chilling in a freezer

Post #1 made 2 years ago
no...not climbing inside a refrigeration unit for the purposes of relaxation, but I'm about to build/assemble a fermentation fridge using a chest freezer and it got me wondering. Has anyone tried using them for cooling wort prior to fermentation?

on the one hand if I put 20L of cooling wort into a -20C freezer it should cool it a lot quicker (I don't chill at the moment) but I wondered if there's any gotchas with condensation or the freezer struggling to cool it down?

edited to add: i'm talking about putting it into a -20C freezer, attaching the probe to the side of the FV, and setting the temp on the PID to 21C

thanks in advance
Last edited by mickspangle on 29 Apr 2017, 22:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: chilling in a freezer

Post #2 made 2 years ago
Sorry you've been waiting for a reply for so long mick. Probably one of those times when everyone is busy and, I know the site is having problems with email notifications. Hopefully you will be notified of my reply?

Your question is a bit hard to answer. It's not badly written or anything. In fact, I thought it was going to be an easy answer until I stopped to write. (Others probably had the same problem.)

Here's my thoughts/questions...

1. A chest freezer for home-brewers should be seen as just a much better insulated fridge. It should have a controller on it and should not be allowed to drop much below freezing (0°C / 32°F).
2. In your post you say, "if I put 20L of cooling wort into a -20C freezer it should cool it a lot quicker." That's not correct and may even be wrong depending on several things.

I'll stop my points there as I'm sort on time and I think, the main thing to answer is 2 above. Also, even though you gave some good detail in your post, there are still some things that are not clear (e.g. you say you don't chill, but all brewers chill whether it be actively or passively). To save time, I am going to look at some extreme scenarios....

Scenario 1 - Boiling Hot

You drain your just boiled wort into your fermenter (I think that is what you mean by FV) and put it straight into your freezer which is at way below freezing (-20°C / -4 °F). DON'T DO THAT!!! I don't have time to explain why now but someone else could if you ask them to.

Scenario 2 - Too Hot

We don't know how you are chilling but let's assume that your wort is not boiling but is to hot for pitching. In this case, using a fridge/freezer can be a viable option. Whether the "fridge" is at 0 or -22°C actually doesn't make that much difference in how fast you would move from say 30°C to 21°C.

A few more notes...

Oops, I'm out of time now but please give more info on what your current chilling process is (I know it is a passive method but which one?). And, one other thing that strikes me is you mention 21°C / 70 °F for a pitching temp. For me, that is too high for nearly all the styles I know.

So, more info ;)
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Re: chilling in a freezer

Post #3 made 2 years ago
yep, fair enough - it wasn't worded terribly well.

current scenario is that post boil I tend to let the wort cool down a bit (say to 70-80C) and then transfer to a FV and put the lid, then leave it overnight to cool before pitching yeast the next day.

I've just been given a larder fridge (although I did try and originally use an existing chest freezer but it was too narrow for my FV, hence the original question) and have converted this to a fermentation fridge with a controller and a heater in the bottom.

I guess my real questions are:
1. would/could you use this fridge to achieve more rapid cooling than I currently do
2. is it worth doing?
3. would it make a difference to the beer?
4. what temp would you recommend for pitching? it's Graham Wheelers version of Hop Back Summer Lightning with a fullers yeast, so a hoppy golden ale

hope that's a bit clearer...
Last edited by mickspangle on 05 May 2017, 03:26, edited 1 time in total.
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