So, we decided to put a pool in at the house. My wife says, with a pool we have to have a pool house for bathrooms and such. I say, if we're going to build a pool house, then I'm going to put it over a basement for a brew cave. I've been brewing since 1992 and these types of opportunities don't come along often. She says, if there's beer in the basement then we need an outdoor bar. I say, with an outdoor bar we need a glycol system. So here's the story of how a pool led to a home-made glycol system.
So here's the setting, with the new pool and the pool house being extended from the house to the right.
Here's the pool house with the bar. The open bar area and the enclosed portion are built over a basement.
Here's the bar. I got a 6-tap tower with glycol lines that circulate within the tower. The lines run down through the cabinet into the basement.
Now for the guts of the system that make it work. This is the rear of the basement below with all the supplies stored here. I put in a mini-split AC unit to be able to adjust the basement to fermentation temperatures. In the back are two freezers. On the right is a keezer for the beer and on the left is a smaller one for the glycol. Both have temperature controls. I have the glycol freezer set on 26 deg F to avoid freezing the beer in the lines. I got a trunk line with 6 beverage lines. The trick is to do some research on line types when you are extending lines out of the keezer... you have to get the line sizes right for proper dispensing based on line lengths, elevation difference, CO2 pressure and keezer temperature. The trunk line splits behind the freezers, with the glycol lines going to its freezer and beverage to the keezer. The lines rise up the wall and travel along the joists and then up through the cabinet to the tower above.
The glycol lines come out the back of the freezer, with the outgoing one going through a pump on the floor. The pump is powered by an outlet on the wall. The outlet is controlled by a switch under the counter above at the tower.
The keezer has a collar to allow the trunk line to pass through the rear and for CO2 manifolds.
The glycol freezer took some figuring and cyphering, but here's the end result. I used the bottom portion for the glycol to make direct contact with the freezer walls where the chiller lines are. This section up to the compressor compartment is 8 gallons. I built a PVC frame to hold a plexiglass sheet that lays over the top of the frame and flush with the top of the compressor compartment. I drilled holes for the two glycol lines and the temperature probe to pass through to the bottom. This leaves the rest of the space to use as a freezer, which is where I store my hops.
The glycol system works great. It will hold a temperature of 29 deg F to keep the lines cold. Before I put in the glycol system, the beer lines would regularly foam up on dispensing within 10 minutes of purging the line in the summer. When the beer warms in the lines, CO2 comes out of solution... now it stays there with the glycol leading to continuously cold pours.
Here's the final touch to the basement. I didn't want to be hauling carboys up and down the stairs, so I put in a dumb waiter. With two of us, I can have all the brew day equipment moved from below up and out to the deck in 5 minutes.