cord into a
deli-case thermistat, which I mounted on the front of the unit. It has
a long capillary tube with a bulb at the end, and this drapes over into
the freezer compartment. This is the way to go.

Another local brewer has made a heat exchanger out of an old window air
conditioner. He set it up to cool water, and he pumps the water
through a series of plastic trashcans, each one containing a carboy.
This is actually a better setup because it is expandable to whatever
brewing scale you might work at.

"Ideally, I'd like to use the refrigerator for fermentaion and maybe lagering
"(lower 30s), and the freezer as a mini deep freeze (otherwise it's just
"wasted). Is this feasible, or does the 50 degF ferment preclude using
"the freezer? (This is a big selling point to my wife.)

The answer, of course, is it depends. I have been able to use the
freezer to keep my hops and 4 extra trays of ice cubes, but when you
are trying to set the timer, you can miss high and nothing will stay
frozen. Once you get a feel for what timer setting works, you should
be able to use the freezer (until a heat wave comes along...).

Before you actually store something in the 'fridge, fool with the timer
a bit to find the tmeperature, and how much of an adjustment in time
changes the temperature. Remember that your fermenting beer is
exothermic, so you'll have a mini heat wave going on inside as well as
out.

--Darryl Richman

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