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Making a Kegerator? (calling skyst3alth)

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stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
14,390
1,496
Colorado
Prefacing that while I am relatively handy, I am far better at following instructions when it comes to building *complex* things.

I am trying to sort out everything that I need to build a Kegerator that is Wifey approved. I want to setup a double keg system so that I can add to it in the future. I've figured out some of the things I need, but the internals are what I am lost on. My end goal to to end up with something like this:


Know I need:
4.6-5 cu ft refrigerator - no freezer, or easily removed freezer w/ no exposed cooling lines
Double tap - for example: (http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/double-tower-3-column.html)
**Is there a clean way to add two taps in a more cost effective manner? Mind a have a small child that can reach low levers**

I currently have the following pieces of the assembly:
5-gallon keg system with dual gauge regulator, plastic "cobra" picnic faucet, and all necessary tubing and fittings: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/kegging/draft-systems/five-gallon-keg-system-used-keg.html
5# CO2 cylinder - http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/co2-cylinder-5-empty.html

I am trying to sort out if I am missing any appropriate hardware. I assume that to do the double system I will need a regulator for 2 kegs? Anything else that I should be aware of?
 
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pnj

Turbo Monkey till the fat lady sings
Aug 14, 2002
4,699
40
seattle
Can you serve two kegs now with your dual regulator? All you need is a split-er from the regulator.

Then you need a tap tower and you need to find a fridge that you can modify/cut a hole in for the tower to sit.

LOTS of people end up with broken fridges because they cut into the cooling lines.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/xxxxxs-whirlpool-war349bsl-kegerator-conversion-37-picture-step-step-slideshow-220712/


http://www.kegworks.com/draft-beer-towers-407
http://stores.kegconnection.com/StoreFront.bok

As for a young child grabbing your tap handles, you can come up w/ many different locking systems.
 

stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
14,390
1,496
Colorado
It looks like I have everything I need less the tap and fridge. I'm running up to the Sears Outlet today after work to see what they have in stock.
 

Pesqueeb

bicycle in airplane hangar
Feb 2, 2007
28,109
4,101
Riding the baggage carousel.
It looks like I have everything I need less the tap and fridge. I'm running up to the Sears Outlet today after work to see what they have in stock.
Craigslist? Get a used fridge or freezer for cheap.

I still want to do something like this, but I've been given an old fridge by the neighbors so I'm going to go with whats free for now.
 

CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,569
422
Groton, MA
My friend/old roommate/former lover Adam made a really awesome looking one, I'm sure he'll chime in at some point (posts on here as skyst3alth). I demanded he help me make one for myself next time he's visiting from CO.

EDIT - did I miss his name in the title completely, or did you edit it?!
 
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CrabJoe StretchPants

Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick
Nov 30, 2003
11,569
422
Groton, MA
I don't have work on Fridays. So there.

I know what it was.....I read the thread title in the home page "Latest Topics" section and it cuts off his username. SO THERE!
 
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skyst3alth

Monkey
Apr 13, 2004
866
0
Denver, CO
Yeah jump on craigslist and save yourself some dough. I don't have experience cutting up chest freezers to install the tower, but it looks like everything you need is there. Hitup homebrewtalk for instructions on that.

If you don't have dual outputs on your regulator you just need a gas splitter/mainfold to run two kegs. And of course another keg, fittings, etc.

http://www.ritebrew.com/product-p/843672.htm

If you go the standard freezer collar route I can throw together a quick parts list. Pretty straightforward though: tap, shank, tap handle.

Get quick disconnects for your fittings (at least the beer side), makes cleaning much easier. Stolen from my post on thebeerengineblog.com:



I’m usually doing two kegs at once since I usually do double batch brew days. So, once a keg kicks I either finish off or bottle off another. Pull the kegs, yank the gas and beer line/tube connectors and soak in PBW. Unscrew the Perlick from the shank, and unscrew the pinlock quick disconnects to soak in PBW too. Rinse all thoroughly.

Add a couple gallons of water/PBW to keg, scrub and rinse thoroughly. Reassemble everything.

Fill that bad boy in the pic up top with PBW, run through the beer line once. Fill with straight h20 and run through again to clear PBW out.

Fill the keg with a couple gallons Starsan/Water solution. Shake thoroughly to coat the inside. Hookup the gas line, then run a hose from the Perlick to another washed keg. Open up the tap until the keg is emptied. Repeat with the second keg into a bucket.

Now the kegs are sanitized and purged with c02 – go ahead and rack your carboys into them.

Clean and sanitize your carboys. I can get all this done during my first mash (of a double brew day).

Rejoice with fresh pours from clear beer lines.
And Joe, we're coming back the weekend before July 4th again so we'll hook something up.
 
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pnj

Turbo Monkey till the fat lady sings
Aug 14, 2002
4,699
40
seattle
Do it right and use bike parts for tap handles.



You can save money by making your own collar. PVC pipe, like shown in my picture, can be used pretty well. Make sure you buy the correct size shank though...
 

stoney

Part of the unwashed, middle-American horde
Jul 26, 2006
14,390
1,496
Colorado
Yeah jump on craigslist and save yourself some dough.
I found a refurb at the Sears Outlet for $100. That's cheap enough for me.

If you go the standard freezer collar route I can throw together a quick parts list. Pretty straightforward though: tap, shank, tap handle. [/b]

I don't know what that means.
 

skyst3alth

Monkey
Apr 13, 2004
866
0
Denver, CO
Awesome! Get ready for a brain dump:

For my three tap - here was the parts list from RiteBrew. Add or remove as needed:

3 of : 843162 - Perlick Perl Faucet - Chrome Plated $55.47 Shipped
2 of : 843312 - 5 Gallon Pin-Lock Keg - Used $61.98 Shipped (Already had another keg)
3 of : 843392 - Pin-Lock Gas Keg Coupler - 1/4" MFL $14.07 Shipped
3 of : 843396 - Pin-Lock Liquid Keg Coupler - 1/4" MFL $14.07 Shipped
3 of : 843417 - Shank Assembly 3" with 3/16" barb $29.97 Shipped
1 of : 843618 - Primary CO2 Regulator - Economy

Ontop of that you'll need the appropriate sized swivel disconnects and barbs for the keg couplers (I already had a bunch http://www.ritebrew.com/category-s/1916.htm), clamps, hoses (I do 10' beer lines), a c02 tank, and a 3-way gas splitter (economy regulator only had 1 output). If you don't feel like getting fancy with your tap handles they sell for ~1.50 a pop at ritebrew for simple plastic ones. I actually ended up swapping out all of my tap handles for those.

For my 4-tap kegerator I was able to dial down the set screw on the internal thermometer so it stays at a constant 40*. The 3-tap kegerator however didn't have such adjustment, so I had to build a temperature controller for it (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/stc-1000-ebay-temperature-controller-build-330427/). I ended up with frozen kegs the first time I fired up the 3-tap with the internal temp controller set to just above "off". YMMV.

Those both started life as beat up white chest freezers from CL


You don't need to paint it, or buy a whatever color fridge you want - but: Pop the lid off and start painting if you want. I cleaned the outside with just 409 or something similar, then hit them real quick with some fine grit sandpaper. Tape off the opening and underside of the lid, but leave your tape/newspaper line back far enough so you do somewhat paint the top of the freezer. With the lid on and weatherstripping in place you do see some of the top of the freezer, so you want it painted.



I used flat black spraypaint in this fancy bottle: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-25ecodZ5yc1v/R-202016508/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=spray+paint&storeId=10051#.USULIFd21lU

I tried a standard spraypaint can for one coat and it doesn't work nearly as well - this lays down a much more even coat. I did three coats and it seemed to cover it well, 2-3 spray bottles worth. I've scratched it a couple times moving it around, but going over it quickly with a sharpie filled it in and you can't tell there was a scratch before. You can try clearcoat if you want, I wouldn't sweat it.

For the collar, you need to determine if you want a keg on the "hump" of the freezer. BE SURE to measure the keg AND couplings ontop of the hump and pick your sized collar based off that. Found this one out the hard way (measured the keg but not the couplings) I'm using 8" planks for mine. I take it you're handy enough to figure out how to measure the size wood you need for the collar going around. Look to see on the lid if there is any flat or recessed parts that the wood will sit up flush against. I prefer for have the collar sunk in 1/8-1/4" from the edge, I think it looks better than the wood sticking out. Do whatever you want here. I had Home Depot cut my boards to length.

Measure out where you want your taps and use a hole saw to drill out the front. Stain the collar while it's in pieces

To have the collar hold shape I used L-brackets (two per corner). Then used silicone caulk to create the seal between the collar and the lid, along with another L-bracket on each side of the collar screwed directly into the lid. Don't overtighten, just make sure the screws bite. Went around with caulk on all the seams on the inside. For the edges on the outside (since it was rough home-depot cut), I just found some plastic corner edging that I cut to size and spraypainted to match the fridge. Just nailed those into the collar to make it look pretty.

I also bought some 1/4" foam board insulation that I cut out and framed the wood on the collar. Siliconed it to the wood and also used reflective tape on the inside. I'm not sure this is totally necessary, but I wanted to do my best to keep it a steady temperature without having to cycle the fridge all the time.

Found some weatherstripping and glued/attached it to the bottom of the collar where it seals against the fridge body.

Finally, with the collar sitting in place, reattached the hinges to the fridge and just screwed straight into the collar. You may want to beef this up somehow as the collar and lid are now much heavier and can put a lot more torque on the hinges/screws. I haven't had a problem but i've thought about redoing it.

I chose to have the hinges attach to the collar, rather than having the lid swing up off the collar because I wanted to be able to swing the taps and everything out of the way when I was hauling kegs in and out. Didn't want to have to shuffle things around in there to avoid hitting the shanks everytime I swapped a keg.

The gas splitter is screwed right into the lid. I thought about doing a better job routing the hoses along the walls and such, but haven't had the motivation to do anything about that just yet.

My final to-do for both of these is to make some sort of fan to circulate cool air from the bottom of the fridge to the top of the collar - helps keep the beer lines cold and reduces foaming issues. Haven't sorted that one out yet.

Also, you'll want some sort of drip tray. I just used the remaining piece of wood I used for the collar and have that lying on the floor underneath the taps. They sell drip trays that attach to the freezer below the taps, but they're $$.

I think that about covers it. Let me know if you have any questions. If you can assemble IKEA furniture, you can pretty much figure this out.
 

skyst3alth

Monkey
Apr 13, 2004
866
0
Denver, CO
Also, this is just the way I did it after a good deal of research and some trial and error. It worked well enough for me to use the same process twice, and have plans to build a couple others for friends around town the same way. This was all done in my apartment with just a screwdriver and handheld drill.

If you have some time to kill and are looking for some other ideas:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f35/show-us-your-kegerator-29053/

If I had a garage and a space to work with some real tools, you better believe i'd be rocking something like this:

 
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skyst3alth

Monkey
Apr 13, 2004
866
0
Denver, CO
4 tap kegerator is a 7cu ft, holds 4 kegs and the c02 tank inside, could hold 5 kegs with an external co2 tank.

3 tap kegerator is a 5cu ft, holds 3 kegs and the c02 tank inside, could hold 4 kegs with an external c02 tank.

I'm moving this summer so i'll actually have a garage/basement to do some real fun stuff (including a bigger brew system). Can't wait.