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New Outdoor Keg / Bar Setup - Need Advice

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adz1179

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Hi all,

Im upgrading to a keg setup from bottles and I need some advice. I have 0 experience with kegging, and dont own any equipment at this stage.

Im thinking I have the following three options:

1. Buy a keg mate / kegerator with everything included and be done with it
2. Wait until something decent comes up for sale here or eBay
3. Build this into my proposed new brew / bar area (preferred method)

This is the space I have for my new bar / brew area / bbq

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The roof goes on the four posts you can see this coming weekend (weather depending), and im building in the bbq, a dedicated brew area (single vessel BIAB) that will consist of a built in stand for the burner and pot and a pulley system attached to the roof, a build in spit roast or pizza oven (depending on how much money I have left) and a bar.

What I would like to do is to incorporate a new keg setup into this build (2-3 taps max will do me), I already have outdoor power but will need to run it over to the area. I was thinking of having a fridge or chest freezer in the shed you can see in the pic, cut a hole in the side of the shed, add some timber work and fit a few taps to this. This way the fridge / freezer is not outside and it can be locked up. Or would it be easier to just have the keg fridge / chest freezer built in under a bar and run the lines up through a font?

What are the potential issues with this proposed keg setup?

Would a kegmate / kegerator or chest freezer be better suited for this? I have read CM2s wiki on converting a chest freezer and I would struggle so Im probably leaning towards buying something ready-made.

Should I forget about anything outdoors, go for option 1 or 2 and have these inside?

Im planning on spending quite a bit to get this setup right so I appreciate all advice.

Cheers.
 

Robbo2234

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dont get the bar fridge / beer tower setup, I am always wasting beer getting the lines and taps down to the serving temps.

if you can get a chest freezer or fridge and put the taps in the door or a collar you will save so much beer.
 

beerDingo

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When I started kegging, I looked at all the options, and went around looking for a suitable fridge/freezer for a while, but found second hand fridges quite expensive. (However, now over the years I have come across some for free). Also as I didn't really understand the whole thing, I ended up getting a kegmate (from one of the sponsors), for ease. I love the thing! It is small, it fits 3 kegs, and no problem with lines getting warm as they are all enclosed inside the fridge (well a little goes up the tower, but I haven't had any problems). They also have easy access, and stable storage for kegs as that's what it's designed for. It would be easy to build a bar with a cut-out so that you could wheel one of these in and out. You would need to leave room for you gas out tube at the back, and for gas bottle. Price is the only problem.

However, I do have friends that have converted normal fridges. As long as you don't drill through the wrong section, it is pretty easy. Usually the door is fine to drill through, then just screw a tap in, plumb it to keg, and either have gas inside, or another hole for gas line. Pretty easy, but they use a whole lot more space than kegmate, without much (if any) extra storage capacity (depending on fridge size).

I would like to one day convert a chest freezer, and have a whole bunch of taps. These allow you to have lots of kegs/taps with minimal space usage (depending on fridge size). However the 1 drawback is that you have to lift everything over the top to get things in. And you wouldn't be able to have a bar over the top of it, unless the bar is build into the top of the fridge itself.

So, cheapest option is if you can get a cheap fridge or a hand-me-down, and put a tap in it. But it isn't necessarily the best size/storage capacity. And if you plumb from fridge to taps in bar, you may have line temperature problems. If you do, try putting 2-3 kegs in it first to see if they will fit, and not fall out when the door is opened.

Most work would be the chest freezer conversion, but would give the largest capacity. And some of these I've seen can look pretty good!

Easiest but most expensive (unless you do chest freezer with 10 taps), would be kegmate/kegerator.

Just my opinion...Others may have differing ideas... Hope that helps!
 

stux

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As someone who's built a few kegerator setups now the taps in the door does have the benefit of not having beer lines outside the cavity. But getting a good kegerator and having it be pretty is a good idea too. You would want some sort of solution to chilling the tower. Ie a tower cooler fan thing
 

new2kegbrew

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I started with the old tap out the fridge door setup, but actually found that the tap would take a few beers through it to cool it down, and that ended up being a hassle. Also wen I switched to 50l kegs I found I had to have another keg in another frdge for backup, coz if you 're blowing a few suds off with a few mates and the keg runs dry, there's nothing worse than not having a back up...specially if youve all had a few too amny to drive to the bottlo!
I was lucky enough to score an old ice cream freezer which I converted to a fridge via a new thermostat bought from someone on this site. This was perfect as it not only stoped the beer from freezing (obviously) but also cut down the power usage of two old fridges, which was quite noticable. With the added bonus of removable lids to make puting a full keg in a lot easier. It fits 2 x 50l kegs and a 19l keg perfectly, with a little space for glasses as well.

I insulated the lines up to a flooded font with the black armaflex stuff you use on hot water system pipes, and kept a water reservoir in the fridge with a little pond pump on a timer, so the font would be flooded and cool before I got home from work. After researching about how tricky glycol was, although impressive, I decided to give that a skip.

Unfortunately I had to pull it all down as I moved, but the new shed is going up very shortly & my bar will be reborn. Hopefully I remember to take photos through the stages as I go to help anyone else.

Let me know if you're after any tips.
 

Wolfy

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i would get an old fridge and put the tap's in door
I'd also suggest a fridge, but put a latch and padlock on it so it can't be opened without a key, then depending on position and fridge size you could keep your CO2 bottle in the shed and run the line into the fridge.
 

Maheel

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i have the old model two keg keg-mate / king , but would really prefer the 3 keg one as i have found (for me) that three kegs keeps me stocked up reasonably well.

what i dont like about my keg-mate is that it's hard to reach in and swap disconnects / gas and i think with a 3 keg unit you would have to pull the kegs out to get to the back keg disconnects .

i think they look better than a standard through door fridge but i think i will end up with a keezer in the 6 keg range just so i can brew and store more efficiently
with i think a 3/4 tap font in the end. this is where i think a keezer makes changing taps / kegs / lines a little better.

most likely whatever you build you will want to change...
 

adz1179

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Thanks for all the input. So it looks like a chesty or fridge will be the go with the co2 in the shed. I'll scour eBay/ gum tree for something that can handle being kept outside and not be too expensive to run. Anyone know of any for sale at the moment?

Thanks again, I'll post updates on the total build.
 

Maheel

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and with a keezer you could pretty much build a water proof "shell" that could protect it as well and look like a standard bar

maybe even a clever lockable / removable box to cover the fonts or taps in the collar etc for when your away etc
 

Batz

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beerDingo

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So it looks like a chesty or fridge will be the go with the co2 in the shed.
Just making sure that I didn't imply that the gas for a kegmate/king HAD to be at the back... ie, tube can be as long as wanted, and gas put wherever...

However, you prob made your choice based on other things.

Oh and as Maheel says, it isn't as easy to change/swap disconnects in kegmate/king (as full size fridge, freezer), but I have the 3 keg version, and it can be done without having to remove the kegs.

Good luck and hope it all goes well!!!
 

stux

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Just making sure that I didn't imply that the gas for a kegmate/king HAD to be at the back... ie, tube can be as long as wanted, and gas put wherever...

However, you prob made your choice based on other things.

Oh and as Maheel says, it isn't as easy to change/swap disconnects in kegmate/king (as full size fridge, freezer), but I have the 3 keg version, and it can be done without having to remove the kegs.

Good luck and hope it all goes well!!!
With a 442L size upside down fridge

Like this http://fisherpaykel.com.au/product/fridge-...F0333C9E86C339B

You can fit 5 kegs in the top, and all your hops/vodka etc in the bottom :)

I run 4 taps, and have a 5th keg ready and carbonated waiting for one to blow

The nice thing with the upside down fridges are you can have the taps nice and high, no bending down to pour the perfect pint
 

adz1179

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With a 442L size upside down fridge

Like this http://fisherpaykel.com.au/product/fridge-...F0333C9E86C339B

You can fit 5 kegs in the top, and all your hops/vodka etc in the bottom :)

I run 4 taps, and have a 5th keg ready and carbonated waiting for one to blow

The nice thing with the upside down fridges are you can have the taps nice and high, no bending down to pour the perfect pint
Thanks Stux, i'll keep my eyes out for a used one. there are planety of chest freezers going at the moment on ebay so an old used one that can live outside is probably the way i'll head - just have to convince a few tradie mates to help me add a collar and wire up the STC1000.

there is a 210lt on fairly cheap not too far away. dimennsions are 720mm wide x 610mm deep x 910mm high. would this fit 2-3 kegs ok? (i have no idea how big a 19lt ball lock keg stands)

3D3818F3487249328D9EFB5A13E78592.jpg
 

scooter_59

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Thanks Stux, i'll keep my eyes out for a used one. there are planety of chest freezers going at the moment on ebay so an old used one that can live outside is probably the way i'll head - just have to convince a few tradie mates to help me add a collar and wire up the STC1000.

there is a 210lt on fairly cheap not too far away. dimennsions are 720mm wide x 610mm deep x 910mm high. would this fit 2-3 kegs ok? (i have no idea how big a 19lt ball lock keg stands)

View attachment 54407

Hi adz , I have the exact same freezer it holds two kegs and if you add a collar it will hold four kegs , two more on the step .
 

adz1179

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Hi adz , I have the exact same freezer it holds two kegs and if you add a collar it will hold four kegs , two more on the step .
you beauty. thanks leachim
 

adz1179

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slight update here...

I haven't started building anything yet in the outdoor bar / brewery, but i have purchased quite a bit of gear and i have started putting the keezer together (thanks CM2 for the guide).

so i have:
chest freezer - fits 6 x pin locks - starting with 2-3 taps and will expand later)
2x pin lock kegs with disconnects
Tuesco reg
2.6kg C02 bottle
roughly 10m of 6mm line
gas splitters
STC1000 (still need junction/jiffy box)
2 x flow control taps

I have had the father in law to help me out as he's handy and has all the tools

drilling for the taps

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taps in

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turning some new handles to replace the cheapies

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new tap (to be finished)

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Once the weather clears a bit i'll get started on building the brewery and bar

more to come....
 

Clutch

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Looking good. I'd love a lathe in my shed.
 

adz1179

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Ok, so this has been 7 months in the making. but im almost complete.

I have now installed / built

- Woodfire pizza oven
- 6 burner bbq
- cast iron spit roaster
- tasmanian stringybark bar tops
- chest freezer with 2 x perlick flow control taps
- 6kg co2

All ready for summer. hooked up the bar fridge this afternoon and poured my first proper kegged beer. im not going to lie. it moved. alot.

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