Home cellar system?

Discussion in 'Cellaring / Aging Beer' started by ASak10, Jan 2, 2014.

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  1. ASak10

    ASak10 Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Colorado

    Hi there! Long time reader, first time poster, be gentle.

    I recently started getting into cellaring and aging beers, building up a very modest collection. I think I'm in the 50 bottle range. Unfortunately I don't really have an area in my house that keeps in the 50-55 degree range that I could use to cellar beer, so I have been keeping all my beers in a fridge in the garage. While my research about whether this is bad has been inconclusive, it seems that it isn't the worst way to store beer. My problem, though, is space...as in, I'm running out of room for new bottles. I swear for every beer I drink two pop up in its place!

    So my question is whether anyone here has converted a small room or closet into an actual cellar, using some sort of cooling/humidity system. We have a spare office in the basement that has no windows and doesn't get much use, so it would be a good candidate. If you have, or if you looked into it...any thoughts? Recommendations? Worth the cost? My wife is a big wine drinker, so it would serve double duty as a wine/beer cellar.

    #1 ASak10, Jan 2, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 2, 2014
  2. beerborn

    beerborn Initiate (0) Jan 22, 2012 Louisiana

  3. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    Is the fridge you're using at fridge temp or "cellar temp"?
  4. ASak10

    ASak10 Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Colorado

    That's actually not a bad idea, I hadn't thought of putting in a fridge of that size into the space instead of worrying about converting the whole space. Probably an easy way to control the temperature as well.
  5. ASak10

    ASak10 Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Colorado

    Fridge temp, unfortunately...but I try to keep it on the warmer side of the control, but it's still below 50 (I would guess...I haven't actually measured the temp). Alas, my wife sometimes gets the crazy idea that the fridge should actually hold some food in it when our fridge in the house gets too full.

    Can I just stick a thermometer in there to get the temp, or do I need a fridge thermometer to get an accurate reading?
  6. beerborn

    beerborn Initiate (0) Jan 22, 2012 Louisiana

    The one I purchased (after some trial and error) allows me to keep it at 55 degrees perfectly. Some of the other fridges I had looked at only went as "warm" as 45-50 degrees but if your serious about the investment a good temp controlled fridge could be cheaper than converting an entire room, not sure.

    Here's a similar post on beer fridges I sifted through for my beer vault.

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  7. paulys55

    paulys55 Initiate (0) Aug 2, 2010 Pennsylvania

    A liquid thermometer would be ideal but I asked because if it was at fridge temp (40deg or below), you are basically preserving the beer and not really cellaring it. You could get a temp control unit for your fridge but as you said, it is used for food sometimes too so that might not be a good idea. There are tons of threads on this subject here so just search the forums and you will get plenty of input. Cheers and good luck.
    ASak10 likes this.
  8. Omonigan

    Omonigan Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2013 Georgia

    I have read a lot of articles on here about this, and I have decided on the setup I am going to use. My mother is getting rid of an extra stand-up freezer she has, so she is giving it to me. I am going to use that with this temp controller that comes highly recommended on this site
    You simply run the temp probe inside the refrigerator (most suggest into a bottle of water to decrese sudden temp fluctuations when the door is opened) plug the fridge into the controller, plug that into the wall, and set to the desired temperature. This is the most cost effective setup I have found so far. Hope this helps!
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  9. ASak10

    ASak10 Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Colorado

    This would definitely be most helpful, and an easy way to control the temp, thanks for the suggestion. Thanks to everyone else who responded, have lots more reading to do! Appreciate it.
  10. GtheBeerMan

    GtheBeerMan Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2014 Tennessee

    This is perfect! I plan on upgrading my fridge and moving the old fridge to the garage to store my beer. Glad I stumbled across this and thanks for the post!
  11. Omonigan

    Omonigan Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2013 Georgia

    Glad I could help. The only part I haven't got nailed down yet is where to drill through the refrigerator to run the temp probe. I have heard some bad stories of people drilling through freon lines. I'm sure it won't be too difficult to figure out.
  12. TheEvilOnionKnight

    TheEvilOnionKnight Initiate (0) Oct 8, 2013 California

    Or you could just put them in your closet and call it a day. Nothing said in this thread has been proven on any level at any point in time. It's all just carried over from wine cellaring, which is very different from beer

    Just keep it simple. Somewhere dark, and not hot
  13. Kayn169

    Kayn169 Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2011 Illinois

    I would challenge you to go back through some of the older threads and (re)read them. There has been a lot of threads about this, and a lot of data. It is always the people who don't have proper storage that argue there is no proof, so they don't have to admit their conditions are inadequate.

    That being said (to the OP), if you are planning to drink these beers within about a year (give or take) by all means, keep it in a dark closet, with consistent temp. However, if looking to actually cellar your beers for multiple years, then look into some sort of cooling system. I personally used an old fridge with a temp control for a while. When I remodeled my sub basement I talked the wife into letting me build a dedicated cellar. After a lot if research on cooling systems, went with the CellarPro 3200. Would have opted for the smaller one for half the price, but the wife decided we would make the room larger so we could use it as a root cellar too.

    ***also my advise, before going out and spending money on converting a whole room into a cellar, honestly ask yourself why you want to cellar beer. Is this going to be a fad for you, or something you can see yourself doing long term. If you are unsure, maybe opt for the temp controlled fridge.
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  14. TheEvilOnionKnight

    TheEvilOnionKnight Initiate (0) Oct 8, 2013 California

    So your strongest proof is old threads. That means I'm correct and there is no study anywhere that proves any benefits to "cellaring beer" in a fridge or cooler vs a dark cool place. Btw, if I come across as aggressive, I apologize. I come from a exercising forum where broscience runs rampant so I've grown a slightly agressive tone and a knack for not believing anything that hasn't been proven. (supplement industry rapes people that believe everything they're told)

    It's usually people that spend (possibly waste) a small chunk of money to get a temp controlled storage system that defend their spending. At the end of the day, all that matters is if they're satisfied with their decision.

    Op, if you have money and space, then by all means invest in a storage system for your beers. Just don't plan on moving a cellar full of bottles if you ever have to move lol. And just know that there's a strong possibility that it won't make much of a difference unless your house is constantly over 90 degrees during summer.

    I know plenty of people in person that just build or buy a cabinet for their basement, garage, or even closet to store their beer
  15. Kayn169

    Kayn169 Initiate (0) Jan 9, 2011 Illinois

    The point is there is a lot of info in some of the previous threads from people much smarter than you or I, regarding the chemical reactions that take place under different conditions. More than just opinions on which is better. At the end of the day its everyone's decision to believe what they want, but I think that decision should be an informed one. Collect the info supporting each side, rather than saying if you haven't seen it, it must not exist. Also, your strongest argument so far is that beer isn't wine. Doesn't mean the basic rules don't apply. Mind telling me specifically which ingredients and which reactions make it so different that it doesn't benefit in the same ways?
  16. hooliganlife

    hooliganlife Initiate (0) Apr 12, 2007 Missouri

    i have too much beer, so my shit is spread all over. 1 is a wine fridge so its perfect. the other is a kegerator that is set to 46 degrees, i use this for what i plan on drinking soon. i have a smaller fridge thats colder for shit i'll get to soon. i have a stand up freezer with this http://www.beveragefactory.com/draf...&cagpspn=pla&gclid=CJXH_Yuj9rsCFaxr7AodMH4Ajw so its converted to stay around 55 degrees, its loaded full so it turns on less as its more efficient. lastly i have a wine rack for lambics and gueuze that sit in a giant armoire. ohhh and some old kitchen cabinets that are loaded too. these are for american stouts and wilds, stuff i don't plan on aging very long. everything resides in my basement. temps range from high 50's in winter to upper 60's in dead of summer
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  17. Rizalini

    Rizalini Initiate (0) Jan 20, 2011 Nevada

    Lastly, when temp controlling, be sure to put your thermometer into a filled bottle of water in your cellar. The purpose of this is because cellaring doesn't matter about the air temp, but rather the temp of the contents of your bottles. I too have a Johnsons digital thermostat, and I keep mine at 50* +/- 3
    Oisin likes this.
  18. AndrewPalmer

    AndrewPalmer Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 Minnesota

    Quick questions on a refrigerator in the garage. This will help with a debate between the wife and me. I live in MN, so on the coldest day, the garage will get into the single digits. Just bought a new fridge and have dedicated the old one to beer. I wanted to keep the fridge in the house but due to limited space, that isn't in the cards. The question I have is will the insulation keep the temp in the fridge warm enough to keep beer from freezing. I am not too concerned with cellaring at this moment in time, rather preserving beer, and cleaning the clutter of boxes and 4pks, spread all over any dark place in the house.

  19. ASak10

    ASak10 Initiate (0) Jan 2, 2014 Colorado

    We just bought a fridge for the garage and stuff in the freezer just wasn't freezing. If it went in frozen, it stayed frozen for the most part, but it was just...weird, stuff wouldn't freeze. So we did some digging and calling, turns out we had to order a "garage kit" for the fridge because the cold temps would mess with the sensor and make the fridge act all funny. Still waiting for it to arrive, so hopefully it works.

    That doesn't answer your question directly, but something to look out for if you keep stuff in the fridge. In terms of freezing, I keep all my beer that are not in my cellar in the garage fridge, and have never had an issue with anything in the fridge freezing, seems to stay at the same constant temp. (And yes, since starting this thread I've actually found a place in my house that has zero light and stays at 55 degrees...so, perfect for cellaring. No special setup needed!)
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