Author Topic: Keg Fridge  (Read 1960 times)

Offline gmac

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Keg Fridge
« on: January 23, 2011, 07:52:06 PM »
I've only been back into homebrewing for a couple of batches but I remember now one of the big reasons that I quit.  Bottling sucks. 

So, I'm going to put a hole in the fridge downstairs and set up a keg system.  I'd like some thoughts on where to drill a hole, what to do when I've drilled it etc.

I was thinking the side because I assume the door would be hard to open with the lines etc.  Is it safe to drill just anywhere? 

Also, I can get refurbished ball lock corny kegs for $85.  Is this a decent price?  I have a CO2 tank that needs to be re-certified but that shouldn't be a problem.  Assuming it's ok and I can get a regulator and lines, is it worth it or should I just get the 3 keg system with tank/regulator/lines etc?  Cost is $499. 

Let me know what you think because my bottling days are very soon going to be over!!!

Offline gmac

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 08:01:28 PM »
Wait, as usual am I over complicating things?  Should I just have a picnic tap on a hose and curl it up inside the fridge when I'm not using it?  This is in an unfinished basement so it doesn't have to be fancy, just effective.  I've been reading some of the other posts and I think I may be better with the tap left inside the fridge and go cheap with a picnic tap.

Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2011, 08:25:50 PM »
Before you cut your fridge, go out and get a couple of kegs and a CO2 system.  Yes, use picnic taps first.  Get the hang of it and then decide if you want to dedicate a fridge to the task.  You can store the CO2 tank in the fridge for the time being.  I did that for a couple of years and then decided to cut the fridge up.

Just put a piece of plywood down (marine plywood is good) on top of the crispers to distribute the weight and you should be fine.
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Offline dano14041

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2011, 08:56:37 PM »
$85 for a ball lock keg seems to be quite expensive; Midwest has them for $32.95 plus shipping. Keg Connection has good prices on regulators plus $7.99 flat rate shipping.

The door is usually the best place to drill the holes because it doesn't have any refrigeration lines. If you can get a schematic of your fridge, that might show you a general location of the refrigeration lines. There are usually lines somewhere on each side of the fridge.

Good luck!
Tulsa, OK

Offline gmac

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2011, 09:23:32 PM »
$85 for a ball lock keg seems to be quite expensive; Midwest has them for $32.95 plus shipping. Keg Connection has good prices on regulators plus $7.99 flat rate shipping.

Good luck!

Thanks, that's what I was wondering.  If found some on-line, fairly close to where I live for $40 each (if you buy 4). May not be quite as "refurbished" as the others, although the claim to be, but I'm fairly handy so I think I can tear one down.  Wasn't sure if it was a "buyer beware" situation where cheaper could ultimately be more expensive but since you're seeing a comparable price, that makes me feel a bit more comfortable.

Thanks for the advice so far.  All good as always.

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2011, 10:50:32 PM »
Wow, $85 is crazy expensive.  Even if they replaced the gaskets, poppets, posts, and lid it shouldn't be that expensive.  Buy them online for less than $40, replace every gasket, and get some poppets just in case.  The posts and lids are generally fine.  If they're pressure tested there should be no problems.  Don't buy a CO2 tank if you can put a deposit down on one at the local welding gas shop and swap it out as needed.  Get a regulator online.  Start with a picnic tap inside the fridge, you can always drill holes later.  I recommend the door too, it's not a big deal to open and close with the beer lines and there's no danger of hitting any coolant lines.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline gsandel

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2011, 05:58:08 AM »
$85 is only a good price if they are brand new kegs.  You can buy them refurbished from any of the national hbs and have them shipped to your house and back for less than that amount.
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Offline oscarvan

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2011, 06:21:29 PM »
1 Used ball locks around $40, and that should be refurbished, or included a gasket set for you to pop on.
2 Holes in the door are safe, no problems with lines.
3 CO2 outside is better, but requires more holes. You can start with it inside.


« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 06:26:43 PM by oscarvan »
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Offline dzlater

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2011, 05:00:30 AM »
I got my keg setup on line for around $200, 2 kegs, dual regulators, 2 picnic taps.
The regulators aren't the best but it works. I've managed to acquire three more kegs
2 for free and one for ten bucks at a flea market. Got a fridge @ the re-store for $60.
Dan S. from NJ

Offline gmac

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2011, 03:20:25 PM »
I got 4 used ball-lock 5 gal kegs and a used 2 gauge regulator for $160.  The kegs are pressure tested and have all new o-rings but they do need a good scrub both inside and out.  They still smell like soda syrup a bit and the outsides are quite dirty. Inside they look good but like I said, they need to be cleaned.

So, what's the best product and procedure for giving these a thorough cleaning?  I'm not thinking about sterilizing (I assume I can use StarSan for that...?), just what would get them good and clean.  On hand I have TSP, soap, baking soda, etc.  I do not have Oxy-clean but I could get some I guess.  I know bleach is a no-no.

Thanks.

Offline Tim McManus

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2011, 03:54:55 PM »
I usually clean my kegs with PBW.  Follow the directions on the package and leave overnight.  They should be shiny clean on the inside by the next morning.  In between batches I usually use a drop of dish detergent and stick my arm inside with a green scrubby.  Once or twice a year I will deep clean them with PBW overnight.
Tim McManus
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2011, 03:57:07 PM »
if the keg still smells like syrup, you might need to replace the o-rings.  Remove them and smell them on their own.

TSP will certainly work, as will PBW or Oxyclean, but I would stay away from soap for anything that touches beer.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 04:04:12 PM »
From what I've seen, most modern refrigerators have an evaporator coil with a fan in the cooling compartment. The days of old when they have coolant circulating in the walls of the compartment are largely gone. 
 
I would refrain from drilling through the back of a fridge, but the side walls should be pretty safe on a unit that was built in the last decade or two. 
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Offline gsandel

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2011, 04:55:18 PM »
Cleaning: Oxyclean, PBW,
Remove Smell of soda: replace o-rings...nothing else does it.
sanitize: star san

fill: beer works best  ;D
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Offline HydraulicSammich

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Re: Keg Fridge
« Reply #14 on: January 30, 2011, 04:59:35 PM »
The days of old when they have coolant circulating in the walls of the compartment are largely gone. 

That may be for a fridge but I have a new Sears chest freezer.  All sides and possibly the bottom are loaded with lines.  DO NOT drill!
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