Author Topic: Beverage cooler  (Read 517 times)

Offline Mboyles

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Beverage cooler
« on: February 10, 2014, 11:02:13 PM »
I am new to this forum and to cheese making. I have read a lot about home cheese caves and I appreciate the opportunity to benefit from the experience of the members here. I have a question. Is a glass door beverage cooler a good choice for a cave? I like the idea that you can see the cheese through the door. Has anyone used one? Thanks for your help!

Offline John@PC

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Re: Beverage cooler
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 07:02:23 AM »
Hi Mboyles.  Offhand I'd say a beverage cooler would be fine.   Chances are the built-in thermostat won't go high enough for cheese ripening temperatures (typ. 50 to 55F); if so you would need an auxiliary temperature controller designed for cooling enclosures.

Offline jwalker

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Re: Beverage cooler
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 02:02:37 PM »
I used one at first , and found if you take the cover off the the temp control unit , there are two screws , one adjusts the cut in temp , and the other adjusts the cut out temp , with a little tweaking , I managed to set mine to keep the optimum temperature.

The only drawback was , being so small , the humidity would condense and it would ice up , and need to be defrosted often.

No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Beverage cooler
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2014, 04:28:52 PM »
Hi Mboyles,

I have a Danby 35 bottle wine cooler with glass door. Its the same cooling unit as a danby beverage cooler but with different shelves and hinges. Here are some of my observations with this type of cheese cave (the model is with analog temperature control):

First problem : Temperature varies according to outside ambient temperature. Eventually, the fridge reaches 6C even if the temperature control knob is on low. SOLUTION : I bought a Johnson digital temperature controller and set the temp to 10C. I placed it the sensor at the bottom of the fridge and now the fridge temp is 100% stable! Bottom of the fridge temp is 10C, top of the fridge temp is 13C. So this is perfect if you want to control eye formation on your cheese (ie. gouda on the bottom shelf, havarti on the top shelf, etc..).

Second problem: Humidity control is not ideal and hard to manage. Most of these fridge have a built-in auto-defrost function, but they are not meant to work well at 90% RH. I did manage to raise to RH% to 80% with a bowl of water with 2 J-Cloth wicks on each side, but the RH% varied wildly. SOLUTION: create mini cave within your cheese cave. I bought some plastic shoe box containers that don't take up too much space in the fridge. These boxes are ideal for individual RH% control. I vac seal most of my cheeses though, so it's not an issue for me.

Conclusion: With the help of a digital temperature controller, this type of setup is very reliable. Just keep your fridge out of direct sunlight.
 

Offline John@PC

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Re: Beverage cooler
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2014, 05:12:25 PM »
Eric and Mboyles: 

I'm conflicted when I see posts like these because our little company makes (in SC, USA) temperature (single and 2-stage) and humidity control systems designed specifically for home cheese makers.  That said the last thing I want to do is use the forum for an advertising platform, but the confliction comes knowing we do have good control systems (and a few other unique products) that are competitively priced.  In fact a year ago were were planning to sell a modified version of the Johnson Controls A419 digital controller that you have Eric (and I as well) but because of limitations of their controller we thought we could build a better controller at a lower cost.  If anyone is interested they can visit our website or email me.

I know there are others on the forum that have similar conflicts of interests (if you can call it that).  I would appreciate any suggestions how to handle it (please by email if you don't mind- this thread is about beverage coolers and I don't want to hi-jack it any more than I have already).

Offline Anonymous

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Re: Beverage cooler
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2014, 05:27:13 PM »
Sorry John, I completely forgot about your RH controller. RH% is not something I've tackled yet as I mostly vac-seal. But I agree, the RH controller John sells sounds like a perfect solution for wine and beverage coolers.  I stayed away from natural rinds because I used to be limited to 8L batches. Definitely something I will purchase once I get into natural rinds.

Offline Mboyles

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Re: Beverage cooler
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2014, 08:28:03 PM »
Thanks to everyone for you input. I was planning on an external temperature controller and have a humidity monitor but I need to understand what it will take to control the humidity. I will work on that!