Wednesday 6 November 2019

Dedicated Brew Fridge & Temperature Controller

Dedicated Brew Fridge & Temperature Controller

In one of my previous blog posts I mentioned my ongoing battle against home twang and some of the common suggestions on how to eliminate it's off-flavours from home brewed beers.

One of the most common suggestions to brewing good beer is having decent fermentation control - and one of the best ways to control this is with a dedicated brewing fridge and temperature controller.

I've just purchased a second hand all fridge off Gumtree that will be used as my dedicated brewing/fermenting fridge to help improve the quality of my brews. It's a Fisher & Paykel C450 fridge that I've paired with an InkBird ITC-308 Wifi temperature controller.

The fridge - loaded with bottles for conditioning and the latest batch fermenting away

I toyed with the idea of a smaller bar fridge but was unsure about finding one that would comfortably fit my fermenting vessel. I also found that they weren't really any cheaper than full size fridges when buying second hand - plus getting a full size fridge would allow increased flexibility. For example, I could easily store 2 fermenting vessels in a full size fridge, or, as I'm doing now, I can use it for bottle conditioning/storage as well as fermenting, win win!

The fridge has plastic shelves which would not withstand the weight of a 23L vessel fermenting beer, so I visited Bunnings and purchased some large diameter PVC pipe, cut a couple of pieces to size with a hack-saw and sat it underneath the bottom shelf that I'm using to support the fermenter.

The other shelves are bowing a little in the middle under the weight of bottles that are conditioning - I'm trying to think of a way to reinforce these, but for the time being I'll just try not to overload them too much.

The temperature controller I decided on is the Inkbird ITC-308 Wifi - which is working great! The best thing about this controller is the simple "plug and play" nature of it. It comes with a standard power outlet/socket to control heating and cooling - so for me it was simply a matter of plugging the fridge into the "cooling" socket, setting the temperature on the controller and attaching the probe to the fermenter, and we're set!

The wifi component of this is great as well. It only connects to 2.4GHz wifi networks, and it logs to a centralised/cloud system so you can access and control your inkbird from anywhere. You need to create a free account with Inkbird as part of the setup - and when you login to this (using a free app on your phone) you can view the current temperature, adjust the settings/parameters, and also view a log of the temperature (temperature is logged every 15 minutes)

Would highly recommend the Inkbird ITC-308 wifi temperature controller - it's affordable price and easy setup make it a must have to control the heating/cooling for your homebrewing setup.

Some screenshots from the Inkbird app are below;

Main screen showing the current temperature and whether cooling or heating is currently active

Options screen where you can adjust heating/cooling parameters and settings

Graph logged automatically every 15 minutes showing probe temperature

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