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Fermentation Fridge

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folkpunk

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Finally got a fermentation fridge in action today. A few weeks back I got a free fridge and set about converting. Created a wooden shelf with holes to allow heat from a tube heater mounted underneath. Used an Inkbird to control heating/cooling. I figured it would be easier to feed cable straight out the side for convenience. Made a pilot hole all was fine. Drilled a 10mm hole and hit a cooling tube! One dead fridge.aheadbutt

A few weeks later I've bought a second hand fridge, but this time payed for a newish decent model. Have spent today converting, but this time went through the drainage hole at the back so no chance of hitting the cooling tube. All working now and I've set up a Belgian kit at 18c for the first three days. Then I will let it loose and see how hot it goes. Recommended to hold it at 26c max so will keep an eye on it and see what happens!
 

GhostShip

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It should make a huge difference to the quality of your beer. I got mine a couple of years ago (an ebay £12 special!). I was lucky - both the cable to the tube heater and the cable to the InkBird probe fitted nicely through the drainage hole at the back of the fridge. I absolutely wouldn't be without it now.

Hope the kit turns out well - though 26ºC sounds very high!
 

folkpunk

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I Hope so! I think 26C is the cutoff - as in don't let it go above 26C but whatever temp it gets to just hold it there. I'll report back when it's done!
 

Markk

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Finally got a fermentation fridge in action today. A few weeks back I got a free fridge and set about converting. Created a wooden shelf with holes to allow heat from a tube heater mounted underneath. Used an Inkbird to control heating/cooling. I figured it would be easier to feed cable straight out the side for convenience. Made a pilot hole all was fine. Drilled a 10mm hole and hit a cooling tube! One dead fridge.aheadbutt

A few weeks later I've bought a second hand fridge, but this time payed for a newish decent model. Have spent today converting, but this time went through the drainage hole at the back so no chance of hitting the cooling tube. All working now and I've set up a Belgian kit at 18c for the first three days. Then I will let it loose and see how hot it goes. Recommended to hold it at 26c max so will keep an eye on it and see what happens!
I picked a fridge up for a fiver off eBay At the end of last year to use as a kegerator. I thought the cooling was in the back but during the summer I could feel the sides getting pretty warm when it was in use showing the cooling was actually in the sides. I was just very fortunate that the two holes I drilled to take the beer lines missed anything vital.
 

RichieBeer

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A few weeks back I got a free fridge and set about converting. Created a wooden shelf with holes to allow heat from a tube heater mounted underneath.
Glad you finally got up and running. Can I ask what tube heater you got? I have a fridge here ready but am a bit daunted about converting it for brewing...
 

folkpunk

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Glad you finally got up and running. Can I ask what tube heater you got? I have a fridge here ready but am a bit daunted about converting it for brewing...
I used a dimplex https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NT0X8K2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's about 16 inches though so needs to be a 60cm wide fridge. It was easy to do, once I used the drain hole to feed the cables.... I needed to put a new plug on it as all electrical devices seem to come with molded plugs these days.
 

Markk

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Glad you finally got up and running. Can I ask what tube heater you got? I have a fridge here ready but am a bit daunted about converting it for brewing...
I’ve got a 7w reptile heat mat under the FV in my brew fridge. I only rigged it up recently so not experienced really low ambient temperatures yet but it’s keeping my FV at a constant 20 degrees with no problems currently.
 

MagnusTS

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I used a dimplex https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00NT0X8K2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It's about 16 inches though so needs to be a 60cm wide fridge. It was easy to do, once I used the drain hole to feed the cables.... I needed to put a new plug on it as all electrical devices seem to come with molded plugs these days.
My fridge doesn't have a drain hole, and I don't want to risk drilling.
Do you think you could just feed the dimplex power cord through the door, or would it not seal?

@Markk I was also thinking about maybe using a brewing heat mat instead, which I think has a thinner power cord? Do you think that would be powerful enough to heat the inside of the fridge, or does it need to be in direct contact with the FV to work?
 

folkpunk

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My fridge doesn't have a drain hole, and I don't want to risk drilling.
Do you think you could just feed the dimplex power cord through the door, or would it not seal?
I've read some people remove a small part of the door seal to feed the cable. I wouldn't drill through the side unless you are certain it doesn't have coolant tubes.
 

Markk

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@Markk I was also thinking about maybe using a brewing heat mat instead, which I think has a thinner power cord? Do you think that would be powerful enough to heat the inside of the fridge, or does it need to be in direct contact with the FV to work?
I don’t care what the temperature is in the fridge, only what the temperature of the wort is. My temp probe is attached to the FV about half way up and insulated with a few layers of kitchen roll so it shows me the temperature of the wort/beer. ive not used a brew heat mat but the reptile one only cost about a tenner.
 

MagnusTS

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I don’t care what the temperature is in the fridge, only what the temperature of the wort is. My temp probe is attached to the FV about half way up and insulated with a few layers of kitchen roll so it shows me the temperature of the wort/beer. ive not used a brew heat mat but the reptile one only cost about a tenner.
Good point about wort temp, rather than fridge temp.

I was just wondering if a heat pad would work for a stainless steel FV (on legs), by heating up the inside of the fridge. Or if it would only work by being in direct contact with the bottom of a plastic or glass FV
 

Markk

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Good point about wort temp, rather than fridge temp.

I was just wondering if a heat pad would work for a stainless steel FV (on legs), by heating up the inside of the fridge. Or if it would only work by being in direct contact with the bottom of a plastic or glass FV
As far as I know the reptile ones work on infra red so only heat objects they touch. So, you could possibly place it under a ceramic tile, for example, and create a heat source.
 

MagnusTS

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I've read some people remove a small part of the door seal to feed the cable. I wouldn't drill through the side unless you are certain it doesn't have coolant tubes.
Thanks. I'm definitely not going to drill thru the side. I just bought a fancy looking beer fridge for the shed and don't want to damage it. I'll maybe do like you say and cut a tiny bit out of the seal somewhere unobvious.
 

MagnusTS

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As far as I know the reptile ones work on infra red so only heat objects they touch. So, you could possibly place it under a ceramic tile, for example, and create a heat source.
Thanks, that's really helpful.
 

RichK

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I just run the cable through the door seal (hinge side) without removing any & hasn't been a problem.
 

mdss

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I've got 2 fermentation fridges, different sizes and makes. In both I could only get the supply to the tubular heaters through the drain holes, so I just run the temperature sensor cable(which is fairly thin) through the door seal to my STC1000's, which works fine for me.
 

Markk

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The existing drain hole in both my fridges wasn’t big enough for both cables but a quick go with a 10mm drill bit and they were perfect.
 

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My fridge doesn't have a drain hole, and I don't want to risk drilling.
Do you think you could just feed the dimplex power cord through the door, or would it not seal?

@Markk I was also thinking about maybe using a brewing heat mat instead, which I think has a thinner power cord? Do you think that would be powerful enough to heat the inside of the fridge, or does it need to be in direct contact with the FV to work?
Make a paste of corn flour and alcohol, or meths, paint it on the side of the fridge, set the fridge to the coldest setting and it will map out the refrigerant lines letting you drill where the lines aren't.
 

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