Once you’ve mashed, brewed, and boiled the beer you brewed at home, it’s time to place it into a fermentation chamber.
It’s probable that you have a bucket of some sort ready to go, but have you thought about the temperature control factor? Will you be able to keep it away from sunlight?
That’s where we come in. Read on to find the best mini fridge for fermentation chamber. The options on this list have been curated for all kinds of buyers!
Don’t have time to go through the whole thing?
Consider going through the quick summary to know which option will suit you!
Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick summary of the products we recommend.
|Product Name||Why We Picked It|
|Danby Designer||Perfect for people who do not have a budget constraint ad are looking for a big mini-fridge|
|The Arctic King||Suitable for people who are looking for a low-maintenance brew since moving this fridge around isn’t necessarily easy|
|The RCA Igloo||Perfect for people who are looking for a mini-fridge that can complement their house’s interior|
|The Midea Compact||Ideal for people who are trying to brew on a smaller scale since it doesn’t have a lot of space|
What are Fermentation Chambers?
A brewing cabinet or a fermentation chamber is a place where you keep your brew for resting. Over the next 10 days or two weeks, your brew will slowly ferment. To achieve this, it’s not essential to have a fancy setup.
Some people can even purchase affordable mini-fridges for fermentation chamber conversion and still get fantastic results. To put it simply, sometimes, making a great brew can be as simple as finding a space in a closet.
By creating a chamber, you’ll be able to utilize the temperature control factor to elevate the quality of your ferment. Be it warm or cold, the yeast is going to require a particular temperature to create a specific style of lager or ale.
That said, there are several ways to make space for your brew during the fermentation process. Be it a DIY chamber or mini-fridges for fermentation chambers, the options we’ve included in the list below are for people with different budgets and varying needs.
The Arctic King (Chest Freezer)
Most people living the fermentation lifestyle love taking on this DIY project. With this mini-fridge (some people may want to call it a chest freezer) you’re practically taking a mini-fridge of 5 cubic feet, and are converting it into a fermentation chamber that gives you precise temperature control.
One added advantage of large chest freezers is that they can also be used as kegerators. The cold air of the fridge keeps your kegs chilled, too.
However, you will still have to install temperature sensors on the inside of the fridge door. With the temperature sensors, you’ll be able to control the compressor hump of the mini-fridge that you’re using.
When the desired beer temperature has been reached, the temperature controller will turn off the mini-fridge. Similarly, when it starts falling below a certain point, the mini-fridge will turn back on.
- The conversion process with this mini-fridge (or chest freezer) is easy
- You can also use it as a keezer or a kegerator
- You won’t have to spend ample time monitoring it
- You can also install an automated temperature probe
- It may use more electricity than other fermentation chamber options
- It does not have an external thermostat
- Some of the components needed can be expensive
- It will take a lot of heavy lifting
Danby Designer 4.4 Cubic Feet
This fridge has a compact design, a scratch-free top, and a mechanical thermostat. While it may be small, it has enough space if you’re fermenting beer. The unit shelves give enough room which let you maximize your needs.
The wired shelf inside the fridge door panel will also allow air to flow without any disruption which lets the fridge’s contents drop their temperatures pretty quickly. Moreover, since this fridge has a small size, you can place it almost anywhere.
Even if you’re a lefty, opening this fridge won’t be a hassle since it has a reversible door that can help both lefties and righties. The light bulb inside the fridge is also incredibly bright, which allows you to take a quick glance at the fermenting beer.
The door seal is also sturdy and rubberized. This way you can ensure the beer temp is always at the optimal level.
- It’s E-star compliant
- It has a light inside of it
- It’s frost-free
- Compared to other options on this list, this fridge may be somewhat expensive
The RCA Igloo Mini Fridge
While there are several reasons to get this fridge for the fermentation process, its colors are one of the most prominent reasons people get it.
Apart from the traditional black color, some other colors that you can get it in are blue, purple, red, and green. The fridge has a 3.2 cubic feet capacity and weighs approximately 45 pounds. Since it’s lightweight, moving it around your house will be easy.
Moreover, the fridge is also affordable and does a good job of saving energy, too. That said, it does run a bit loud so that is one consideration you’ll need to make before you get it.
Another thing worth noticing is that it doesn’t have a precise thermostat. You’ll just have the high-low dial which doesn’t give you a lot of transparency.
- It’s available in multiple bright colors
- It’s easy to move since it isn’t heavy
- It’s affordable as well
- It has a loud noise, perhaps because of the computer fan
- It doesn’t enough space for a ferm chamber since it’s small
The Midea Compact Mini Fridge
This mini-fridge is a lot like a fridge in many ways. It has a freezer that has its own door – several homebrewers are going to find this factor desirable. It’s available in white, stainless steel, and black finishes and it is also e-star compliant.
Since it runs quietly, you won’t have to think too hard before placing it in any room. Moreover, it also has LED lighting, an adjustable thermostat, and removable shelves as well.
Unfortunately, even though the shelves can be removed, you won’t be able to adjust them. So you can’t change their place and put them on the top of the fridge.
- It’s good at maintaining its temperature
- It’ll run without making a lot of sounds
- It’s energy-efficient
- The shelves can’t be adjusted
- You may need more space if you’re fermenting on a large scale
Why Temperature and Light Matter (and the Importance of Cold Air)
One of the most crucial factors of the fermentation process is regulating the temperature and the light. When the appropriate temperature and light are provided, your brew will be a lot more clear, have a richer flavor, and will simply taste a lot better when these details are paid attention to.
Not paying attention to these two factors can give your brew off-flavors. Whether you’re using an advanced or a basic ferm chamber, this is the one factor you must pay attention to, everything else is secondary. This step lets the yeast inside the brew transform into a delicious drink.
The different settings of the temp controller and light will let different strains of yeast produce specific varieties of brew. That said, the conditions need to be perfect if you want a certain strain of yeast to give off its results.
For instance, if you’re fermenting a lager in your refrigerator, you’ll need a cool temperature between 45 degrees Fahrenheit to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if you’re fermenting an ale pail, you’re going to need temperatures between 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
It’s important for you to remember that transforming the sugars from your wort into a delicious brew and alcohol is a process that generates heat due to fermentation. That said, too much heat can give your brew an off-flavor, too.
Here’s what we mean:
A temperature that’s too high can make the yeast produce chemical compounds that are called fusel alcohols which translates to bad liquor in German. This particular alcohol is heavier the typical ethanol which is the alcohol people want in their beer.
The presence of fusel alcohol can produce a solvent-like or harsh flavor which may not be something you’d want to taste.
Higher temperatures can also cause the yeast to produce esters which is a fruity type of alcohol. While this may sound good, it isn’t necessarily a good thing since an abundance of ester can make your brew taste more like a banana than beer.
Even though esters can have their benefits, if you’re looking for a true crispy lager, you’d want to keep these to a minimum.
This can give your beer a buttery flavor. However, this can also be produced in excess if your brew gets too hot. If the temperature gets too high during the fermenting process, your beer may have a foul taste.
On the other hand, if your brew is too cold, you may have sluggish yeast that doesn’t do the task you’ve given it. This way, it will drop out of suspension and not ferment altogether.
Remember, fluctuating temperature is the number one reason it’s hard to produce good beer. Inside a chamber that has been regulated appropriately, your brew will stay at a consistent temperature and you’ll reduce the risk of over-fermenting.
One must pay attention to this particularly in the first 72 hours of the process when your yeast will do the most important part of the process – converting wort into beer.
Exposure to UV
It’s essential to remember that keeping your away from sunlight is an important part of the process. If done correctly, you’ll hit your target flavor a lot more easily. Not only will sunlight add head into the mix, but UV rays from the sun can also make it have a skunky flavor.
Brewing With the Season
For more than 5,000 years, humans have enjoyed consuming beer. Since no one had mini-fridges when people started the fermentation process for the first time, brewers were keen on brewing with the season. That is also how they learned to ferment beer in cold and dark caves.
While you may not live in a cave, you can help the process by taking advantage of natural shadows and the appropriate season. Does your area have a distinct season history with long periods of warmth and coldness?
If yes, you should consider fermenting in the cooler season. Try skipping the summer season altogether.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can fermentation be done in the fridge?
Yes. However, when fermentation is over, always store them at room temperature. It slows fermentation thereby improving shelf life. Traditional fermentation was stored in cellars and in refrigerators.
What is a fermentation chamber?
Using one allows for optimal temperatures of the fermentation that control Esters and lower fusing alcohol levels.
While the right temperature and amount of light are essential for the process, it’s also important to remember that people improve their abilities of brewing with time. While a mini-fridge for fermentation will help, you’ll still need to be patient with the process.
When you do, we promise you – you’ll get to drink the most delicious glass of beer you’ve ever had!