Spring Cleaning and the Next Big Thing

Monday, April 23, 2007

Spring Cleaning and the Next Big Thing

So I spent this weekend going through my kegging system and replacing lines, cleaning and making the sensitive balance that it my keggerator flow. For those of you that have not checked out the post that I did on my operation, my keggerator consists of a mini-fridge that holds a cold plate and has a tap on the front. The cold plate sits inside a pan with water in it to keep the cold plate more effective (as cold water penetrates faster than cold air or something like that) and there is a liquid line that runs from the keg to the cold plate and from the cold plate to the tap.

I have had this operation intact for about a year and a half now and it's been great, I could not be happier.

So why am I thinking about upgrading?

This is the internal monster that every homebrewer (and man for that matter) grapples with at every waking moment of his/her lives. To upgrade or not to upgrade? It seems that every time I have my system dialed in and the beer is flowing like wine, I feel the need to monkey around. Don't ask me why, I just do. In this case, I am telling myself that I want to have more beers on tap.

So I have started to look at this little invention I found while looking at;

As you can see, Ben used a mini-fridge connected to a self insulated wood box with a hole in it to create some flow of the cold air. I found the directions helpful and I am considering making this my summer project. I emailed Ben about this, specifically the temps that he hits with the fridge and he said that it's not cold enough to lager beer. At first I thought this was a deal breaker for me because I have no other way to lager brews during the summer months until the wife game me the green light to fire up the basement fridge!

Now I am seriously considering my own variation on this design that would have one of the taps on the top and two others on the bottom. I have some old countertop that I can use for the top of the contraption and all I need to do is come up with some plywood and insulation. We will see, but with energy costs being the way that they are, this is an attractive alternative to buying a chest fridge.

More to come on this one…

PS- Ben has a store in PA that looks pretty damn nice! I might have to hit it up for my next batch of Mead.



Ted Danyluk said...

Nice project. By the last photo on Ben's page, it looks like 5 kegs could fit in there (one in the center and four in the corners).

Are you making 10-15 gallon batches? I could totally see reasons to upgrade as brewing becomes bigger and better. I probably wouldn't want to bottle 10 or 15 gallons. Bottling still suits my needs as its simple and I only brew 5 gallon batches about 6-7 times a year. Also, kegging always seems to be more it?

Best of luck with your endeavor. Looks like fun.

Travis said...


Kegging is a synch. It's dialing in your system that can be a little complicated. I am happy I went to the keg, like I said, the whole reason for me to start homebrewing was to have my own been on tap.

The reason I went to the weird ways that I have to go about the kegging was that at the time (and still now for that matter) I was not willing to spend $500+ for a keggerator. I looked and looked for alternatives and these are the wacky ways that I have done my shit.

It all works like a charm (as I sip a California Common off the tap). All I have to do now is get more kegs so I can make more beer!