Homebrew Hack: Kegerator Moisture Absorber

There’s nothing like setting up your very own kegerator and having perfectly carbonated beer ready to dispense at the pull of the tap. I was surprised how simple it was to set up a homebrew kegging system, especially using “A Bottler’s Guide to Kegging” by Ed Westemeier as a guide, but I ran into something I wasn’t anticipating—mold.

One week after tapping the first keg, I noticed mold starting to form on everything from the inner chest freezer walls to the picnic tap, which I keep inside the kegerator (one day I’ll mount taps…one day). This was alarming, especially seeing the mold in direct contact with the faucet that brings bubbly homebrewed goodness into my glass.

I emptied the freezer, cleaned the inside with bleach, turned the temperature down a few degrees—in hopes that it would prevent mold growth—and re-setup the kegging system. Sure enough, after another week or so there was the mold clinging to whatever it could along with lots of condensation.

A friend introduced me to moisture absorbers. These are essentially small containers, typically plastic, that are filled with tiny calcium chloride beads. When introduced to a damp environment, the calcium chloride absorbs the humidity in the air until it goes through its reserves of beads. I picked up a few of these from the local hardware store for $2 each, and I have placed one in a kegerator and another in a fermentation chamber, both of which have not experienced mold or any kegerator moisture build up inside the fridges since. Success! I’ve been using the same moisture absorber container for almost six months now and it still seems to be going strong, granted I live Colorado, a fairly dry state.

It is worth noting that the calcium chloride that is typically inside the moisture absorber containers is harmful if it comes into contact with skin or is ingested, so be sure it is safely away from tap faucets when choosing a place to stick the container.

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