Help Support Aussie Homebrewer by donating:

Dummy needs advice on Kegerator

Discussion in 'Gear and Equipment' started by LilFugg, 3/12/18.

 

  1. LilFugg

    New Member

    Joined:
    7/6/18
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Posted 3/12/18
    Hello,

    I want to be able to homebrew whenever I feel like it. Queensland gets far too hot for it in Summer. I also want to be able to keg (mainly for sweetened cider without the hassle). It seems to me that an optimal solution is a kegerator or making a keezer.

    I am kind of hoping to solicit opinions on either purchasing a kegerator or building a keezer. I should be able to keg as well as ferment in it during summer/spring, though if I am wrong I would love to be warned.

    I have had a brief look at options. Was considering this: https://www.kegland.com.au/keg-master-series-4-triple-intertap-ss.html

    I figure 3 19L kegs on tap would be a good starting point and it is aesthetically pleasing. Other than that I have no reason for liking it and don't really know enough to make a good choice.

    My other alternative is to find a chest freezer (200ish?), purchase something like an inkbird (maybe 40?), taps and lines (?) and try my mettle at building it. The guides on youtube seem simple but I would appreciate any experience. I have also heard that freezers need a lot of cleaning or they will get moldy and would like any anecdotal information on that.
     
  2. Bonenose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22/1/17
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    51
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Darwin
    Posted 3/12/18
    I have a chest freezer for fermenting and have built a keezer.
    Went with the keezer as in theory it was cheaper than buying a kegerator, also had a freezer that fit four kegs almost perfectly.
    Freezer I use for fermenting is large enough for three fermenters which was kind of a selling point for that. Have never had three fermenters in there but do also use it for coditioning bottles. It does need a good clean now and then but nothing over the top. Biggest disadvantage of using a freezer is probably lifting fermenters in and out.
     
  3. Bonenose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22/1/17
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    51
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Darwin
    Posted 3/12/18
    Would also say that while you can ferment in your kegerator you can’t drink out of it at the same time, I imagine that you will soon get sick of that.
    Being in Brisbane you can probably pick up gear a lot cheaper so worth looking around a bit in regards to building keezer vs buying a kegerator.
    Maybe start with an old fridge or freezer for fermenting and bottle a couple brews while you work out which way to go for your kegs.
     
  4. Rocker1986

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28/4/12
    Messages:
    2,545
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Posted 3/12/18
    I'd get two fridges, one to ferment in and one for chilling and serving kegs from. That's what I have currently and it works much better than it would trying to ferment and drink from the same fridge.
     
  5. Nullnvoid

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    25/12/13
    Messages:
    1,383
    Likes Received:
    908
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Cockatoo
    Posted 3/12/18
    This is what I currently have to do and it is a huge pain in the arse. Cannot chill the kegs whilst I'm fermenting and then I worry the kegs out of the fridge are getting too warm and getting fucked in the shed sitting on the ground (currently only have a small garden shed).

    Hopefully before we are too far into summer I'll have a kegerator.
     
  6. Indian Giver

    Active Member

    Joined:
    22/8/18
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Pine Rivers South Town
    Posted 3/12/18
    I'm a Brisvegan - and I live near hoppydays and the suburb that became a shopping centre.

    For brewing in Qld (I've lived in Tassie a couple of years too) it's a minimum of 2 fridges for kegging and fermenting, minimum. Ideally 3, one for conditioning as well. But I haven't got the third one past the minister of saying no.

    I've owned a couple of the Keg King premade kegerators, the current being a gumtree jobbie. The primary reason for this was that SWMBO wanted the fridge to be in the house, but look like it is supposed to be there. So no 'tap in the fridge door' style fridge for me. I lack the skills handyman wise to create some of the wooden works of art that contain a keezer inside, so this is what I have.

    Advantages and Disadvantages viz living in SEQ:

    Advantages:

    It's compact, self contained, looks good. It holds 3 kegs (and with a bit of jimmying on the bottle hump at the back, a grenade or two). Or alternatively, you can keep the gas bottle inside.

    Disadvantages - it only holds 3 kegs. I'm not a massive drinker, but I would like to be able to swap a keg out, once one blows, of the same or similar variety and straight on to drink. If you have, say an IPA, faux-lager or something like that and a cider or bitter/mild, once one blows, I'm having to chuck one on for a week and then rebalance the CO2 pressure inside the kegerator. A big keezer (that looks good for SWMBO) would mean that I could hold a 2nd gas bottle and reg in there, have some kegs getting to pressure at the same, in the same space. The Ross method/Rock N roll method is okay for me, but when you got to put it back on pressure it does take a couple of days of faffing about to get the pressure rebalanced. My solution to this, whilst keeping the kegerator, is the Micromatic secondary reg, and have my serving pressure beers at least on target, and then the charging kegs able to be on a higher pressure to get up to snuff. It doesn't deal with the supply issue but does deal with the balancing issue.

    If I had the wood skills, it'd be a massive keezer with a temp controller on it all day long. One of those bars in a keezer thing.

    Fermenting fridge/freezer. Plenty of these cheap/free on gumtree. I got a small chestie that holds a fermenter. Absolutely mandatory here. A freezer means you can also cold crash it down to a couple of degrees quickly. If I could have a second fridge so that I start a fermentation, whilst crashing another beer in the freezer, I would do that.

    Another solution to the problem would be to buy a second gas bottle (I'm going to eventually anyway), get another fridge (if I can) and use the fridge or freezer to gas up a keg in waiting, time to gelatine/clear and then when a keg blows, have another ready straight off the bat. Keeps supply going.

    So yeah, sorry for the long spiel.
     
    ABG likes this.
  7. Rocker1986

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28/4/12
    Messages:
    2,545
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Posted 3/12/18
    Yeah I find the kegerator looks pretty good inside. 3 kegs is usually enough for me although I keep one of them on soda water permanently so it's really only two kegs of beer. Most of them work fine at the same pressure so if one runs out and I put another one in, nothing changes.

    However, I usually wait for both of them to run out before replacing them with another two full ones. The reason I want another fermentation fridge is because brewing only one at a time doesn't really keep up with demand, and the other fridge to keep them cold while they wait to be tapped.

    For carbonating I just use 45psi for about 20-22 hours then rest for 6-7 hours, bleed any pressure left then put the gas back on at serving pressure. By this stage they're pretty well carbonated and pouring well. Saves fucking around with the rocking methods.
     
  8. altone

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    4/6/09
    Messages:
    908
    Likes Received:
    214
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Kept man
    Location:
    Melbourne's East
    Posted 4/12/18
    I use a home made kegerator that just fits 2 kegs, sadly it's on the way out so looking at building a small keezer to replace it.
    Has to be small for me as it sits hidden in my office.
    Also have 2 fermenting fridges in the garage well one's for fermenting the other cold conditioning and storing hops etc.
    Couldn't imagine doing it in Brisvegas without a ferment and serve fridge at a minimum.
    Note on the Kegland kegerators, Some of them make a bit of noise so if that might be an issue you might want to try an alternative.

    Cheers
     
  9. Bonenose

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    22/1/17
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    51
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Darwin
    Posted 4/12/18
    Don’t be put off having a go at a keezer build, my wood working skills are minimal but I have ended up with a perfectly functional keezer, basic still works in this case.
    One thing that was somewhat of a pain with my build was that on the freezer I had the seal is set back a fair bit from the edge of the lid. This meant I ended up with almost a 3 inch thick collar to get it to seal.
     
  10. Mya

    Member

    Joined:
    19/11/18
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    3
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    New zealand
    Posted 4/12/18
    Sounds like you're mixing up the purpose of a fermenter chamber and purpose of a keezer/kegerator.

    The former should be maintained at ~19 degC (or whatever required for your particular brew) and the latter is to chill to normal fridge temps (~2 degC) so that you can drink your cooled already-fermented beer.

    You really need 2 separate appliances to achieve these 2 functions.

    You can make both out of either fridges or freezers. Freezer is more expensive often but allows you to cold crash and are more energy efficient due to being more insulated. In either case just run them off of a temperature controller such as STC1000 or inkbird.

    A fermentation chamber just needs to be a fridge, or a mini fridge with an insulated plywood box on the front to increase your fermentation area (it only needs to cool from ambient to ~19 degC usually so not that much load).
     
  11. Rocker1986

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    28/4/12
    Messages:
    2,545
    Likes Received:
    1,065
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Brisbane, QLD
    Posted 4/12/18
    I use my fermentation fridge to cold crash. Currently got a brew sitting on zero degrees in there, due to be kegged in a week or so. A freezer would do it easier but it can be done in a fridge as well.
     
    Company of one likes this.

Share This Page