Discussion in 'Cellaring Beer' started by evilc, Oct 3, 2013.
This SO MUCH. Brace dat bitch
why i dont stack them more than 3 high, and not on their sides (vertically)
With the weather heating up in our new house, I decided it was finally time to get some legit beer storage:
It's a used True GDM-47, with a recent service history. Got it in great shape from a guy whose restaurant plans fell through.
If you're looking for a similar setup, I can't recommend watching craigslist enough. It took a week or two of waiting for a good deal to pop up, but it was worth it. I was also able to do my due diligence with the seller (inspected the unit, ensured it was in working order, etc.) prior to purchase.
I have a little over 300 bottles (currently trying to work that number downward, too), and they fit pretty well in here, with just a little room to spare. I would say ~6-8 bottles/cubic foot is in this arrangement seems about right.
Currently, it's a bit too cold (~38 F, as that's the max the stock thermostat will allow), but I'm expecting to get one of these delivered today, so I can keep it more like 50-55 F.
Also, this model came with fluorescent lighting, which while I plan to have the lights off most of the time, is still not the best for the beer. However, it's very cheap and easy to replace the bulb with a drop-in LED unit, like this one.
I also noticed that the shelving was of a much higher gauge and wire count than the wire shelving I've used before. I didn't notice any bowing of the shelving under load in this fridge. I suppose that isn't surprising, as one of the things it's designed to do is hold wine/beer/soft drinks wall-to-wall in a commercial setting.
The little fridge I'm keeping colder for things that should be kept colder, such as friend's homebrews that have a tendency to burst.
Here are a few more pictures of the setup:
Dat Four Loko doe...
Are you monitoring / controlling humidity in there? I could be wrong, but I think fridges tend to be pretty dry and that can cause problems with C&C bottles long term. I wish I could find the picture I took at Sergio's of some very sad 20+ year old Marriage Parfait Krieks with shrunken corks and visible loss of volume.
Not yet. It has a condenser, so I might be able to hijack that system to control humidity a bit. In the past I've had the opposite problem due to condensation, so I'm hoping I can use the condenser to fix that problem, without going too far into the dry. 60% would be nice, but right now I don't even have a way to measure it. That probably should be my next project.
And it's properly cellared!
The thermostat controller came:
If you're thinking about getting one of these things, I highly recommend it. It has a ton of controls and can be re-wired for different probes or to be put directly in the power line, should you so choose. Most importantly, you can add some hysteresis to prevent the unit from cycling on and off too much. In my case, I gave it a 2 degree "window" about a set point of 52 F (that is, it won't turn on until its at 54 F and won't turn off until it reaches 50 F), with a minimum delay of 5 minutes, though in my experience it usually takes 15-20 minutes at least to warm up/cool off. I also was able to use it with the internal plug for the compressor so that I can still turn the lights on and off when it's on an "off" cycle. This also allows the circulation fan to run when the compressor is off. The cycling time should be enough to prevent ice buildup, as I can't use the default defrost in conjunction with the external thermostat.
I was originally thinking I would need to drill a hole in the unit for the probe, but instead I was able to route it up the floor drain and tie it to one of the shelves, so that no modifications were necessary to the unit. Here's the probe cord going up the drain:
And the tied-off probe:
I noticed it was missing a tray for condensate, so I bought one of these. It fits perfectly:
and was pretty cheap, should you need one for a similar unit.
Next, I changed it from fluorescent lighting to LED lighting. Small power savings, but considerably less UV. While the lights are off most of the time, this reduces the UV for what time they are on and makes it less of a liability should I forget to turn them off for a weekend, too. I used one of these bulbs. It actually puts out a bit more light than the old bulbs did.
Installing the LEDs was a bit of a pain. You need to bypass the ballast for the flourescent lighting and re-wire the mounting brackets so that both leads feed one bracket and the other is just for structural support. I found the ballast mounted inside the central support leg on the bottom:
The pillar the brackets are mounted to came apart easily and I was able to re-wire them without much trouble. However, the current wiring scheme has disabled the bulb for advertising at the top of the unit. I may go back and fix this, but it's not really that necessary and I'd have to go with another LED bulb as both were on the same ballast.
Next, I got a little temp/humidity sensor:
Humidity, which had been a concern, seems to be okay, even a little bit high. It varies from about 70% to 85% with the doors not being recently opened (when it can get up to saturation temporarily). I haven't seen what it will do if the doors remain closed for a long period of time, but it appears that if I'm concerned with low humidity, I need only open the doors for a little bit to bump it back up. In the summer, at least. I'll keep an eye on it as the weather changes.
I tried placing it front and back on each shelf and getting a feel for the variability in temperature and humidity around the cabinet. The experiments weren't very well controlled, though, so I don't think I can say much other than the temperature doesn't vary by more than 2 or 3 degrees F anywhere in the unit. I also did a time series over about four hours after opening the door for 20 s. It took several hours for the humidity to come down from the 80%+ range into the 70% range, and over a short timescale the temperature and humidity varied mostly by whether or not the compressor was on, when the temperature and humidity were lowest.
All in all, it seems like the temperature and humidity are about where I want it (though I might bump it up 2-3 more degrees), and are very stable in time and consistent in space.
Another picture of it with everything all together:
I'm so happy I'm staying with you in August.
Another basement cellar. Nothing special just Costco shelves.
Might be time to start drinking this down... I have way too much beer, how did this happen?
I think I'm more impressed that you're from Wilkes-Barre and managed to collect all this considering the sad state of affairs that is the NEPA "beer scene."
Lol so true... Will travel for good beer.
The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton/Hazelton, PA population is like half a million with several quality beer stores and a handfull of breweries.
My town population peaked at like 2,000 people/600 homes during the coal industry boom. Other than Yuengling, its ~50 miles to the nearest brewery/bottle shop.
It has actually got way better, and yeah there is not much in between Hazelton and Pottsville
Whoa, yeah, watch out for those heavy hitters like SBC, Nimble Hill, and 3 Guys and a Beer'd.
I have heard that the SOLE guy does some decent stuff, though. But, let's be honest -- Wilkes-Barre has a massive leg up on Scranton. Between Krugel's, Sab's, and a couple other spots, there's a decent, if not solid, selection. Whereas, for your northern brethren, if you don't wanna make the drive down cause you live on the edge of Susquehanna County, you're stuck throwing down an arm or a leg at Cooper's or Backyard for anything not nationally distributed. It's generally easier to just hoof it up to Binghamton than to WB in that scenario.
I think the beard place closed its doors for good.
Anyway, ill stop teasing since this is derailing the intense cellar discussion.
I'm a couple hours from Scranton and regularly go to Binghamton, do tell. Srs.
I do a charity beer tasting once a month, and we had all beers from "the beard place" last year, it was hard to come up with positive things to say Beer was not really good at all. The attendees really enjoyed it, the brewer was fun and energetic.
Just came back from tonight's tasting it was very meh, here was the all star lineup:
Cayman Jack Mojito malt liquor
Starr Hill Sublime Citrus Wheat
Yards Pale ale
Wyndridge Barn chocolate vanilla imperial porter
I don't have much to say about the beer selection each month, I just do the talks, education, trivia, tasting notes, etc... We had 70+ people tonight and they absolutely loved the mojito drink.
So many sighs... Ok back to cellar stuff.
How much was one of these units? I can't see to find it on Costco's website.