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I've got a fridge set up in my garage loaded full of delicious home brew, all ready to drink. To save on power, I'd like to only turn it on when I need it, say once a week or once a fortnight.

Could I cause any damage from the large fluctuations in temperature? Right now it's likely to swing between 4°C & 30°C (~40-86°F).

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Depends on what you mean by "damage", but that is how the labs quickly simulate how a beer will go through staling reactions over time.

Could you put a temperature controller on the fridge and hold it at cellar temperature (~55F)? That would keep the beer at a stable temperature in a good range for aging, but still be warm enough to cut down on electricity costs.

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What exactly is how they simulate staling? By temperature fluctuations or by keeping beer at high temperatures? –  Dustin Rasener Sep 26 '11 at 15:11
    
temperature fluctuations. There's a Brew Strong with Charles Bamforth where they discuss this. I'd link it, but TBN is apparently blocked at my office. –  baka Sep 26 '11 at 18:10
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Letting the beer get warm will shorten its shelf life as the heat speeds up staling reactions. Doesn't really matter that its cycling from hot to cold or not. Its a cumulative time at warm temps that short the freshness over time. Its not the best practice.

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Brewchez is right. Plus, extended higher temperatures can cause over-carbonation. –  TinCoyote Mar 21 '11 at 16:29
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So periodic refrigeration would be an improvement over warm ambient storage? –  Mark McDonald Mar 22 '11 at 10:12
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I would describe periodic refrigeration as a process that will slowly overcarbonate your beer, as opposed to improper warm storage all the time. Essentially, it will kill your beer by inches. Cool, lightless, dry environments are required for beer storage. –  TinCoyote Mar 22 '11 at 15:28
    
These overcarbonation comments are with respect to bottle-conditioned beers, right? –  Dustin Rasener Sep 26 '11 at 21:22
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