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Senior Member
Sep 17, 2009
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I'm looking to start brewing lagers. This will require me to get another fermentation box as I'd like to be able to continue brewing ales while my lagers sit for months. I currently use a chest freezer with a digital temp controller for my ales. The digital temp controller was one of the most important pieces of brewing equipment purchased to me and has made me realize just how important precise temp control is during ferm. I was previously using an analog controller and it just didn't cut it. Temps varied too much during primary and it affected the beer tremendously.

So I'm wondering if I need the same setup for a lagering box or whether I can just get a refrigerator and not use any temp controller. Is it as important to keep lagers at eg. 50 degrees rather than between 45-55 as it is to keep ales at eg. 66 rather than 65-75?
a fridge without a temp controller might work but its not going to be nearly as stable as you'd expect, and might not actually get warm enough.
I figured. Just thought I'd try and save $125 ;)
I use either a fridge or upright freezer with temp control for my lagers. I prefer the freezer as when I crash cool it is easier to get to 33F and hold it. I have the analog control on one and a digital control on the other. You are right, the analog isn't as near precise but in reality, you just need to be close. I tend to ferment the lagers on the absolute low side of the recommended range so if it gets a bit warmer, it really doesn't affect it. I found the fridge will get warmer than set, but never colder.

One other trick I use it to take a glass of water or a one gallon carboy and fill it with water and stick the probe in it. The liquid in the carboy will be the same as in the carboy of beer so it keeps the temps much more stable and precise.