River Crew Brewing


Fermentation Fridge FTW!

The Fermentation Fridge in Action

The Fermentation Fridge in Action

My fermentation fridge rocks!  I had to call it into it’s first action of the season last week.  I brewed Jake’s Swedish Blonde – a highly-hopped but light-bodied blonde ale for the summer.  The beer was happily fermenting in my basement when Mother Nature decide to turn off the super-soaker and throw us into the oven, and weather went from mild and rainy to mid-summer hot overnight.

Yeast isn’t the biggest fan of temperature swings, and I learned the hard way fermenting at too high a temperature throws off-flavors into the beer.  So, as the thermostat in my house crept higher and higher, so did my worry about this beer.  I checked the temperature in the basement and it was sitting around 72, and temperature inside the carboy was around 72-74, which is the highest I was comfortable with.

I didn’t want to shock the yeast and put them to sleep, so I set the fridge to 55 degrees and monitored the temperature inside the carboy like a hawk.  As soon it got to the 68-72 range, I set the temp as high as it could go, which I was presently surprised to find was 65 degrees.

68 Degrees - Perfect Fermentation Temp

68 Degrees - Perfect Fermentation Temp

The fridge completely bailed me out and saved a batch of beer before it went bad.  Jake’s Swedish Blonde is still fermenting away, enjoy temperatures of 63-68 degrees regardless of how hot it gets outside.  It takes a ton of worry out since I can now control something most homebrewers can’t.

Jake's Swedish Blonde sitting at a comfortable 68 degrees

Jake's Swedish Blonde sitting at a comfortable 68 degrees

I’m so glad I picked this thing up.

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2 comments on “Fermentation Fridge FTW!

  1. I’m guessing this is a wine cooler fridge type? Who makes it?. My house is the same way and it is hard to keep a stable temp it runs from 68-74 (with the help of a great a/c) most of the yeast I use says 68-72. I know the temp of the liquid doesn’t change as quickly as room temp but it still worrys me. I am new to homebrewing and from what I’ve read temperature control is “the biggest factor˝ for good clear beer. Been thinking of picking one of these units up. Also gives me the option of brewing a lager which I have yet to do.

  2. Hey Tito!

    Yep – it’s a wine fridge, aka a wine cellar. I trolled Craigslist for awhile until I found one that could fit a 6.5 gallon carboy. Fermenting at too-high a temperature can ruin a well-brewed beer, and this was a huge step for me in brewing. Plus, with the size of the wine cellar, you can easily fit it into a closet of some sort to hide it away.

    If you have a bit more room, I’ve see some smaller chest freezer on HomeDepot.com for around $132 shipped. They can fit 3-4 carboys at once. You’d need a Johnson temperature controller for it, which is another $50, but for under $200, you can have a pretty kick-ass fermentation chamber.

    I might upgrade in the future, but for now my wine cellar is doing just fine.

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